Where Is Dear Abby When You Need Her!?

In all my years in Hollywood, one of the main things that I learned that helped with my success was to be direct-able. In other words, learn to take advice, even if it isn’t necessarily good advice. All the same, learn how to listen and heed like a gentleman and you will always gain some useful bit of wisdom (or at the very least learn that the person who is giving you advice has no idea what they are talking about… and that too is wisdom!)When you get the advice you want, it’s great. When you don’t, it’s disappointing. And sometimes, even after you’ve asked for advice … you wish you hadn’t. Here are some basics for getting the good and avoiding the bad!

ADVICE FROM THOSE WHO SHOULD GIVE IT

Why do we ask people for advice? Perhaps because we have no gut instinct, so we genuinely seek guidance. Or we doubt our ability to make our own decisions. Do we trust other people’s judgment better than we trust our own? Do we hope someone wiser than us will agree with our ideas/decisions? Affirmation is great for one’s ego.

Only Dr. Phil can answer these questions but of course he would just tell you that “If you leave the barn door open, the horse will get into the pasture!” Use that nugget as you will.

Let’s say you’re digging on the gal working at the local Starbucks and you ask your neighbors for advice. The same neighbors who have been together for 25 years and make marriage look like bliss right out of a Doris Day movie. The couple tells you to invite the woman over and cook her a meal. Good idea. Except the last time you cooked, you set off the smoke alarm… as you were using the microwave! So, you get more advice. This time from your buddy who is a great chef. He says to make a simple meal and do a test run to master the recipe.

Good advice from a pro, and most pros are happy to offer their expertise. Their knowledge, including their failures, will make you a better cook, carpenter, camper, or whatever

However, the smart and wise people may have challenges determining who genuinely wants their advice. Solution: Give the advice seeker a taste of your knowledge. If they say “yeah, yeah, whatever…”, then you know not to waste your time. But if they say “tell me more” then by all means, start spreading the advice liberally.

ADVICE FROM THOSE WHO SHOULD NOT GIVE IT

Receiving advice from someone who lacks a certain area of expertise can sometimes be beneficial. They may see a solution you might not have seen, approaching the situation with a unique perspective. But sometimes we get unwarranted advice from an annoying colleague who corners you at the water cooler. George, the office know-it-all, is someone we can all relate to and we all try to avoid. This guy (or gal) doesn’t know you or your girlfriend, but he knows why you’re fighting and he has the PERFECT solution. You’re going to get his advice whether you want it or not. And of course it is good because he is 47, single and still lives with momma!

Stay away from the know-it-all advice giver. Although he may seem like the right person to seek out for advice, he most certainly is not. If he finds out you’ve got the hots for the afore mentioned coffee maker, he’ll tell you what to say and how to act in that situation as well. If you didn’t make a move, it’s because you were a coward. If you did make a move and it didn’t work, it’s because you must have done something wrong. And if you asked her out and she said yes (congrats, you’ll make a great couple), he’ll never shut up about how he turned you into a dashing James Bond with the ladies.

Once you’ve sought him out, he’ll feel like he’s got a free pass to offer endless advice… for life.

THE BOTTOM LINE ON ADVICE

Asking for advice can open up a can of worms. Who are you asking? Can you trust them? Are they offering sincere or dubious advice?

Don’t keep too many names on your “Ask for Advice App”. Ask 30 people for advice and you’ll get 30 different opinions. People love to give advice and everyone thinks that theirs is the best. But, here’s a newsflash, 29 people are going to be wrong (and maybe all 30). So now, you need advice on which advice to take!

Following advice isn’t mandatory. Sometimes the advice-givers intentions are not pure. Like it or not, a lot of people are shady and manipulative. They may prey on your lack of experience for a result that benefits them, not you. So be careful when listening to advice, even if you asked for it. If the advice is unwarranted, sounds bad, makes you suspicious, or isn’t something you’d be comfortable doing… then don’t do it! No matter what people say, no one knows you like you know you. Do what you feel comfortable doing. Find that gut (no not the beer one, the inner, instinct one) and LISTEN to it!

Now… I will leave you with some great advice from me. You should absolutely keep reading my advice!