During a recent purge of my son’s room, he handed me his bathrobe saying it didn’t fit. When I checked the label, it said “one size.” An obvious lie, as it does not fit my 6’1” beanpole son.
Advice is the same, have you noticed? Whether it’s advice on losing weight, animal training, child rearing, or how to increase your creativity, advice is everywhere—and much of it conflicts.
I’m happy to listen to advice (and some will tell you I’m also happy to give it). I’ve learned much from people who know more than I, saving me time and heartache. The advice is not the problem. The problem is when I put aside my own common sense or convictions to follow what someone else says I should do.
Guess what? There’s no “one right way” for everyone to do something.
Just as one-size-fits-all clothing doesn’t actually fit all (and aren’t we made to feel it’s somehow our fault it doesn’t fit?), one-size-fits-all advice doesn’t, either. Which doesn’t mean it’s not perfectly good advice for you, for me, for my best friend or my husband at some point. Sometimes it’s advice whose time has not yet come. Sometimes I recognize a piece of good advice, but I can’t follow it because my heart is just not in it.
Since I’m interested in self-improvement/educational type material and read a lot of it, in order to cope with the onslaught of advice, I’ve developed rules for taking it (or not taking it):
Does it make logical sense to me?
Is it possible to do without major disruption in my life?
Do I want to do it, or do I feel I should do it to please someone else?
Do I have to minutely follow complicated or multi-step instructions without deviation or else it “won’t work”?
Am I allowed to think for myself and ask questions without being made to feel that I’m stupid?
Keeping these rules in mind helps me gather the advice that will truly benefit me, and let go of what won’t. And that’s my advice on taking advice (but you don’t have to take it)!