"I wish to God that you had as much pleasure in following my advice, as I have in giving it to you."
- Lord Chesterfield
Advice is a funny thing: some people love being in the advice-receiving stage. They just can't get enough advice. No matter how much great advice they receive, they always feel they need more before even thinking about acting on any of it.
Rather than following good advice and achieving their goals, they've made the act of receiving advice their goal. Not a bad idea when writing a book on the advice, but even if that's your goal, at some point you'll still have to trade in your advice-recipient hat for an action-taker hat.
Then there are people who hate receiving advice: they think they know it all and don't want any advice from anyone. They never seek advice and if they happen to receive it, they never follow it. As a result, their growth is hampered and at some point, usually comes to a screeching halt. You can only get so far with what you know: in order to go from where you are to where you want to be, you need to learn more and act more.
Another category involves people who only seek advice, which is in line with what they currently believe. In other words, they're looking for validation when they request advice, not objective advice. These advice/validation-seekers have only their illusion of open-mindedness -- in reality they just want people to agree with them.
They've made validation-seeking their goal rather than a genuine impetus for growth. You're only going to learn so much from people who tell you what you want to hear and share your same views.
Let's back up a bit and take a closer look at the advice-receiving addicts: why do they love being in the advice-receiving stage? When we receive great advice we get excited about the potential of putting it into action.
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Author, Mike Mahler.
Thinking that the advice may help us achieve our goals is exciting; however, at some point you have to go from the anticipation/excitement stage to the action stage. And once you start thinking about putting the advice into action, reality kicks in and you realize that following through on the advice is harder than remaining in the advice-receiving stage.
People receive great advice all the time, yet few actually do anything with that advice. For the advice-receiving addict, the remedy will always be to seek more advice and delay action. The problem with this mentality is you can postpone your entire life remaining in advice-receiving mode. You must take action with the advice you've been given before going back and filling your cup again.
People Receive Great Advice All The Time,
Yet Few Actually Do Anything With That Advice.
Advice-receiving addicts are frequently addicted to receiving the same advice multiple times. Think of a friend who's called you for advice, received your advice, felt great about that advice ... only to call you again an hour later asking for the same advice. This cycle goes on for years if you're not careful.
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Advice Addicts Like Having Problems.
Advice-receiving addicts like having problems -- whether they know it or not -- because it makes them feel important. When you receive advice, especially from people you admire, you're receiving their attention along with their advice, and this can be addictive. If you follow the advice, solving the problem, you no longer merit the attention.
Advice-receiving addicts are unconscious of this motive, desiring to assure the continuing advice/attention fix over releasing their addiction by putting the advice they've received into action.
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Next, let's look at the people who hate receiving advice: they tend to be pretty miserable people. If you think you know it all, how can life be exciting? After all, one of the greatest joys in life is interacting with -- and learning from -- those interesting people who can profoundly affect your life. People who hate receiving advice are usually in repeat mode, wherein every year is the same -- for years on end.
Ten years go by and nothing significant has happened since the same year has repeated ten times over. The advice-haters may be action-addicts who are simply too busy making their endless moves to stop and benefit from any useful advice but, unfortunately for them, their personal growth, and enjoyment of life, plateaus -- or even declines -- because they've failed to slow down and reflect.
An action-addict's action is a distraction device, just as advice merely distracts the advice-receiving addict. If advice-receiving haters were more open-minded, their action would be more efficient.
The funny thing about advice-receiving haters is they love giving advice to others! After all, they've got the know-it-all mentality and feel an ego-boost when others approach them for advice.
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Advice Haters Tend To Be Miserable People.
More often than not, they prefer to disburse advice they themselves wouldn't follow and the advice they give others is often negative: they're the people who'll tell you why your goals and dreams won't work out rather than offering constructive advice. Just as they can't take good advice, neither can they give it.
The Funny Thing About Advice-Receiving Haters
Is They Love Giving Advice To Others!
Now let's take a closer look at the final category, which are the advice/validation-seekers: advice/validation-seekers only want advice, which aligns with what they already believe. For example, an advice/validation seeker may have a problem with his business, but while the problem lies within his business structure, or even himself, he wants to believe it's an external factor.
Rather than seeking sound and balanced advice, the advice/validation seeker is looking for someone who's on his same page. His motto is: I only accept advice that's in line with what I already believe. These people hold the illusion that they're open to advice and even benefiting from advice but upon closer scrutiny it's clear they're merely seeking validation.
I Only Accept Advice That's In Line
With What I Already Believe.
Because advice/validation-seekers aren't receptive to the possibility that they're in error, they never grow beyond their own egos. They simply follow their own advice, and when they doubt that, they look for external validation.
Advice/validation-seekers simply don't want to change and grow: they want to justify their homeostasis.
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Validation Seekers Never Grow Beyond Their Own Egos.
Which Category Are You in?
How do you know which category you're in -- if any? By using the example of a fitness trainee.
If you spend more time researching training programs and emailing fitness professionals for advice than actually training, you're addicted to receiving advice. You enjoy getting attention/advice and, for you, pursuing training advice is your goal over any training results.
If you're OK with that, keep it up; just don't hold any illusion of actually get stronger, losing fat -- or whatever your training goal is -- by chasing advice. At some point, you must leave the comfort zone of the advice-recipient and become an action-taker. Don't shed any tears since there are plenty of opportunities to get more advice after you've taken a few critical action steps. As a bonus, with your new, real-world experience, any new advice will hold more meaning.
Continuing with the fitness trainee example: if you're someone who's been on the same program for ten years and haven't made any training progress since the 1990's, it's time to finally take some advice and resume your long-lost progress. Thinking you're too good for advice, you've made an illusion of self-reliance your goal. Think again: be open to advice so you can get back on the path of personal progress.
Still using the example of a fitness trainee: if you ask a fitness professional for a solid training program, then continue using the ineffective program you were already on, you're not seeking meaningful advice, only validation.
Of course, that's fine -- if that's your goal. But if you actually desire training progress and you've hit a plateau, it's time to seek advice or do your independent research. As the saying goes: taking the same course and expecting different results is insanity.
Distinct Merits For Each
While the above categories contain their flaws, they each have distinct merits: There will always be times in which we need to be advice-recipients -- being open to advice and gathering as much information as possible before taking action decreases the likelihood of failure.
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Author, Mike Mahler.
Of course, there will be times in which remaining open to advice isn't the way to go -- we need to stay focused while in the action phase and stay the course rather than making mid-course corrections every two seconds. Sometimes, we know what we need to do and seeking more advice only serves as a delaying tactic.
Finally, there's nothing wrong with receiving validation -- we need feedback to know we're on the right track and it's always nice to get the validation of others. Honest validation can serve as a signpost indicating the right direction -- just make sure that validation isn't your destination.
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In conclusion, get the advice you need, put it into action, and enjoy the validation that comes with being on track. Be honest with yourself and open to reality and you're all set.
For more info on Mike Mahler, go to www.mikemahler.com
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