♦Welcome to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop!♦
What Advice Has Stuck With You? And Who Gave You That Advice?
Did someone give you some great advice at a certain time in your life?
Think back to that time and write down the advice as you remember it.
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Throughout our lives, we will receive advice on a daily basis. That advice isn’t always helpful, let alone appropriate. Much of it just gets shrugged off as noise. It doesn’t even matter if the person is well-meaning or subversive. We tend to filter things out that simply don’t serve us, or we feel in the moment that such words are useless.
Once in a great while, we come into contact with someone who has the right combination of words for the moment. Sometimes they’re a stranger. Sometimes they’re much closer to us. Loved ones have given me advice throughout my life, and I have treated it diplomatically. More than I should have, I tried to apply that advice only to find it didn’t work. In more recent years, it has made me more upset, as I wonder if they know me at all, if they paid attention to me at all.
Giving advice, because you believe that you care about the person to receive it and that it comes from the heart, gets a lot people into a corner. One must really consider if the advice is appropriate and truly benefits the situation. Advising someone on a writing career, for instance, and having zero experience in publishing, is ill-advised. Instead of advice, try asking questions that help the person view alternative perspectives, so they can better see a solution. Be aware of their boundaries, as well. If you care, this matters to you. There are many points at which a person will communicate they are not receptive to the discussion, or they are not getting anything from it. Know when to quit. Tough love really only has a place in a few cases. Don’t damage your relationship because you believe you know best or insist on helping the shit out of them. The timing may not be right for you to assist them, and your wisdom a boor. The person has to be ready to receive the information, not in a mood to reject it. Lastly, are you absolutely certain you’re imparting wisdom? (That’s my advice for all of those reading this.)
Receiving advice can be hard. Just like those giving it out, we feel we know best about the situation. However, being in the thick of it can cloud our perspective. Some outside perspective often helps us examine the situation in ways we were not thinking of at the time. Add stress to the situation, and this perspective switch doesn’t matter. We’re feeling too much. Some processing needs to happen. Unfortunately, if someone gave advice to us in the midst of this, we’re more likely to forget it than ever consider heeding it.
Today, advice given to me is taken and considered on multiple levels: who provided it, does it pertain, is it doable, and how do I feel about it. I have learned to take the emotional mostly out of my decision process regarding advice (unless it’s utterly rude and then back up). The time to test out advice is also a factor. Who has time to spin their wheels trying bogus suggestions? I really don’t want to waste my time.
Let’s get to answering the question now…
The best advice I ever received, which I believe came from my parents first, was to stick with school and get good grades. The meaning was to buckle down and learn whatever was being taught in school. They did not say to accept the lessons without question. It was meant to set me up with a base in which to function at my highest ability in the real world, which was coming to a doorstep near me fairly quickly.
Why is this the best advice? Because improving yourself is something that you can be proud of and no one can ever take away. The advice also empowered me to become a strong writer, to discern better choices for myself, and to achieve a lifestyle that is relatively comfortable. Sadly, it did not prevent resentment from those who were comfortable with rejecting a love of learning, and choosing less discernment and less knowledge. Sadly, these people also think that their opinions should have as much value as the facts the educated have learned. Facts are facts. They’re not up for debate. Opinions are personally held beliefs and ideas based on what one knows. When you know less than someone else about a topic, your opinions do not come from an informed place and hold a lot less merit. Once in a while, they could be right, sure. The likelihood is extremely narrow. (You can tell that I don’t coddle this thinking. I won’t apologize for it either, because, in recent years especially, it has become dangerous.)
This advice came back throughout the years, most recently before I signed on to get a Masters Degree. That push came from my boss at the time. I feel lucky to have had her supervising me and offering her advice. She’s a super person, full of heart, and highly intelligent. I respected her opinion in that capacity. Thus, I thought long and hard about what the benefits would be and if I could possibly do it. In the meantime, I carried on as usual, so I didn’t waste any time in either of my careers. The good news is, I took her advice. It cost me two courses a term for three years. The payoff was affirming my sentiments that I wrote better when learning. My game was upped, so to speak. My writing got a polish. I also obtained credentials that open doors once closed to me at my previous level. That alone was priceless (even though tuition is the price tag).
Let’s hop on over and see what the other authors share about the advice they’ve received…
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