How to Take Advice

Even if you’re in a difficult situation, accepting advice can be difficult. An outside perspective, on the other hand, can sometimes help you see things in a new light, making it easier to decide what to do. It may be difficult, but try to let down your guard and listen to the advice with an open mind. Then, before making your decision, take some time to critically consider that advice.

Method 1 Being Open to Advice

1. Recognize the obstacles that make it difficult to accept advice. If you’re having trouble getting help with a difficult decision or if you tend to dismiss other people’s advice, think about why. Dig deep—being honest with yourself about what’s impeding your progress can really help you let down your walls. Some of these things could be:

Being defensive about your own point of view

Being over-confident in your own opinion

Not trusting other people

Seeing uninvited advice as unhelpful

Preferring immediate satisfaction to long-term gains

Being stuck in a rut

Not being ready to hear the advice

Feeling afraid

2. Recognize the advantages that good advice can provide. Guidance from the right people can help you think of solutions you might not have thought of on your own. Furthermore, they may provide a perspective that allows you to think about the problem in a new way, or they may be able to point out a flaw in your thinking.

When you recognise the benefits of listening to good advice, it becomes much easier to let go of your defences when someone offers their opinion.

Before you seek advice, make sure you understand the core of the problem. That way, you can be certain that the person advising you truly understands what you’re asking.

3. Let go of the notion that you already know the solution. Unfortunately, we all have a tendency to be overconfident in our abilities to make the best decisions. That mindset, however, can be extremely detrimental. When someone asks for your advice, try to be receptive and open-minded. After all, they may have a solution that is superior to whatever you had in mind.

For example, if you’ve always done something a certain way at work, someone may come along and suggest a different way to do it. If you’re open to the idea, you might discover that it’s more efficient, saving you time and trouble throughout the day.

Method 2 Weighing the Advice

1. First and foremost, pay attention to yourself. Because your intuition can sometimes lead you astray, how you feel about the advice should not be your sole deciding factor. However, in the end, you’re the one who has to live with the consequences of your decisions, so take the time to ensure that whatever you’re doing feels authentic to you.

For example, if someone gives you advice that contradicts one of your core values, such as honesty or integrity, you should listen to your inner voice that tells you it’s wrong.

2. Allow your defences to come down and listen with humility. When people approach you for advice, you may notice that you immediately begin to bristle. People who offer unsolicited advice are sometimes overstepping their bounds. However, this isn’t always the case—if someone approaches you thoughtfully to offer advice, it might be worth letting down your guard and giving them a few minutes of your time.

Even if you don’t agree with the advice, ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?” and “How can this help me grow?”

3. Select your advisors wisely. When deciding who to seek advice from, exercise extreme caution. The best advice comes from people who have been in your shoes, care about you, or are experts on the subject at hand. However, just because someone is successful in their field does not guarantee that they will provide you with sound advice. Don’t let someone’s social standing influence your decision.

If you offer a service, customer feedback can be a great source of information.

Don’t listen to someone who isn’t where you want to be. For example, you might not take financial advice from someone who isn’t good with money.

Also, avoid seeking advice only from people who always agree with you. That won’t be very useful in the long run.

4. If you require clarification, ask for it. When someone gives you advice, they may speak in broad strokes, present you with too many options, or use jargon that you do not understand. If you’re perplexed, don’t be afraid to speak up!

If someone gives you a list of things you could do but doesn’t really tell you where to start, you might ask, “What do you think I should focus on first?”

5. Seek out a variety of viewpoints. Don’t feel obligated to seek advice from just one person. Instead, consult with a few people whose judgement and experience you truly trust. You’ll be able to ensure that you’re getting a broad enough perspective on the issue this way.

Also, don’t just rely on people who think the same way you do—try to find people who have different points of view.

6. Allow yourself time to consider the advice. Even if you have to make a quick decision, take some time to consider any advice given to you. Consider your options carefully so that you can make an informed decision based on your goals and what is important to you.

However, set a deadline for yourself so you don’t procrastinate for too long.

7. Believe in your ability to make the right decision. At the end of the day, you’re the only one who has to live with the consequences of your choices. Weigh all of the advice you’ve received before deciding what to do and moving forward.

Prepare to accept responsibility for your decision, regardless of the outcome.

8. Show your appreciation for any advice you receive. It’s critical to let people know how much you value their advice and how it has helped you. This is not only polite, but it also communicates to the person that you valued their input and found it useful.

It also expands your network and allows you to ask that person for advice in the future.

Method 3 Asking for Advice

1. Inquire with someone who has relevant knowledge or experience. When seeking advice, try to rely on people who can truly provide insight into the problem. Think outside the box—they don’t have to have been in your exact shoes to have relevant experience. Make sure it’s someone who genuinely wants you to succeed.

If possible, choose a few different people to seek advice from. This diversity will help you avoid relying solely on people who share your viewpoint.

2. Begin on a positive note. It can be difficult to seek advice. Begin on the right foot by saying something positive and straightforward. Avoid being self-deprecating; even experts require advice from time to time.

Keep it simple by saying, “I’d love your advice, do you have 20 minutes to spare?”

3. Define the issue clearly for the person giving advice. Other people’s advice won’t help you if you’re not completely clear on what the main issue is. Begin at the end and describe the decision you must make. Then, explain everything you need to think about in relation to that decision, such as other people involved, the goals you’re attempting to achieve, and what’s making the situation more difficult. The person giving you advice will be able to speak directly to the issue and will be less likely to give you vague or generic advice.

Also, try to avoid extraneous details. Give the person only the information they require.

Consider your blind spots—what are you really struggling with, and where do you need the most help?

For example, if you’re debating whether to accept a job offer, you could explain what the job entails, how it compares to your current job, and anything else that’s complicating the decision, such as the need to relocate.

4. Don’t seek advice to justify a decision you’ve already made. It can be tempting to seek someone’s ‘advice’ when what you really want is confirmation. If you’re certain you already know what you’re going to do, go ahead and do it. Either that, or you’ll have to accept the possibility that you’re mistaken.

For example, if you’re having difficulty at work, don’t go to your boss for advice if you already have a possible solution in mind.

Similarly, don’t seek advice as a way to avoid doing the work yourself.

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