Not all advice is created equal. How to cut through the clutter and make wise decisions.
A few months ago, I gave some advice for Advice Givers. This time, we give advice to advice takers.
If you think about the people who have made your life better, you'd name people who have been there in times of need, who have believed in you when no one else did, but ultimately, you'd name people who gave you some great advice. Timely advice. Accurate advice.
Conversely, if you think about some decisions you deeply regret, you'd probably name some people who also gave you advice. This time, terrible advice.
Because around every decision you'll ever make, you will be able find people who will agree with you...people who agree with your good decisions AND people who agree with your bad ones.
How's that saying go about opinions? Something about everyone has one and they usually stink? Never mind.
The point is...
Not all advice is created equally.
By taking someone’s advice, you’re really saying, “I want to be just like you. If I listen to your advice, my life will look more like yours.”
In like manner, when someone gives me advice, what they are really saying is "Do what I say and you can have my life."
So, make sure to consider your source very carefully. If someone has a history of unhealthy relationships, don't take relationship advice from them. If someone is broke, don't take financial advice from them. But if someone has the life you aspire to emulate, consider their opinions even if it seems counter cultural. It probably will be.
We need to realize that they will not bear the consequences (good or bad) of their opinion. You will. So be sure to walk with wisdom.
So in a day when it seems like everyone is crowdsourcing their decisions online and yet, becoming more and more indecisive, how do we make good decisions?
If our lives are the sum of our choices, how do we make wise ones?
How do we cut through the clutter of differing opinion to hear the voices that speak wisdom?
Though this isn't exhaustive, here are some ideas:
Move slower than you want.
God is not in a hurry. If your life matters (and it does), take the proper time to process well. The bigger the decision, the longer you should take. When hiring someone, I always tell them to take at least 72 hours before getting back to me with a yes or no. I don't want them to make an impetuous decision and their future self doesn't want them to either.
Move faster than you want.
This is going to sound like I'm contradicting myself, but don't get caught up in analysis paralysis. When you have enough information to make a wise decision, do it. Don't be like the archer who goes "ready, aim, aim, aim, aim, aim, aim." Make a decision and FIRE! You will most likely NEVER be 100%. When you are 90%, that's close enough.
- Think, years from now, "What will I be glad I did?"
- This is a clarifying question that has helped me countless times. Ultimately, it's my life motto. What will I be glad I did?
- What house will I be glad I bought?
- What kind of person will I be glad I married?
- At the end of my life, what will I be glad I spent my money on?
- How much time will I be glad I spent on facebook, working out, watching tv, building relationships, hanging with my family?
- Clarifying isn't it?
There are so many more filters we could use, but those three (especially the last) will get you headed in the right direction.
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