Good advice

Is it true that when we most need good advice we are least likely to listen to it? Or is good advice always welcome?

I think in many cases that people are least likely to listen to good advice when they most need it, but that is not always the case.

When the things people are doing do not have big consequences, they might not want to give in to other’s opinions. This is because it makes people feel more powerful when they stand strong in their own singular opinion, and it also makes people feel weak when the others surrounding them are correct and they are not. It can feel like they are looking down on you, or gloating over you.

When there are big consequences, sticking to a dumb idea can make a person look foolish and rash. So they often look for other opinions. Firstly because it is much safer to consider other options be for committing to a single path, even if they end up sticking to your previous opinion. Secondly because no one wants to look foolish and rash. When people see others jump into situations very quickly it makes them look immature, so of course people try to avoid that. When you see there is a big consequence if you mess up, you will always do your best to find the safest and most effective option or opinion, despite that want to feel more powerful.

There are many people that when they are given advice will go to extreme lengths to not follow that advice, mainly because they don’t want to look like they are giving in. In many cases that person might be about to do the very same thing that someone suggested, but when they hear it, they will alter what was intended. This usually applies to people that think every advice given to them is a personal attack, and they feel like the advice-giver is telling them that what ever they do is going to be a terrible idea even when the advice is intended only to help them.

This can happen a lot with siblings, because every sibling always wants to look smarter than the other. Once, my sister and I were playing a computer game together and I suggested an obvious, safe, common approach. She then did a very foolish play and ended up losing. That is fine because it is a computer game and there are no big consequences to losing, and it is often fun to try the more risky and daring path to see if you can make an amazing save, but, that attitude in a real life scenario can often be unwise, and considering both options objectively is always better.

I also think that when people need good advice the most, they may not tell the advice-giver they are right, but will listen and will alter what they are doing to take the better or safer route. In doing so they would need to be paying attention to the advice being given I know many people that are hardly ever open to others opinions, which is terrible state of mind, and makes progress much harder. Being open, even when one is so confident in one’s opinion, being sure nobody could change one’s mind, is still helpful. There is no harm in listening to the other side of the story, and it might strengthen one’s own opinion, or recognize the reasoning behind their thinking. Yet there are cases when people don’t even want to hear others, because they are afraid of what they might hear.

It ends up boiling down to the kind of person receiving the advice: Are they stubborn? Are they shy? Or do they just want to avoid conflict? If this is the case, then the person doesn’t want to learn; they just want to be right. The Wright brothers has an amazing way of getting things done and progressing. They would start yelling that their way was the right one and give explanations as to why. Then they would stop, switch sides of the story and fight for the other brother’s way of doing it. In doing so they would see the reasoning in the other’s opinion. They would put their personal differences behind them. Look what they accomplished!

Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.

Jimi Hendrix

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”


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