For the most part, everyone is good at giving advice, and a few of them are good at taking it. Even fewer are good at taking their own advice. If I have learned anything from my, required Eastern Cultures class in college, it is that good advice transcends any given subject and can be applied to multiple situations or issues. Don’t believe me? Go read ‘The Art Of War.” There is a reason that it is still being read by businessmen and women all over the world. Yes, it is talking about ways to triumph over one’s rival, but the way it is written allows a person to apply it to any situation where they may run into competition.
Not all of us can be like Sun Zue, I get that. All I am getting at here is; next time a friend or family member asks you for advice about an issue and you give them the advice they want, pay attention to what you say and how you say it. You may be able to use that advice for yourself later on.
Giving good advice isn’t as easy as some of you might think. Every situation is different and finding, let alone giving, advice that fits all situations is hard. Allow me to give you a few pointers on giving advice, advice on giving advice if you will, that can be applied to more than one situation.
The key to good advice is to use personal stories about your life. Of course, you can use the same stories to teach different lessons by emphasizing different parts or aspects of your story. Like a good lie, good advice is all about the odd details and the ability to tailor it to different events.
When looking at other ways to give advice, we might want to go back and take a look at sources like Asian philosophical stories. At point blank range they seem like nonsensical stories. But after a bit of thought, or in my case in college and help from the internet, many of the stories are actually good advice about not taking things for granted, putting people before material objects and much more. Come to think of it many, if not all, cultures have fables for this exact reason. Fables are the ‘multi-tool’ of storytelling. Here is your homework this weekend; pick an issue in your life, big or small, and search online for fables. Now, of course, not everything you read will fit to your issue directly. But even if it helps clear part of your mind so you can think clearly about the choice(s) you need to make, it is worth giving it a shot. What do you have to lose?
Advice can take many forms, or in some cases the same form just in different clothing. If you want to give good advice, this is all you need to know; no matter what your advice is or what it is about, be sure you mean it and that it is something you would want someone to tell you in that situation.
your confused adviser,