How to Seek the Right Advice

Whenever we venture out into something new and unexplored, we may also face the cold reality of skeptics. These people do whatever they can to discourage and stop you, usually because they either are jealous of you or in some instances because they actually are afraid of seeing you get hurt.

So, when making a big decision in your life, what’s the best way to decide if it’s right or not? A lot of people go and sample their friends and family, asking them if moving some place new, starting a different job, or starting a new business is a good idea. One would think that this would be the best way to make a decision, but it’s a flawed approach on so many levels.

There exists a paradox in our relationships with those who know us the best. The paradox lies in the fact that they do know us the best, and because of this they can make a pretty good calculation of our skills and talents. BUT!, they also view us with “everyday” eyes. Our friends and family see us when we get angry, lose our temper, cry, fail, or give up on things, etc. They know us so well that I believe they are inept at truly guiding us to make a right decision.

For example, if you wanted your mom’s opinion on whether or not you should move to a new state for your company, she may remind you of the time you went away to college and you called home all the time and didn’t like being away. In her mind, you will always be that person. I’ve dealt with something like that with my mom, even. When she found out I wanted to be a Motivational Speaker, she was shocked! She remembers me being young and afraid to even stand up before a group of people. Since those days I’ve given talks and messages to large groups, but she hasn’t grown along with me.

And that’s the key really. Most of the time, people that we’ve known for long periods of time don’t grow along with us. They keep us in their own fabricated mental bubble and can’t see the new us that has formed. It’s sort of like trying to keep a butterfly in its cocoon, it’s not gonna work. I’m not blaming our parents, friends, or family for anything that we ourselves more than likely do also. Just think of that little kid down the street that used to bug you everyday. What do you expect out of him in life?

So, if we are looking for advice, who should we talk to? I’m a Christian, so for me it’s easy, I pray and read the bible to seek answers. Still, there are times when the issues require you to make a decision for yourself. God gave us logic and a mind to, as well as pretty strong intuitive senses when dealing with making decisions. From that belief I’ve developed a set of questions to ask myself when faced with a major decision.

1. If I was forced to do what it is I am thinking about doing, would I be excited or angry?

2. If I flipped a coin to decide what to do, what do I really want the coin to land on?

3. Could I see myself doing what I’m doing right now for the rest of my life?

4. Could I see myself doing what I’m thinking about doing for the rest of my life?

5. How does that make me feel?

6. If I were giving advice to someone I didn’t know, what would I advise them to do?

7. What’s the worse possible scenario if I choose/don’t choose to do this?

8. What does my truest self think?

9. If money weren’t an issue, would I still want to do this?

10. How important is this decision to the overall happiness of my life?

As you can see, these are very direct questions that cause us to look beyond the physical realm and search deeper into our souls/minds to determine what’s best for us. You can also talk to counselors, strangers, a respected acquaintance, and finally friends and family. Although friends and family may not know the complete you, they still know enough to make you think about some things you may not have thought of.

Also, remember to seek advice from people that have actually experienced what you’re deciding on. Maybe they haven’t gone through the same exact situation, but at least they have had a similar experience. One of the things I strive not to do is take advice from people who have no idea what they’re talking about. If you’re talking to a work a day warrior about starting your own business, what are you going to actually learn? I’m not saying we need to judge these people, but we do need to be leery of advice from those that haven’t shown themselves approved to offer such words.

In the end, more than likely you already know what you’re going to do. You’re just looking for enough people to agree with you. Think to yourself and go to a quiet place. Say out loud what you’ve probably been thinking for days. Say it like you’ve already made the choice. Here’s an example:

I live in Wichita, Kansas where I work as a Lab Engineer. I just moved here from Boston, MA.

How does saying it out loud sound? Does it sound good, or is something in your gut signaling you that it’s not right? Listen closely; most decisions are obvious when you try them on for size before hand.

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