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Inflicting Advice

June 23rd, 2011 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips

Advice is welcome and often heeded in one circumstance: when it is requested. Freely giving advice to the non-requesting tends only to waste energy, time, and emotions.

Consultant, author, and friend Jerry Weinberg has written (something like)

Most people interpret attempts help as attempts to interfere.

This is true for 98.6% of the people. And then 98.6% of us believe

The above is true, except when I am helping

Ahh, too bad. I am not exceptional. My attempts at helping are usually interpreted as attempts to interfere. Therefore,

I try not to volunteer help

The key word above is volunteer. Another odd thing about us people, there are many odd things about us people, is that when someone requests help, 98.6% of the time they interpret the result as help vice interference. Hmm, same action – help – but different result depending on the predecessor to the action.

Hence, the title of this post. I have lots of advice in my head. When I was younger, I eagerly offered my advice to others. It was a rare occasion that my advice was heeded. It seems that 98.6% of those on the receiving end thought I was interfering rather than helping. I was expending energy offering advice, and the other person was expending energy resisting my advice. Energy expended – nothing accomplished. I don’t like that.

I now try to live by:

I inflict (only) as much advice as requested

This seems to save everyone lots of energy and removes needless anxiety and vexation.

Tags: Communication · Culture · Expectations · People

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