The Vice of Too Much (and wrong) Advice
We've all done it. At some stage of our age we end up with the good old fashioned Analysis Paralysis. Its that feeling of being in a mental piazza, with signs pointing every way, and you have no clue as to which way you should go. There are a million choices. The knots in your stomach tighten up, the mouth goes dry, the pressure comes on and it feels like your head is going to implode with all the voices of reason.
One says stop.
Another says go.
Again a voice says turn around.
And on and on it goes. It's the Vice of Too Much Advice.
Someone once said to me that "I don't listen to anyone because I know all the answers." I must say I was outraged and wanted to deck this person. It was so out of character. This man was experienced, well read, a high level of education, successful and not arrogant. This was a response to my discussion over recommended books and views on matters.
And then I got it. He gave me that look and a smile. The lightbulb went on. The point was, it wasn't that he didn't listen to anyone, or read books, attend lectures, educate himself. Its just that he knew the real answers came from within.
At hard moments of our life, we seek answers. (Rightly so) The problem is; often we go looking for them in the wrong place. #guiltyhere
Hard times compounds the issue of getting your actions, mind and decisions right. Normally you are frustrated, stressed, anxious, tired, drained and in just about every other challenging state. The fog is upon you. Hardly a time to be seeing clearly. Or asking questions.
Mostly because we ask the wrong sources and certainly, almost certainly, we ask the wrong questions.
A great mental image is a man wandering around blind drunk, trying to get home, in the wrong city, barely conscious and heading in the wrong direction (a story for another time).
The first part is stopping and sitting and being still. I have always loved the story of the wise man who climbed the mountain to find God (presumably for peace and answers). At first there was thunder, then there was lightning, the earthquakes and lots of other dramatic events. And each time there was no God.
But at the end there was a still small voice. And that was God.
Now forget the religion. The learning (if you see behind the words) is that connection with the higher power and clarity does not come in all of the violent, noise and action. It comes from sitting still and allowing the fog to clear, to allow everything to play out and then in the centre of it all (maybe the eye of the storm) there is peace and quiet. And then the answer comes.
The problem is (especially with men) that when there is an issue or challenging decision ahead; we want action, we want to do the right thing, we want to fix everything and get on with life.
So we get out there and seek advice. This is where our Vice can be too much (and wrong) advice. The more we seek out a simple answer or the obvious choice, the more we get voices talking all over the place. Everyone has an opinion based on their own experience and learnings, but importantly not based on your experience or learnings. This is the beauty of life; we are all unique just like everyone else. But no one has walked in your boots, has your personality, feels your trauma, understands your pain, been nurtured like you have or has had nature impose its lessons on you.
Sometimes we are not looking for answers or opinions. We are looking for someone just to give us support. And we don't receive it, we are disappointed and the advice is lost irregardless.
The wrong advice, even if meant well, is also dangerous. I always remember the character from Lord of the Rings; Wormtongue. He whispered in the Kings Ear, and the more advice he gave; the more the King withered away and sunk into a state of despair. Be careful who you listen to.
Everyone has an agenda. This is not a negative statement it is a neutral statement. And when I heard this for the first time from a wise woman who was a senior executive. I was in a state of shock. I was busy protesting a potential decision because it was clearly wrong (more than my opinion), my words were; they have an agenda. I'll never forget, how small I felt, when she turned to me in a packed boardroom, with those piercing eyes, and said to me "Everyone has an agenda."
Jeez talk about embarrassment but that was nothing compared to the amazing lesson I received from this lady. (I still remind her sometimes)
The point is everyone has an agenda. So be mindful of this when seeking advice. A lot of people speak without even realising the agenda that they are pushing. I'm not suggesting everyone is trying to manipulate you; its just a natural fact that everyone is driven and motivated by forces unseen. A lot of time these forces are not the right ones to drive you in the right direction for your own pathway...
This is why the best folk to speak whether it be personal or commercial; is to a certified professional. They have a professional standard and are being remunerated to help you find the answers that are deep within you (not within themselves). They show you a mirror and slowly you navigate your way through and the answers present themselves when you ask the right questions and are ready to hear them.
This of course doesn't stop you having a chat to others, especially experienced individuals that are genuine souls and have walked the road.
But at the end of the day, you are the one. You are the captain of your ship. It is your call, your decision, your approach. You know yourself best. Give yourself time and then whatever you decide go for it with all your heart and soul. You will either make progress through a wrong call or make progress because you got it right. Either way you win and importantly you live your life attached to your highest values not because you are following someone else's highest values.+
A mistake is a mis take. So take 2. Or take 3. Or take 4. Give it your best shot and keep at it until its a wrap. Life is way too short to be locked away try to get something right surrounded by a million voices; sit still, then go for it.
Some final thoughts -
- When chatting about something ask yourself; are you asking for advice or just support. Be honest with yourself.
- Seek the answers within
- Work with professionals
- Too much Advice is a Vice
- Everyone has an agenda
- Remember it takes time
- Reading subject material is very helpful - as it is your eyes and your translation
- In the end it's just you; you will be damned either way; But at least it is your call
Onwards, inwards and upwards.
PS The most rambling blog ever for me. But there might be a gem or two for you. Namaste.