October 24th, 2021

How to Improve the Quality of Advice You Receive

This article aims to remind you of the balancing act that receiving advice often turns out to be.

Obtaining opinions and advice to ensure your course of action is correct is beneficial to do. People’s advice will help in many ways, and can be a guiding beacon in times of darkness. Something people forget is that the quality of advice one receives is dependent on both the giver as well as the receiver of the advice. Your questions for collecting beneficial advice need to be structured well. They should be constructed in a manner which fishes out a tangible and actionable piece of advice.

When asking for advice, you need to show the giver of advice that you understand the fundamentals of the topic in question, and that you have thought through the various workflows that have led to you to the point where you are now. Their advice should be distinct, limited in scope, and something you can act on right away.


The Importance of Trying First


Being stuck in a mental or physical predicament does not warrant your asking of advice at face value. You should first commit yourself fully to figuring out a solution to the problem which you are facing. When you fully commit to solving the problem, you gain valuable knowledge on the subject – even if it doesn’t seem like it – which will help you piece together the advice you receive later on.

Committing yourself to figuring out your issues prior to asking for advice also serves to raise your standards of who you ask advice from. When you try your best to solve your the problem at hand prior to asking for advice, you will more easily tell who knows what they’re talking about and who does not. If will be clear if someone knows the nuances you’ve explored and the corners you’ve not figured a way out of when you’ve done your share of the work.

You’ll be able to better identify those genuinely skilled in what they’re talking about by how they address the details of the task you’ve tried so hard to figure out. Your conversations will be detailed, and each piece of advice will directly hit on what you need to hear.

If you do not commit yourself to honestly trying and figuring things out your own, you will prevent yourself from quickly distinguishing between who’s knowledgeable and who isn’t.


Outside Perspectives are Often Beneficial


You’ll likely know of those who you should go to for advice on any particular issue. Either they’re skilled in the domain you’re stuck in or they’ve been there for you before, and are accustomed to fighting by your side.

There is risk in familiarity when selecting whom to receive advice from. Familiarity with both, the issue at hand and with yourself can encourage advice-givers to be ignorant to extraneous factors to the issue you’re attempting to solve. Familiarity encourages traveling down pathways which have been traveled down before. It will encourage your advice-givers to think they know what the crux of the issue is prior to actually evaluating the picture as a whole. Familiarity breeds a confidence which may not be suitable to the situation you find yourself in.

Consider not asking the obvious people for advice to start. An unbiased observation of the situation you find yourself in is a goal to strive for when embarking on a mutual journey to solve an issue with your advisors. If at all possible, attempt to seek guidance from those who are knowledgeable about the type of issue you experience without being familiar with your specific circumstance or your specific tendencies. This course of action will encourage a thorough investigation of the context at hand without jumping to any conclusions.

Those familiar to your specific situation and your abilities to get through such a situation are helpful nonetheless. They will provide words of wisdom those who don’t know you can’t provide. As you can already tell, the act of receiving advice is a project to be managed. A balanced approach benefits from exhausting your own efforts first prior to seeking out an objective outsider perspective to be supported by those familiar to the situation.


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Disclaimer of Opinion: This article is presented only as opinion. It does not make any scientific, factual, or legal claims in any way.