When to take advice and when to ignore it!

Advice advice ? Part II?

Through every big change in my life I?ve been given advice from people who care and want to see me succeed. And I have always accepted their advice with openness and belief that it was right for me?even when perhaps it wasn?t!

When I was backpacking around the UK in my early twenties I was given some advice, by an old boss, about travelling through Spain. ?He said, ?go work in Menorca, I know people there who can give you a job, you?ll get to spend the whole summer on the beach, you?ll love it!?. The thought of working and spending the summer on a Spanish island was so attractive I immediately jumped on the opportunity. I spent three months working in a cocktail bar with the most beautiful local family who made me feel very welcome. But, I worked every day (I mean EVERY DAY), so there was nothing to look forward to. I also didn?t know anyone, I didn?t speak the language, I had no access to internet or contact with my family/friends, facebook was yet to become popular and smart phones didn?t exist. I slept on a couch in an un-airconditioned house, I had no TV and I spent every Friday cleaning villa?s for my old boss?s sister. This experience of a lifetime left me feeling the loneliest I had ever felt in my life!

And what I learnt was that receiving advice has its pro?s and con?s.

Pro #1: It was an easy decision – I didn?t have to research my trip to Spain. I figured the guy giving me the advice was enough research.

Pro #2: I got a new perspective from someone with experience. This guy had been holidaying in Menorca since he was a little boy so it was like hearing it from a local.

Pro #3: It helped clarify my own thought processes. I had all these visions and ideas of what living on an island would be like and getting advice helped me to bring those visions to life.

Pro #4: It strengthened the bond I had with my old boss. When you take advice from someone it automatically brings you closer. When I returned from Menorca I worked for my old boss again and was even given the role of manager.

But with each pro come?s a con?

Con #1: Taking advice comes with the pressure of following through. After a month of being in Menorca I was feeling bored and isolated. The locals didn?t speak much English and the tourists would come and go so quickly that forming long-lasting connections was impossible. But I?d made a commitment to someone I respected and I was determined to see it through.

Con #2: Assuming the person giving the advice was qualified to give it. The advice was given from the perspective of someone who had only been there on holiday. He?d never gone there alone, he was always with family and friends?and he spoke Spanish! So not really qualified in hindsight.

Con #3: Most people giving advice want you to be safe and secure. As a 22 year old I wasn?t looking for safe and secure, I was looking for excitement and adventure. My summer in Menorca was neither and what sucks the most is the two sister islands (Ibiza and Majorca) were exactly the excitement and adventure I was looking for. I was on the safe island!

And Con #4:? For people who struggle to make decisions, it?s so tempting to let someone else make the decision for you. Although I?ve never been one to point the finger, or blame the person who gives advice, I know others would be tempted. It?s an easy option and unfortunately can damage relationships.

So, what to do about advice. Rightly or wrongly there will always be someone who will give you advice and help you make decisions. Here?s some questions you might consider before taking advice in the future:

  • Who are you taking advice from? Do you trust them and are they qualified to give you advice?
  • Why are you taking advice? Is it because it?s easy? Because you like them? Because you lack confidence in your own choices? Or, perhaps because it?s right for you, right now?
  • What advice are you taking? Is it really broad and aimed at increasing your awareness? Or is it specific to you and a decision you?re struggling to make?
  • When are you taking advice? Is it when things are getting scary? When you?re in trouble? When you?re totally out of your depth on the topic? Or, is it whenever it?s given?

At the end of the day, you?re the one left with the outcomes of any advice you take?so it?s up to you to decide whether it?s right for you in your life at the time. If it?s not then thank them for their advice and ignore it!

P.S. I don?t regret the time I spent in Menorca for one minute. It gave me the opportunity to get to know myself better, it built confidence in my ability to make decisions and made me appreciate my day?s off!

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