The only thing harder than taking advice from someone is taking advice from someone you don’t think is qualified to give it.
I mean, who is she to speak on your situation, right? How can an unemployed person tell you what you should be doing to land a job? How can a childless person tell you a better way to raise your kids?
Oh, and don’t you hate it when your single friend is always telling you to break up with your girlfriend or boyfriend? She's not in your situation, so why should you listen to what she has to say?
But maybe, the fact that she's not in your situation is the exact reason why her advice could be valuable. Maybe, she's not in your position for a reason.
Now, before you stop reading, please understand this is not an attack on the decisions or circumstances that may have led you to your current predicament. It’s true that everyone’s experiences are unique, and we shouldn’t judge people or their decisions without knowing the real nitty-gritty.
But, we also shouldn’t judge those who attempt to give us advice, just because we think we already know what the quality of that advice will be, based on our own preconceived notions.
Here are five reasons you should give the unexpected person's advice a chance:
1. You Could Benefit From An Outside Perspective
We often only want to hear advice from someone who is currently going through what we are going through. But many times, this is the very advice we should ignore.
During times of struggle, we want to commiserate and indulge in a little bit of “woe is me.” But why would you want to follow in the footsteps of someone who is struggling just like you are?
The person is right there with you, in a position you don’t want to be in.
It’s better to get the opinion and advice of someone who is outside of your situation, someone who has successfully gone through your struggle or even avoided it altogether.
Think about it: When you’re lost, you look at a map. You seek a pulled-back perspective to see where you went wrong, and what moves you need to make to get where you want to be.
Getting advice should be the same way. You should consult a person who can see where you went wrong when you’re not able to.
2. They Haven’t Been Through Your Struggle, And That’s A Good Thing
I’m going to let you in on the harsh reality that your problem is not very unique. And often times, we use the excuse that our problem is just too specific to our situation, in order to ignore advice we just don’t want to hear.
A person’s lack of experience can be the perfect excuse when we are given great advice we just don’t want to follow. Instead of biting the bullet and admitting the unpleasant steps need to be taken, we shut the other person down by pretending he or she doesn’t know what he or she is talking about.
Don’t get me wrong; sometimes, it’s true that inexperienced people are just totally clueless. And while this can be frustrating, it is still valuable to hear their suggestions.
When you understand how other people with diverse experiences see your situation, you might realize the flaws in your own thinking and end up saying, “I never thought of it that way.”
3. Their Failure Is Your Gain
If there are any people we don’t want to hear from, it’s from those who we know, for a fact, have never been successful in their ventures. But, there’s something we can learn from these people, and that’s what not to do.
Sometimes, people who have failed in their endeavors are humble, and they give advice from the life lessons they’ve encountered on their journeys. Though their track records are nothing to boast about, the wealth of knowledge they have gained from trying a million different dead ends proves invaluable when you are pursuing your own ventures.
Then, there are those who have nothing to brag about, but they still try to act as if they do. These people always seem eager to give advice.
While it might be rather satisfying to point out that none of what they are saying has proven true in their own endeavors, it is better to keep quiet and listen closely. Those who talk a lot, but produce nothing, are usually telling you more than they know.
If nothing else, they will empower you to have more confidence and pride in your own journey.
4. Nobody’s Perfect, And That Makes For Wise People
This is probably the one universal truth everyone on the planet can agree on: Nobody is perfect. And this fact should make it easier for us to talk to each other about what we’re going through.
Unfortunately, we often use this as way to shield our insecurities rather than to become vulnerable and connect with others.
It doesn’t make sense to wait for a perfect person to come along and tell you exactly how to get out of your situation.
Personally speaking, I could never relate to a person like that. I need to hear from someone imperfect, like me. I know the advice will be a lot more practical.
A perfect person is not a wise a person.
5. Pride Comes Before The Fall
There is such a thing as the right kind of pride. It's when you're proud of who you are, the things you have gone through and your many accomplishments.
But, don’t be so prideful that you would walk over a cliff rather than open your eyes and ears to an insight from a person you deem unworthy. Those people are often the first to say, “No one ever told me,” when really, they just never bothered to listen in the first place.
Remember that it is much more important to analyze the advice you get, instead of its source.
That’s not to say the source is completely unimportant, but you shouldn’t use it as an excuse to ignore perfectly good advice. Because let’s just be real: You know good advice when you hear it.
It’s just a matter of being in the right head space to take it, even if it’s difficult.