Here I’m going to discuss the idea of advice and my take on what it means to advise. I’d like to make some statements about advice, but overall I’m not trying to open up any kind of discussion. It’s just my take.

Advice is hard. It comes from deep within and sometimes deep without. It’s as problematic as the problems it tries to solve. After all, it’s hard to give good advice. But sometimes, it’s also hard to give bad advice. Especially if you cant read a situation. Over the years, a lot of people have come to me for advice. A lot of the time, I tend to think that I give out pretty good advice. It isn’t because I’m smart or super adaptive or inherently social-minded (though these can be helpful and play a part in advising). I think it has a lot more to do with how you live your own life.

I believe in the adviser role a lot. I think it says a lot about who you are. It certainly says and means a lot to me. I think someone who gives good advice has to be someone who either has gone through a lot and/or has experienced those things through others. By that, I mean that they have realized themselves the pains that others have felt merely by listening to the things they have to say. It’s life experience and life experience through others. Like when you watch a movie and you immerse yourself in their world as them, you too can learn to understand the world by learning to understand others and their stories. I would never be where I am now without the help of the people I met. I don’t get a lot of advice in general, at least not what I would consider great advice (Though I won’t discount the various people in my life that have helped me so much. I love you guys).

In general, I would say that my success isn’t because I’ve been advised, but because of the two reasons I’ve mentioned prior. I have gone through a lot of stuff, I won’t get into the meat of that here at this time, but more importantly, I’ve learned to listen. By listening to the problems of others you learn more about how to deal with those types of problems. Advising is a practice. You have to find ways to deal with problems as if they are your own. You use your prior experiences and the experiences you have seen. You can even use media to understand the world (e.g. there’s some great things to be learned about dating from comedies.)

There should be a Zelda Picture here. Learn a lesson.

Learning about dating through Legend of Zelda. Image from zacgorman.com

Caveat: Don’t trust the media. I’ve worked in media and studied media. I won’t delve any further into the subject at this time, but the media likes to control us and our perceptions of society. This is a subject for another day, however.

Listening and trying to critique and understand the world plays so much into advice and to your life in general. I will concede once again that advise is hard.

It’s hard in one way enough that now that you have listened, you have to communicate the things you’ve learned back. A whole other can of worms. But also, I find that in certain times of one’s own life it can be hard to give advice. It’s easier to give advice when you’re in a good position in life. After all, it really is hard to give people advice when you know you’re not in the best position or you’re not happy. You get this mentality that “If I can’t make my life work, how can I tell people how to make theirs? Do I just not follow my own advice?”  And then you feel bad because you aren’t helping the people you care about. But overall advice does give us the ability to think through our lives and our problems. It brings social consciousness to ourselves. But at the same time it can be difficult to express at all times in our lives.

Also, trust me. When you’ve given out advice as long as I have, it’s hard to take advice as well. You’ve probably thought about most of the basic stuff already, so when you hear advice it’s like you can say “I’ve said that to myself and to others a million times. I know that.”

I will also tell you though, some people have truly blown my mind and helped me. There’s a certain girl in particular out there who has done such a service to me that I’m so indebted. I guess this is an example of how when someone does give you good advice, you really learn to understand the value of it and appreciate it. Not that I don’t appreciate those that don’t give the best advice either. Don’t tell people they give bad advice is what I would say. If they are saying it from the heart, it still means a lot whether you find any solace in it or not.

You know I’m pretty pessimistic in general. I’m probably the most optimistic pessimist you could ever meet though. I always say, take everything to heart and take it with a grain of salt at the same time. Find your own opinions and make your own decisions. Take in as much input as possible, but learn to use that information rather than merely accept it. I’m digressing back to the whole “don’t trust the media” idea again, though.

The gist is this: Advice is hard. It takes hard experience and attentive dedication to listening to give advice. It also takes communication. In my opinion, advice is very powerful. It allows us to think through our own lives and to help others live theirs. You can’t and won’t always give good advice. But if you always try to do it with your heart, it’ll always mean something.

Stay strong and love each other. Let’s make the world better.

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