Unsolicited Advice

I know better, but I still sometimes make the mistake, offering up my views, some expert tips, to people doing their best to learn on their own. It’s a failure of ego and a failure of judgement.

So often the right thing to do in this life is just to shut up, mind your own business and move on, but I fall into that trap of thinking that doing/saying something is more productive than not, which, again, is more about exerting some kind of dominance or puffing up my ego than about helping other people.

I prefer to learn on my own for the inverse of the reason I shouldn’t give unsolicited advice, because my ego doesn’t like to admit I could use some advice, some help. I should ask more and offer less.

It stands to reason that other people feel that way too, AND that if they didn’t, if they really did want some help, they’d ask.

Here is a partial list of things people don’t need me to weigh in on:

  • How they look
  • What they could be doing differently
  • Why what they’re doing is wrong
  • How much longer I’ve been doing a given thing
  • What’s cool or not cool
  • All the ways I can help them improve

Most of those topics contain the seeds of shame, i.e. me shaming someone else when they’re just trying to do their thing. We all just want to do our thing, right? OK. Someone asks for help, you help, tactfully, encouragingly, and without the ulterior motive of making yourself look like something you’re not.

If I have ever inflicted my views on you in any area of shared activity, please accept this as a humble apology.