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The Truth About Your Advice: It’s Not As Good As You Think.

Do you love to dish out advice?

In my experience, without asking for it, people will throw their opinions around. Family members will tell you about the type of career you should have. Partners will tell you what clothes to wear. Friends will tell you where you should go on vacation or who you should date. Co-workers will give you career guidance.

Some people even go so far as to hire coaches to tell them what to do. I’m a coach myself, but I’m not in the advice giving business. I prefer to help clients discover answers on their own.

Moreover, the bigger the decision we face in life, the more we tend to turn to others to solve the problems for us. Seeking the advice of others seems like a smart thing to do when dealing with a critical situation. The problem is, nobody knows our life as well as we do. No one else has as much at stake. How then, can anyone possibly know what we should do?

The truth is that they can’t.

At best, giving and receiving advice is a way to gather knowledge. As the giver, it is a sure-fire way to stroke the ego. At worst, however, seeking the advice of others can lead you down the wrong path while shutting off the flow of your inner wisdom. When we tell others what to do, it constricts their innate intelligence and creativity. The same happens when we turn to others for the answers to our biggest problems.

However, what do we do when others come to us for guidance or when we are stuck in life? Should we expect people to figure everything out on their own? Of course not! However, you should handle these situations differently thank you think. By doing so, you will show others (and yourself) how to tap into the inner wisdom and capacity for problem-solving that we all hold as human beings.

Instead of doling out advice we should do this instead:

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The Power of Not Knowing

His Holiness the Dalai Lama, pauses for a moment to ponder a question he is asked, lets out a relaxed breath and says “I don’t know anything.”

A chuckle ensues, which then ripples into roaring laughter throughout the audience. After a moment of stillness, he begins to speak, and the words that flow from his mouth are dead-on perfect in addressing the question. What he said was exactly matched to what this audience, at the Vancouver Peace Summit many years ago, needed to hear. The content of the question and answer are not relevant for this post, it was the manner in which the question was replied that is insightful.

It’s as if the Dalai Lama’s statement of “I don’t know anything” both enabled him to access a deeper source of authentic wisdom and creativity, while simultaneously putting the audience at ease and in a more receptive mood.

Or perhaps, His Holiness is showing us an even more powerful lesson than the eventual answer he provided, one of how to tap into our own inner power?

Is admitting you don’t know something, a key to accessing a deeper source of wisdom and creativity?

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