Are Our Advices as Good as We Would Like to Think?
Febrilian Kristiawan / October 14, 2020
3 min read
Sometimes I'd like to think that my advice is good. I have given advices to other people multiple times in my life, whether they actually need it or not. Giving advice feels good, and sometimes I can feel that the advices that I gave are what they actually need in order to effectively solve their problems. But were these advices are really good advices? Or is it just my brain tricking me into thinking that I already got everything figured out? None of the two statements can be true. In fact, the latter, I believe, is the one that's most likely true.
If I feel that my advices are really good, then why, in my life, I haven't accomplished anything meaningful? I can also find a lot of people giving advices without having any reputation of effectively achieved or overcame big problems and situations in their life. I believe I probably am one of these people.
Is it possible that I used my fast thinking (System 1) to give advice to other people? I think it's very likely, especially when I haven't listened enough from the person I'm giving advices to. So in order to give a good advice (which is really hard, I probably won't try it again after contemplating the matter through this writing), you have to think slowly and deliberately (using your System 2). In order to think slowly, you have to gather a lot of information, both factual and emotional kind of information.
It is impossible to give a good advice without listening thoroughly to other people. Once you do this, you'll realize it's hard to completely listen, with complete presence and empathy. By the time you completed listening to the person's situation, you'll probably already depleted your energy from trying to truly listen and understand their story. So you have to be careful about anything you're going to say from this point. You might take the easy way and give bad advices, because it's easy to give bad advices when you're tired. It's also easier to give bad advice when you didn't even listen.
In my life, I never felt that I have given anyone a good advice. I just realized that the advices that I gave were only given because I only wanted to say something, not because it's needed to be said. If I had listened more, this probably wouldn't happen as much, and I don't have to write this. This might just be my false memory because I tend to blame myself more than I have to when doing a contemplation like this.
Giving advice is difficult, arguably the hardest kind of social interaction (besides hostage negotiating, obviously). Its difficulty lies on the fact that you have to listen first before you decide what kind of advice you want to give to the other person. Sometimes there's really no advice we can give, for we don't always understand the situation (from the lack of listening or just general understanding). In other situation, we might just can't come up with any advice, cause you know, we don't know everything.