How to Take Advice

Even if you’re in a tough situation, taking advice can be really hard. Sometimes, though, an outside perspective can help you see things in a new light, making it easier to decide what to do. It might not be easy, but try to drop your defenses and listen to the advice in a receptive way. Then, take some time to think about that advice critically before you make your decision.

Steps

Method 1 of 3: Being Open to Advice

How to Take Advice

Recognize the roadblocks that make it hard to accept advice. If you’re struggling to get help with a difficult decision or you tend to quickly dismiss other people’s advice, take some time to reflect on why that might be. Dig deep—being honest with yourself about what’s getting in the way can really help you let your walls down. Some of those things might include:

  • Being defensive about your own point of view
  • Being over-confident in your own opinion
  • Not trusting other people
  • Seeing uninvited advice as unhelpful
  • Preferring immediate satisfaction to long-term gains
  • Being stuck in a rut
  • Not being ready to hear the advice
  • Feeling afraid

How to Take Advice

Acknowledge the benefits that can come from good advice. Guidance from the right people can help you come up with solutions that you might not have thought of on your own. In addition, they might offer a perspective that helps you think of the problem in a new way, or they might be able to point out a flaw in your thinking.

  • When you recognize these advantages to listening to good advice, it’s a lot easier to drop your defenses when someone offers their opinion.
  • Make sure you’re really clear on the heart of the issue before you look for advice. That way, you can be sure the person who’s advising you will really understand what you’re asking.

How to Take Advice

Let go of the idea that you already have the answer. Unfortunately, we all have a tendency to be over-confident that we know what’s best. However, that mindset can really hold you back. When someone is offering your advice, try to listen in a receptive and open-minded way. After all, they might have a solution that could work better than whatever you already had in mind.

  • For instance, if you’re at work and you’ve always done something a certain way, someone might come along and suggest a different way to do it. If you’re open to the idea, you might find that it actually turns out to be more efficient, saving you time and trouble throughout the day.

Method 2 of 3: Weighing the Advice

How to Take Advice

Listen to yourself first. Since your intuition can sometimes lead you wrong, how you feel about the advice shouldn’t necessarily be your only deciding factor. However, in the end, you’re the one who has to live with the choices you make, so really take the time to make sure that whatever you’re doing feels true to you.

  • For instance, if someone gives you advice that goes against one of your core values, like honesty or integrity, you should listen to the inner voice that tells you it’s wrong.

How to Take Advice

Let your defenses down and listen with humility. Sometimes when people approach you with advice, you’ll notice that you immediately start to bristle. Sometimes, people who offer unsolicited advice are really overstepping their boundaries. However, this isn’t always the case—if someone approaches you in a thoughtful way to offer some advice, it might be worth dropping your guard and giving them a little of your time.

  • Even if you don’t necessarily agree with the advice, ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?” and “Is there any way this can help me grow?”

How to Take Advice

Choose your advisers wisely. Be very discerning when you’re choosing who to take advice from. The best advice comes from people who’ve been in your shoes before, who really care about you, or who are experts on the subject in question. However, just because someone is successful in their field doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll give you good advice. Don’t let someone’s status cloud your judgment.

  • If you provide a service, customer feedback can also be a valuable source of advice.
  • Don’t take advice from someone who isn’t where you’d want to be. For instance, you might not take financial advice from someone who doesn’t manage money well.
  • Also, avoid only asking for advice from people who always agree with you. That won’t really be valuable in the long run.

How to Take Advice

Ask for clarification if you need it. When someone is giving you advice, they might speak in generalizations, give you too many ideas, or use jargon that you don’t understand. If you’re left feeling confused, don’t be afraid to speak up!

  • If the person gives you a list of things you could do, for instance, but they don’t really give you an idea of where to start, you might ask, “What do you think I should focus on first?”

How to Take Advice

Seek several different opinions. Don’t feel like you only have to get advice from one person. Instead, reach out to several people whose judgment and experience you really trust. That way, you can be sure you’re getting a broad enough perspective on the issue.

  • Also, don’t just rely on people who think similarly to the way you do—try to find people with diverse points of view.

How to Take Advice

Give yourself time to think about the advice. Even if you have to make a quick decision, take a little bit of time to mull over any advice someone offers. Carefully consider your options so you can make a thoughtful decision based on your goals and what’s important to you.

  • However, do give yourself a deadline so you don’t end up procrastinating for too long.

How to Take Advice

Trust yourself to make the right decision. At the end of the day, you’re the only person who’s responsible for your decisions. Weigh all of the advice you’ve been given, then decide what you’re going to do and move forward.

  • Be prepared to take responsibility for your decision, no matter what the outcome might be.

How to Take Advice

Show gratitude for any advice you take. It’s important to let people know that you appreciate their advice, as well as how it made a difference to you. Not only is this polite, but it also lets the person know that you valued their opinion and that it was helpful.

  • It also builds your network and allows you to ask for advice from that person in the future.

Method 3 of 3: Asking for Advice

How to Take Advice

Ask someone with relevant knowledge or experience. When you’re asking for advice, try to rely on people who can really give you insight into the problem. Think creatively—they don’t necessarily have to be in your exact shoes to have relevant experience. Make sure it’s someone who really wants to see you succeed, as well.

  • If it’s possible, try to choose a few different people to go to for advice. That diversity will help ensure you don’t just rely on people who have the same perspective as you.

How to Take Advice

Start with a positive tone. Asking for advice can be tough. Start out on the right foot by opening with something positive and straightforward. Avoid being self-deprecating—even experts in their fields need advice from time to time.

  • Keep it simple by saying something like, “I’d love your advice, do you have 20 minutes to spare?”

How to Take Advice

Define the problem clearly for the advice-giver. Other people’s advice won’t make much of a difference if you’re not 100% clear on what the core issue is. Start at the end—describe the decision you need to make. Then, explain everything you have to consider in relation to that decision, like other people who are involved, the goals you’re trying to accomplish, and what’s making the situation more difficult. That way, the person giving you the advice will be able to speak directly to the issue, and they’ll be less likely to give you vague or generic advice.

  • Try to avoid unnecessary details, also. Give the person just as much information as they need to know.
  • Ask yourself what your blind spots are—what are you really struggling with, and where do you need the most guidance?
  • For example, if you’re struggling with whether you should accept a job offer, you might explain what the job will entail, how it compares to your current job, and anything that’s complicating the decision, like needing to relocate.

How to Take Advice

Don’t ask for advice to validate a decision you’ve already made. It can be tempting sometimes to go to someone ‘for advice,’ when what you really want is confirmation. If you’re pretty sure you already know what you’re going to do, just go ahead with it. Either that, or you’ll have to open yourself up to the possibility that you might be wrong.

  • For instance, if you’re struggling with a difficult problem at work, don’t go to your boss for advice when you already have a possible solution in mind.
  • Similarly, don’t ask for advice as a shortcut for doing the work yourself.

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