I know you’re thinking, “counsel and advice have similar meaning, so why use both in one title?” Well, there’s a reason why I used both in the title of this article. Keep reading to find out.
I’ll define the act of seeking counsel as going out of your way and putting aside your ego to ask for guidance on an issue bothering you, especially one you haven’t been able to deal with on your own. On the other hand, taking advice, in the context of this article, does not necessarily involve you going to someone.
There are two scenarios to taking advice, one is that someone might notice a dent or dangerous pattern in your life or way of life and walk up to you to hand you some advice on how to correct or go about such. The second scenario involves picking or learning from someone’s narration of their experience.
People often tend to unknowingly give advice after concluding the narration of an experience they’ve had. Most times, they don’t even know that the listener is currently going through what they’ve gone through. This is why I take my time to listen keenly to other people’s experiences in life to see if I can deduce any advice that could help me in my future endeavours.
Sometimes, it’s vice versa, I narrate my experience so that other people can pick one or two things that could help them on their journey of life. You never know to whom you could be of help, and I love to think I’m helping, at least, contributing my own quota to the world.
I don’t think a lot of people understand this, but while observing the pattern of my life over the years, I’ve discovered that when I come across scenarios in life that are similar to what someone has previously told me about, I tend to have a ready-made plan for such situation in my subconscious mind. This might sound funny but if you haven’t already, please start taking note of this.
Whenever someone talks about an experience they’ve had, try to put yourself in their shoes and imagine how you would have handled the situation before you heard their story and then, how you think you’ll handle the situation now that you’ve heard their story and learnt from their mistakes.
Personally, I prefer this approach of taking advice because it’s usually more viable and relatable, especially when you’re giving advice, you don’t have to directly tell the person what to do, all you have to do is let them learn from your story or someone else’s. The advantage is that this sticks with the person more than you handing them direct advice.
The problem with giving direct advice is that you usually do not know the person in totality and without this, you cannot efficiently give advice. What would work for person A might not work for person B, not because the method isn’t right, but because person A and person B are totally different individuals who have different life patterns, process life differently and act in different manner.
The fact is, when you walk up to someone to seek their counsel, it’s mostly because you aspire to be somewhat like them or see them as a mentor of some sort and you want to know how they were able to be who they are. You see, it still boils down to the psychology behind taking advice.
While most people go to friends and friendlies to seek counsel, taking advice doesn’t necessarily have to be from a friend or mentor. You can take advice from a foe or unfriendly person by merely listening to their experience, learning from their mistakes and holding on to that concluding advice that usually ends the narration of their experience.
Finally, I’ll leave you with this. Life is too complex to learn from friends alone. If you really want to make it easy for yourself, start learning from everyone. Everyone has something to teach, but they hardly know it. It’s your duty to find it and use it to your advantage in life.