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How to tame your inner advice monster

https://ideas.ted.com/how-to-tame-your-inner-advice-monster/

ideas.ted.com

How to tame your inner advice monster
We all have an inner advice monster but it could be getting in the way of connection. Here's how to muzzle it, says Michael Bungay Stanier.

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Your advice monster

Your advice monster

When somebody asks you for advice about something, and before you can gain the full context, your 'advice monster' is like, "Oh, oh, I've got something to say here."

The problem is not with giving advice, but when giving advice becomes your default response.

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Ways advice-giving goes bad

  • We're solving the wrong problem: The first challenge that shows up is seldom the real issue.
  • Our advice is not nearly as good as we think it is: Cognitive bias makes us think we're brilliant at things even though we aren't.
  • Our advice monster will make us think that we are responsible for all the answers to save this person. It is exhausting, frustrating, and overwhelming.
  • For the person who's on the receiving end of your advice monster - they're getting the message that they are incapable of figuring this out by themselves, ripping away at their sense of confidence and autonomy.

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Advice monsters are insatiable

As soon as somebody starts talking, your advice monster wakes up with, "Oh, I'm going to add some value to this conversation!"

Learn to tame your advice monster. To train it, you need to understand it.

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Three different advice personas

  • The “Tell It” persona: This persona is very loud and convinced that the only way to add value is to have all the answers.
  • The "Save It" persona: This persona is subtle. It tries to convince you that your only job is to rescue everybody. You're not allowed to let anybody stumble, struggle, or have a difficult time.
  • The "Control It" persona: This persona is very crafty and has convinced you that you only win if you maintain control at all times. If anybody else takes over control, even a little, you (and they) will definitely fail.

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Connecting all three personas

Your advice monster is really saying that you are better than the other person and they are not good enough.

However, you are losing that connection to your humanity, your empathy, your compassion, and your sense of vulnerability.

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Replace your advice monster

The best way to tame your advice monster is to replace it with a new habit of staying curious. Questions that may help you achieve this:

  • Ask the other person what they think is the real challenge? It helps them to find the important issue and prevents you from providing them with a quick, wrong answer.
  • Ask, "What Else?" The first answer the other person will give you is never their only answer. It will help them to delve deeper into the situation.
  • "What do you want?" This is a very powerful question. When they know what they want, they get to move toward that action with autonomy and confidence.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

The Advice Trap

The Advice Trap

It happens when one rushes to provide advice, which is most likely to be discarded or ignored, even if the person was asked for it.

Even with good intentions, providing advice isn’...

Word Play When Asking For Advice

When someone mentions a problem, it most likely isn’t the core problem but only an outward symptom.

Even if by some miracle one is able to find out the real problem, it does not mean that the advice doled out will be useful or will be implemented.

Ignorance And Superficial Knowledge

Most people are ignorant of their ignorance and live in a self-created bubble of superficial knowledge, which they believe is the only true knowledge there is, due to a cognitive bias known as the Dunning-Kruger effect.

A piece of straightforward advice doled out to be followed to the tee, is often due to lack of knowledge, rather than because of it.

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Don't follow your passion

The main flaw of  “finding your passion” presupposes that interests and passions are fixed, rather than fluid and evolving as we age and gain wisdom and experience. 

The problem with following your passion

  • It ignores the market. Unless you have a trust fund waiting for you, you’ll have to feed yourself and others. 
  • It will turn a passion into a job. 

Learn from Startups

  1. Identify real needs in the market that are currently not being well met. 
  2. Assess your strengths: Whatever is easy for you that most others have a harder time with, that’s a worthy option.
  3. Match up these two in a constantly iterative process: This process takes many years if not decades.

Avoid tension and build rapport

Avoid tension and build rapport

This underscores the importance of starting on the right foot.  If you upset the person you’re trying to help, they’ll wall themselves off. 

It's important to use empath...

Focus on collaboration

To get someone to act on your advice, it’s going to mean giving up at least some of the credit for it. 

When the person receiving your advice feels like they had a hand in creating it—with guidance from you, the expert, of course—they’re far more likely to act on it.

Show your work

In this case, you’re showing your work because it instills trust, and trust is critical for acceptance. 

When you show you work, the person you’re advising doesn’t have to take your recommendations on blind faith. They can see exactly how you got to your advice and buy into it along the way.