I am a strong advocate for being an adult who makes decisions and deals with them.  The good, the bad and the ugly that comes with the aftermath.  At the same time I am not one of those people who does not take the opinions of the people around me into consideration.  It is very fine line for people.  How much do you listen to people?  Do you take all perspectives into account?  What specific people do I take advice from?  And how do I take advice and still maintain my perspective without offending the person giving the advice?

I do not make a habit of taking advice, criticism, direction or praise from people who do not take the same from me.  This sort of thing creates and imbalance in a relationship.  It makes people feel like the only useful role that they have in your life is that of someone who tells you what is best for you.  Even when they may not truly know.  This is especially true with parents.  They get so consumed with always telling you what is best, that a part of their esteem is built upon the hierarchy or pedestal that  that is established when you are a child.  But all children grow up.  And in pursuit of independence parents are naturally going to lose some level of superiority.  And they fight it with these ridiculously exaggerated claims of you being “disrespectful” for not responding to their direction the way you may have when you were a child.  You cannot let that stop you from pushing forward with your own independence. 

The same applies with friends or people that you date.  It is an extreme imbalance to have a friend who always has some direction on how to tell you to fix your life, but they look at you like you are out of your depth when you suggest a new route to work to them.  It is a sign that people do not look at you as a peer.  And that part of why you are around is because they can feel superior to you.  If you can see this sort of dynamic in your relationships then it would be a good idea to take an honest account of how much this affects the long term status.  In my experience with women they do not want to always be the voice of direction.  Even though they always have energy to give direction, that will backfire if she feels like it becomes a burden.  The same lady who will give you direction on getting your life on track will be the same one who eventually feels like you are more childlike than manly if you can never take that advice and then eventually start to make your own decisions.  So fellas make sure you are at least slightly more strength than burden.

It is always good to have a locked in group of people to take counsel from.  And it should typically be a very small group.  Taking advice from to many people can usually mean a couple of different things.  First of all, that you probably talk to much.  But more seriously that you are looking for too much support for a position that you already know.  We generally have a consciousness that guides us in the best way.  But we will often go in different directions looking for people to support decisions that we are hesitant or afraid to act upon.  To be an adult you have to do adult things.  And that is just making decisions based upon your own moral compass.  We all can use some support on big decisions.  But there should be no meeting of the minds for where to buy your next washer and dryer from.  Or how to tell someone that you are unavailable.  Or even how to tell someone to mind their own business at work.  You know the words.  Pull the trigger.

Pulling the trigger with your own perspective.  And knowing the difference in what you feel vs what someone is telling you to feel.  Let’s be clear.  There is a difference between advice and direction.  Advice is to help you make a decision.  Direction is for someone who is lost.  Are you lost or do you seek counsel?  Know the difference when you talk to people.  And more importantly let them know the difference.  Some of the same people who will give you direction get offended when you receive it as advice.  And get upset with you when you do not follow the directions that they have laid out.  And that is a natural reaction on their part because sometimes we submit ourselves to people in a way that makes us seem desperate for guidance.  If you want advice, ask the person directly for some ADVICE.  But understand that if you are constantly submitting yourself to people in a state of disheveled emotional distress, then TAKEOVER mode kicks in and all you will get from them is direction.  Not just for a moment, but for the foreseeable future.

We never want to present ourselves as all knowing and all mighty.  But at the same time you can never present yourself as being unable to make your own decisions.  Feel confident in yourself and people will feel confident in you.  There are few things more empowering than standing on your own two feet and controlling your life with your own decisions and actions.  Good or bad.  And knowing how to take advice in order to chart your own direction is the solid process for ultimately doing what is best for you.