Last week’s meandering about the place of advice in our lives (Pause 12.10 – Ce M’Est A Vis) really struck a chord with Pause readers. Rather than try to excerpt just one comment for the Readers Write section of this week’s Pause message, I decided to provide this link that summarizes the reactions. You’ll also find a lively commentary of post-backs at the end of the Blog post for the same message.
Thanks to all who took the time to write and share their views. Special thanks to a couple of my Francophone readers who so kindly corrected my French noting that the title phrase should actually read: “C’est Mon Avis”. I’m always grateful for those who are able to fix my errors. And, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to me that the Old French source (circa 1300) would have evolved to something more current.
Enjoy the read!
JR writes: Ce m’est a vis was… brilliant! Best quote and resource of the week ever! Who is more expert in advising me about my life and career than the person who created them in the first place? I find, when the ship’s taking on water, my internal muse goes mute, and I flail for a friend’s PFD rather than buoying myself up with my own truth. Thanks for this very timely reminder.
RC writes: One thing I feel when I’m getting too much advice, is this overwhelming feeling that things aren’t good or that I’m not doing well enough if others are constantly saying “do this” or “do that” or “try this”, etc. I am the type of person who’s always looking for improvement, self-betterment and so on, but I try to be careful to celebrate who I am and how I’m doing things, right now. Otherwise it always feels like I need to improve because I’m not quite good enough yet.
YD writes: Nice advice… to turn down the flow of advice? Quite a paradox, isn’t it? And I bet you wanted it this way: an advice to reduce the impact of advisory overload.
If I’d be in Saskatchewan today, I’d drive up to your place and say something like “… hmmm, there must be a story behind today’s writing as it seems to me so different than your usual style… Tell me more please…”
I find it very interesting that old French / Latin equated “advice” and “time” because in my job, I give my time but I can’t give advice. I’ll be thinking about this.
CS writes: I normally don’t respond to these type of things however today I felt I should respond by saying “thanks” for your honesty especially in your line of work. I feel the same however probably more often than you. Thanks again for a great Pause!
PS writes: My psych prof once told me that for every piece of advice there is a saying, and for every saying, there is an equal but opposite saying. For example “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” could just as easily be “Out of sight, out of mind”.
In busy times, or frantic times of crisis, when everyone assumes you need advice, I keep that prof’s little story in my head when listening to all that well meaning advice. It has saved my blood pressure and preserved many relationships!
ER writes: As I enter another check-in period of appointments, tests and scans layered upon my usual routine of rehab, I seem to have the pleasure – this week – of advice from doctors, nurses, naturopaths, physiotherapists, technicians, massage therapists, counselors, GP’s, rehab coordinators and disability providers…not to mention well-intentioned friends. Enough already!
However, it occurs to me that we can become addicted to seeking out advice as well. Thanks for the reminder that I DO have a brain, good sense and judgment – and that I am still driving this bus! Time to dial it down.
MS writes: I try very hard to only offer advice when asked for it. There’s nothing worse than people telling others what to do or what they think, if they are not asked! I remember being a new mom and the unsolicited advice I got! I only offer new mothers advice if they ask me for it. Then it matters.
PB writes: You are so right about being bombarded with advice. Sometimes I’m really glad that in this era of information (advice) overload I am in mid-life and have experience which makes me comfortable ignoring so much of the advice out there. But… here is a little piece of advice (or perhaps it is non-advice) that I give to new moms: “You know your baby best, better than anyone, even your doctor. So trust yourself first when caring for your baby.”
LC writes: It reminds me of a conference I attended regarding employment. One of the keynote speakers spoke on the theme, “The Art of Re-inventing Ourselves”. Another speaker began her rather poetic presentation with, “Don’t ask us to re-invent ourselves.” I often wondered if the two ever compared notes.
Yes, we can find advice that tells us to do, or not to do almost anything. Should I stay or should I go? Should I get this car or that car or just use the bus? It goes on and on and the bottom line seems to me that we need to have a well-established personal principled foundation on which we stand.
That leads me to another quote (Yes, I collect them, sometimes to follow, sometimes to amuse, etc.): “If I’m not here accepting the things I cannot change, I’m probably out trying to change the things I cannot accept.” I don’t know who said it, but it goes in the “I wish I had thought of that.” file. As always, thanks for your thoughts, Pat and, yes, for your wisdom.
DC writes: I get so tired of the “forward to 10 people in 10 minutes and see what arrives in your inbox” quotes. So often the stories are heart warming and, even though I’ve read them/seen them before, there are days when they are a nice “window” to pause and take a breather from whatever project I’m involved with at the time. However, I rarely forward them. I’m mindful of who will think the same as me – “Enough already”.
There are many sayings and quotes out there. I just don’t need to see them all. Of course, the most important piece of all of this for me is that I have the choice to hit the delete key. I can read them or not, send them along or not.
Quite often I look at the sender and realize that they just need someone to give them a positive because of what’s happening for them at the time. A quick email to ‘speak’ to them is what they need from me. And sometimes the most appropriate response is to hit delete.
The wonderful thing that is email is so handy in so many ways but it can also be the’ phone call during the dinner hour’. What is our individual response to that? Go to voice mail or pick up? Many of us have learned to let it go to voice mail and we should do the same for the nuisance emails. Send them to junk or deleted file. It’s our choice.
How’s that for a wordy pondering. Having said all that, I love seeing your tagline in my inbox every Wednesday! You might be tired of you but I’m not! :>)
LL writes: Have you read, “Data Smog” by David Shenk? It is about how to dial down external influences and the choices we have around the whole idea of overload. I think if you haven’t read it, you would find it refreshing.
P.S. I love your newsletter. However, I must admit…during weeks that I am feeling overly busy, I just delete it instead of reading it. That is how I deal with the feeling of TOO MUCH input!
BK writes: Thanks, Pat, for your honesty. I am getting tired of well-meaning friends (and others) giving me advice or information most of which I have to sort through to get to the point – or even worse, that I have heard a zillion times.
Yesterday, for the first time in a long time, I actually turned off the computer at home and decided to give myself a deadline to answering emails. Guess what? My time is up! LOL
LE writes: Thank you for this message. I love motivational advice and even “recycled wisdom”, but I have learned to tune out the quotations or ideas that don’t resonate with me. Sometimes I go back to them weeks and month later and they have an entirely different meaning for me. It all depends on MY perspective at the time. So, I guess taking all of the advice through the filter of my own thoughts is how I deal with the ongoing bombardment.