Nobody can deny that you know yourself better than any other living being. After all you have lived with yourself since the very beginning. Not even your mother has spent as much time with you as you have. So it goes without saying that you know all your likes and dislikes and your capabilities.
Since you have such intimate knowledge of yourself, it only goes to show that you will be able to give yourself under most circumstances the best advice. However, since you have a vested interest in the advice you take, you may be apt to give yourself softer advice. You after all don’t want to make your life more difficult. You also don’t want to deprive yourself of any possible pleasure. But why is it so hard to take your own advice?
In researching for my book I came across this article “HOW TO ACTUALLY TAKE YOUR OWN ADVICE: THE “BEST FRIEND” METHOD,” by Derek. I have taken a couple of key ideas from it and listed them below.
Most of us are GREAT at GIVING advice but we’re HORRIBLE at TAKING advice!
There has been studies done on this matter. There is even a term for it. Igor Grossmann, assistant professor of psychology at University of Waterloo, calls it Solomon’s Paradox: King Solomon was known for his wisdom in guiding others. But he failed to use that same wisdom in his own life… and his kingdom quickly collapsed.
The problem lays with the fact there is simply too much information stored in your old noggin. How can we resolve this problem? We know too much about our own situation. We’re too close. This makes it difficult to be objective. The answer to this problem is to change your perspective. What you need is a way to DISTANCE yourself from your own problems. A way to analyze them as an outsider. Igor Grossmann, together with Ethan Kross from the University of Michigan, did an experiment to find out. Their findings inspired the “Best Friend Method”.
In Grossmann’s study, the participants were split into two random groups. One group was asked to imagine their own partner cheating on them. The other group was asked to imagine their best friend’s partner cheating on their friend.
Then, the researchers asked the participants questions to find out how they would deal with the situation.
The questions were a bit more specific, but for example, questions like:
- “Would you try to get more information about what happened?”
- “Are you considering your or your friend’s partner’s perspective?”
- “What are the different ways the situation might unfold?”
Now, I’m the LAST person you should ask for relationship advice! But objectively, these are all pretty reasonable things to think about, right?
Well, easier said than done… Especially, if you’re being cheated on!
This is exactly what the researchers found:
When people talked about their best friend, they were 22% more willing seek out more information. And they were 31% more likely to look at the situation from multiple perspectives. They were also 15% more likely to consider a compromise.
But here’s where it gets interesting…
In a second experiment, the participants were split into the same 2 groups: One group was asked to imagine their own partner cheating on them. The other group was asked to imagine their best friend’s partner cheating on their friend.
However, here’s what was different:
The researchers instructed people to use either first-person pronouns – like “I” and “me” – or third-person pronouns – like “he”, “she”, “him”, and “her” – when answering the questions.
When people used third-person pronouns instead of using “I”, they were 35% more likely to offer themselves the same good advice that they gave to others in the first study.
This is amazing.
Just by switching from “I” to “he” or “she” people were able to step away from themselves.
Which brings us straight to the “Best Friend Method” YOU can use to take your own, best advice. I don’t know if I entirely agree with this study. However, you might find it of some help. So I will continue on my thoughts on the subject.
So you are in a bit of a quandary, do you trust your own advice or not? I guess it all depends on your resolve and your willpower. Can you resist temptation? Can you save money or are you a spender? For example can you stick to a diet? Are you self-motivated or do you need someone to push you? If you are weak-willed and have an addictive personality you probably aren’t reading my self-help book or any other one for that matter, and you are just bouncing from one pleasurable experience to another, with no real plan for advancement or goal for your future. If you are reading this book and you want to turn your life around, then skip this chapter completely. You are simply not ready to be following your own consul just yet. Don’t be discouraged, with hard work, it will eventually come.
If you are strong-willed and can stick to a game plan, despite its difficulty then, you can trust your own consul. As a matter of fact, you might just be better off doing so. I have been a nurse for over twenty years. I bring this up because I want to talk a little about knowledge. I find that people with chronic illnesses tend to know more about their disease processes than the primary medical doctors overseeing their care. Of course, the specialist caring for you will hopefully have even more knowledge. The chronic patient knows so much because they have lived with the problem for years and they have done a great deal of research on the subject.
While scouring the internet I came across this article on taking your own advice, it simply said that you should give yourself the same advice you would give to someone else. Pretty simple idea, but it has a lot of meaning. What it infers is that it is easy to give advice to others because you are able to distance yourself from that person and their problems. So if that advice is good enough for them why isn’t good enough for you? Or are you giving people crappy advice. The answer to that is, of course, you’re not. You want to know why? Because people take a great deal of pride in the fact that someone respects them enough to ask them for advice. So to earn that trust and respect you pull out all the stops to give your best thought-out advice. Because if they do succeed, it is because of you. Now your name will be spoken around your little circle, and you will feel pride. It is OK to feel pride because it is well-deserved.
If you want to replace experts and thus save money, you first have to be honest with yourself and you have to do the research, so that you can answer your own questions. Doing the research yourself maybe hard at first but it will become easier with time.
I want to give you a little example from my personal experiences. This is my eighth book that I am writing. I did not bring this up to brag. I am bringing it up because my first book was a disaster, it took forever to publish it on Amazon. I ended up using three different programs to write the book. I had problems converting it to a pdf format. My margins were off. I was having kittens. Then to top it off I got an image stuck in the margin, and the Amazon software would not finalize the book. Finally the company that wrote my software fixed the problem. I then must have edited it and updated the book twenty times!!! I kept on finding errors. The second book went better. The last books I have written I think I maybe updated them once each. I now have a system to check for grammatical errors in place that helps to facilitate this process.
So if I can do this with my books, you can do the same with the area that you need advice on. One good thing about taking your own advice is that you are not going to swindle yourself, unless you have multiple personalities. If you do, this book won’t help you. If you still need some validation after you have done the research and made up your mind, ask one of your friends or family members that has some knowledge on the subject and see what the say. You will be surprised to find yourself spot on.