Saturday, June 30, 2012

Have the right attitude to advice and advice givers

Many of us do not know how to receive advice.

We maintain an adversarial posture towards advice and the advice givers in our lives, giving finally a half-hearted, begrudging acceptance of the knowledge offered. Often we proceed to not pick at the advice to find holes instead of seeing the information as a nugget to spark our imagination and being creative in applying the information. Ultimately because we 'resent' the giver, we never use the advice to our benefit and to take our lives to the next level. I believe this is karmic; treat the adviser with contempt and disdain, and you wont benefit from what they offer. There is a 'transfer' that happens from the knowledgeable to the seeker of knowledge and it just does not happen without the right attitude.

I believe this wrong attitude is in part a result of black people being under the tutelage of the left, which has done a fair bit to 'disabled' appropriate attitudes and responses towards social betters in fact we are not supposed to acknowledge that there is anything like social, economic and physical superiority between people, 'because we are all suppose to be on the same level you see, no social hierarchy'. A kind of resentment of those who have implemented successful life strategies seems to be a constant reaction among black folk.

The sad thing is that this mindset is actually damaging to the person harbouring this attitude, because it holds them back and prevents them from becoming, in time, as good as or even better than the person from whom they took advice.

The The fostered idea of, 'don’t show deference to anyone' seems to control some people that they have a hard time even acknowledging the soundness of the advice or offering a thank you.

Have you ever reacted in the following ways to someone offering you advice:

1) 'If I listen to her, it means she's better than me'

2) 'I can see she is making sense, but I want her to know that its not like she is some 'expert,' after all, look at the holes A, B, C in what she is saying'

3) 'She is right but I don’t want her to feel she is like some 'big deal' or something, so I will screw up my face/act like I am not fully embracing the idea'.

You are not diminished in anyway by saying 'thank you' and 'please' rather your humanity is fostered. Being grateful and appreciative, points to an ability to recognise good fortune. If a person cannot see and appreciate good fortune...well they might as well be animals. Seeking, and when finding, appreciating good fortune is what life is all about!

I must add here that, '...after all our parents built this country, this is only me claiming what I am due...' is not the 'right' attitude towards help from a white person.

I want to share a personal experience on how a change in attitude helped me get the best out of a situation. I have a gym instructor who is younger and a lot fitter and thinner. I had a 'block' to many of the workout routines she suggested maybe because they seemed ridiculous or pulled from the air sometimes. One day I looked at her and thought to myself, 'Now Halima, as far as exercise is concerned, she is your guru. You must bow your heart and mind towards her suggestions'.

That day, when I made that decision the workout was one of my best, and I soon begun to see the 'results' of my change of mind to one of more acceptance and deference to her knowledge.

From Wikipedia
As a noun the word means the imparter of knowledge (jñāna; Also Persian: Dāna). As an adjective, it means 'heavy,' or 'weighty,' in the sense of "heavy with knowledge,"[2] heavy with spiritual wisdom,[3] "heavy with spiritual weight,"[4] "heavy with the good qualities of scriptures and realization,"[5] or "heavy with a wealth of knowledge."[6] The word has its roots in the Sanskrit gri (to invoke, or to praise), and may have a connection to the word gur, meaning 'to raise, lift up, or to make an effort'.[7]

I am not asking anyone to hang flower garlands round the picture frame of any person who has blessed you with advice, but be appreciative, deferential. Be a worthy receiver. Don’t be among those who don’t know how to receive advise with openness, appreciation and with humility, and with enough self-assurance to know that they are not diminished in anyway by being on the receiving end of another's wisdom.

RIP Donna Summer
Out of all the divas she was my best...still in shock

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Toni said...

Great post, and so so true.

Halima said...

Comment from Patricia Kayden

I am a Lefty, but I have NO problem taking advice from people who are smarter than me on various topics. In fact, before I make any strategic moves (change jobs, invest $$, etc.,) there are some close older friends that I call and ask for their advice.

And I know my boss must roll her eyes because I call her to make sure I am on the right track before doing something for the first time.

I have no problem with my betters. Smart people know that taking advice from other smart people moves us upward and forward.

It is much more embarassing to act like you know everything and fail miserably than to ask for advice. LOL!