One of our colleagues, half-heartedly and with more than a little (implied) sarcasm, suggested writing an advice column on communications, marketing, and the like.
After bristling, we thought long and hard: Well, why not? It’s the sort of unwanted self-help tactic that usually seduces readers with its outlandish set of problems and solutions. The guy who fought with his neighbor about pet boundaries. The woman who just couldn’t resist the last word. Every day, millions skim these funny Q and As online and in print; why couldn’t that be us in lights?
Then came second thoughts: How many times, when advice was sought, was it discarded by the seeker? How did that make us feel? And how many times did we offer unsolicited advice … only to be spurned like a rejected suitor?
Hmm: Enter an academic article detailing four types of advice (Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes). Two are obvious: Either be ‘for’ or ‘against’ a decision. Detail the processes involved in making a choice, for three. Or four, providing information without indicating whether it’s thumbs up or down.
Information, in short, is the winner. Why? Because advice seekers become more confident in making decisions now and in the future. They also feel more autonomous and self-directed. In short, the authors admonish: Giving advice might seem glamorous, but it’s not always treasured.
As for seeking it? Call us in the morning after you’ve read two self-help books.