This was a regular grouse I had with my father. As any father would, he wanted the best for me. Whenever he could see that I am about to make a mistake, he would jump in and want to help me. Young blood has its quirks. One would expect gratitude in for having helping someone prevent a mistake. Rather, my blood would boil. I didn’t want anyone to tell me what to do. I wanted to make my own mistakes and learn by myself.
Now, I’m on the other side of the equation. I have am surrounded by many young college goers. Often, they look to me for advice. But, the moment I give it, most of them lose interest! They seem to agree with what they are hearing. It makes sense to them. But many times, it is not implemented. They don't do it.
I don't think its because they can’t or don't have the courage. Most of the times I believe it is because they lose the sense of ‘ownership’. It’s no longer ‘their’ solution.
When do I seek and follow advice given to me by others? Here are three types of situations when I am open to advice.
1 - I am desperate.
I have lost my confidence in my own ability to solve. I am prone to extreme levels of advice seeking. I will take any available advice, even wrong advice. I will often be flipping flopping between contradictory advice. I remain confused. Even after following the advice, I continue to doubt it.
2 - I have complete trust.
Trust allows me to move beyond my own personal limitations. When I have the ‘right’ people in my life, there will certainly be speed in my life. I will give credit to them for the good that happens to me. But, I may also have the tendency to feel a tinge of ‘I did what they said’ when things go wrong.
3 - I am deeply focused on results.
Here, there is no space for ‘my idea’ or ‘their idea’. The only question is ‘will it create the desired results?’ I seek help from those who have results. I don’t attempt to challenge them. I listen. I seek to understand, but I am open. There is trust, yet I take my own decisions. I make efforts to understand. I share credit for the good that happens, and take responsibility for what goes wrong.
When none of the above conditions are in fulfilled, my mind resists seeking help. This happens especially when I have had some amount of success. Some things have worked out well. Yet, sometimes when I am not ambitious enough to fulfil the third condition. Thats when I say ‘don't show me, let me make my own mistakes’.
I really don't need to insist on making my own mistakes to learn. I am ready to learn from the mistakes others have already made. Thats smart. And, when a mistake by me happens, I will certainly learn. What say? What is your mode of seeking help? What works for you?