As we’ve made plenty of decisions about our lives and finances, many people have offered up words of wisdom to help us get through. However, something I’ve noticed is that people rarely take their own advice. In fact, when I think about it, it may even go back to the age-old saying my own mom recited to me, “Do as I say and not as I do.” But why is it that people seem to be able to offer up advice that they themselves can’t take (or at least can’t seem to adopt in their own lives)?
The Truth Behind It
Most of the time when people offer up their shining advice on a silver platter it is something they rarely do (or have ever done) themselves. When it comes down to it though, it is simply hard to be your own advisor. Your emotions and additional internal knowledge will cloud your judgment and lead you to make decisions that you, perhaps, would not recommend to anyone else.
More simply put, when you are not in the middle of a problem, you are better able to look at the issue objectively without all those pesky, irrelevant details. A blog post from The Cut outlined one specific example of when people talk about health issues. When we discuss health problems with someone else, we almost always suggest they get a second opinion. Once your doctor’s appointment arrives though, many people neglect to ask for a referral for a second opinion.
Why? Well, most people say that they don’t want to offend their doctor. This is something irrelevant to the actual decision at hand. When you are on the outside looking in, it is easier to look at it objectively. The same can be said of career advice, hair advice, and pretty much anything else.
Will You Take Your Own Advice?
Even I am guilty of doing this. I push the debt snowball (which I still haven’t nailed down for our family). I write on this blog every week while my finances are still not in tip-top shape, but the advice I am able to give here is from my own personal experiences. Even if I’m not taking that advice right now, per se, they are things that have helped me.
Any time you are looking at someone else’s situation, it is easier to really see the big-picture view. Having that same view when it comes to your own life is hard. It is easy to get hung up on the small stuff. But, when it comes down to it, it is all small stuff – so don’t sweat it.
When you consider offering up advice to someone, solicited or unsolicited, think about whether or not you follow that piece of advice yourself. Or, maybe, more importantly, think about whether you should be following those words of advice. Chances are, you are telling them something you need to hear too.
Readers, do you have trouble following your own advice, even when it is good?
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Amanda Blankenship is the Director of Social Media for District Media. In addition to her duties handling everything social media, she frequently writes for a handful of blogs and loves to share her own personal finance story with others. When she isn’t typing away at her desk, she enjoys spending time with her daughter, husband, and dog. During her free time, you’re likely to find her with her nose in a book, hiking, or playing RPG video games.