ideas that challenge / comfort / inspire
You don't have to be "deep" or constantly talking about profound issues. You just need to be "in the mix" so that you venture outside of your box. People who don’t peek out and over the lids of their cardboard hovels live in very small worlds. They may follow others into change, but they do not own it.
One way to clarify who is in the mix and who is not, is to ask, "Would I go to this person for advice when some significant life issue confronted me?" Not just for encouragement or some sage piece of advice--but because this person is a fellow struggler.
These types of friends and acquaintances are "in the fight" to move beyond white picket fences and 9-to-5 jobs. They whet your appetite for substantive relationships and make you want to become more than what you are. These are friends who are open to paradigm shifts in their own lives. They are not just focused on “straightening you out” so that you will become more like them. They want to grow like you do.
Talk a little less, and listen more. Less advice is often the best advice. People don’t need lots of advice; they need a listening ear and some positive reinforcement. What they want to know is often already somewhere inside of them. They just need time to think, be and breathe, and continue to explore the undirected journeys that will eventually help them find their direction.
It is certainly worthwhile getting another perspective from qualified friends about the decisions you face. Accepting advice is critical to raising the bar--as long as you continue to own your work and not allow others to take over.
The Week magazine Executive Editor Robert Love offers this advice to his 16-year-old self:
Dear Bob, Would you like some advice from the older you? Turn the volume down to 10 and the SPF up to 30. Be patient with yourself and those who cross your path. Cherish your friends and family; you will miss them soon enough. Don’t feel too bad if you never seem to understand the girl in your life. There are mysteries that will never be solved. Most of all, never lose your curiosity. It will guide you to a career and a calling and bring you into the company of others who are wildly curious about the world and how it works. Believe me, there is no better place to be.
The advice that sticks out I got from John Door, who in 2001 said, “My advice to you is to have a coach.”
My argument was, How could a coach advise me if I’m the best person in the world at this? But that’s not what a coach does. The coach doesn’t have to play the sport as well as you do. They have to watch you and get you to your best.
Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google parent company Alphabet, Quoted in Fortune Magazine
If you seek advice from a very old person about how to become very old, the only person who can provide you an answer is a person who is not dead. The people who made the poor health choices you should avoid are now resting in the earth and can’t tell you about those bad choices anymore. That’s why it’s difficult not to furrow your brow and wonder why you keep paying for a gym membership when Willard Scott showcases the birthday of a 110-year-old woman who claims the source of her longevity is a daily regimen of cigarillos, cheese sticks, and Wild Turkey cut with maple syrup and Robitussin. You miss that people like her represent a very small number of the living. They are on the thin end of a bell curve. There is a much larger pool of people who basically drank bacon grease for breakfast and didn’t live long enough to appear on television. Most people can’t chug bourbon and gravy for a lifetime and expect to become an octogenarian, but the unusually lucky handful who can tend to stand out precisely because they are alive and talking.
David McRaney, read more here
Remember the TV show where one of the characters got lost in the woods, only to discover he was going around in circles?! Of course you do, because it’s a storyline that’s been overused on TV. You are sure to have seen it play out (probably more than once). As it turns out, that scenario is not far off the mark. When people get lost, they really do tend to walk in circles.
Here’s what German researchers discovered: Volunteers who could not see the sun or moon, often walked for hours in circles, sometimes circles as small as 20 yards across. Some of the participants were so convinced they were walking in a straight line, they didn’t believe the researchers until they were shown proof.
Errors in our internal radar accumulate until we are literally walking in circles and going no where. What made the difference were external signposts. Landmarks like the sun or moon, completely changed the result.
One of the researchers offers this advice: “Don’t trust your senses. You might think you are walking in a straight line when you’re not.”
Isn’t that how life is? We know people who trust their own senses and have no external guideposts to keep their lives on track. They believe they are marching forward but all the while they are going no where in life. Sadly, they repeat the same mistakes, not realizing they’re reacting in the same way to the same kind of situation. On the other, people who really get somewhere in life, not only carefully chose their landmarks, they are willing to listen to their life-anchors.