Friday, April 23, 2010

Word to the Wise

I like to think people have our best interest at heart when offering unsolicited advice, but deep down, I don’t really believe that they do. I encourage each of us to take a buyer beware approach before accepting and acting upon something we didn’t ask for in the first place. You see, some offer ‘helpful hints’ merely as an excuse to intimidate us. Some do it perhaps because they feel threatened that we may, in fact, hold a bit more power than they do and are attempting to undermine that power. Some do it because they truly feel they are more intelligent and enlightened than everyone else on the planet. Some merely do it for kicks and giggles. In the end, though, they really are nothing more than an annoyance, one we must rise above and completely ignore.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m big on seeking advice. I’ve surrounded myself with an incredible team of ‘advisors’ whom I bother every day. These are people I trust, of whose opinion I hold in high regard. They live well, laugh often, and don’t sweat the small stuff. These are the people who truly have it together – why on earth would I ask the advice of someone who doesn’t?

There are certain instances in which we must provide much-needed help. Discreetly let your friend know she has lipstick on her teeth. Quietly make her aware that she has toilet paper stuck on the bottom of her shoe. Gently yet quickly walk her to the car if she’s had too much to drink. If someone offers you a mint, please know it’s her kind way of letting you know that your breath is less-than-minty-fresh.

So whose ‘word to the wise’ must we remain wary?

The mom who walks into the classroom and says to the teacher, “You know what you should do?”

The alleged friend who tells a woman, “That dress looks horrible on you,” knowing full well the dress isn’t bad at all. In fact, the dress is a knock-out, as is the woman wearing it.

The manager who delegates most of his work, then explains to those he’s delegated it to just where they went wrong.

The blogger who adopts the ‘I’m a little bit smarter than you, dear reader’ attitude, in spite of his deplorable grammar and stilted writing technique.

The armchair quarter-back. This is the guy who merely sits there, munching Doritos, and tells you where you’ve gone wrong while you’re trying to accomplish something more substantial in life than sitting in a chair and munching Doritos.

So, how do we rise above it all? Confidence, my friends – that’s the key to it all. It’s coming to terms with who we really are and what we want out of life. It’s establishing a clear vision for ourselves and remaining true to that vision. It’s getting over our ‘people-pleasing’ mentality, and realizing that we’ll never please everyone. We don’t have to. As long as we’re happy, and as long as we’ve got support from those who really matter, we’re going to be just fine.