In advising, there are two people involved, the advisor, and the advice seeker. The advising process can again be of two kinds; the solicited and the unsolicited. It is almost an axiom that the unsolicited is far more prevalent than the solicited. That is because advise seekers are rare and advice givers are dime a dozen.

The unsolicited variety of advice can be given to all and sundry and most of it is not heeded. Often the advice receiver may not be even listening to the advisor. It is simply making conversation and a way of indicating that the advice giver cares.

Seeking advice is a difficult process because most of us prefer not to and may even be ashamed to. To overcome that resistance and to seek advice makes it imperative on the adviser’s part to weigh all information carefully and seek for more information if necessary before advising. One needs to avoid falling into to generalising from a particular or vice versa.

For some strange reason, I have become an advisor for a few people on meditation, spirituality and religion; career planning, promotion /pay increase seeking and also on starting up businesses. Now, this is a tricky process because I have to be very careful as a lot is involved for the advice seeker.

I have therefore found it best to be an affirmation giver to the extent possible rather than give original advice. Surprisingly enough, this works very well as the advice seeker usually is just looking for a sounding board and is not really looking for different solutions to her/his problem from what in her/his mind has already been decided as a solution.

And in retrospect, I have found that this is the reason that people come to me for advice. I don’t but simply affirm their own ideas.

How do you like that insight?

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