I don’t need your advice. You may not know this, but I’m smart, educated, experienced, and I learn by doing stuff the my way. So, thanks… but no thank you.
I suspect we’ve all had an internal monologue like this a time or two. It has probably been less frequent as I have aged. However, there have been times in life when I received advice (likely unsolicited), and I abruptly snubbed it. I even made it clear I was doing so.
Sadly, my actions meant that I also forfeited an opportunity to improve myself or prevent suffrage.
Even today, though, I sometimes find myself at odds with others because, gosh darn it, I am really feeling like their trying to make me feel inferior!
Trashing the Advice of Others
I once found myself considering this dynamic upon observing a random sticky note. This simple note stated “A Word of Advice” and was stuck to the top of a waste basket liner. It metaphorically represented a repository for depositing all the words of advice that had ever been offered and quickly disregarded.
One such instance I recall was when I first started my post-college career. Armed with an expensive degree and a lot of practice, nobody, but nobody, would tell me how to write. That was my assertion, at least. I took offense and quickly defended any suggested edit.
Smuggly, corrected people suggesting “affect” rather than “effect” because I knew the “right” context. Anger ensued if people didn’t know the difference between “to” or “too” or “two.” And don’t get me started on “there” or “their” or “they’re.”
You Don’t Know Nuthin’
But guess what. The best advice I ever gained is the simple adage; “the smartest person in the room is the one who knows they are not.”
Yeah. Turns out, I don’t know everything about anything
At the time, my tendency/need to always be right transcended to website development and support, where I was deeply rooted for the first several years of my career. Because I was “so smart and ahead of the technology curve” I would loathe when someone emailed me suggesting improvements websites.
Often, when people blindly fed me their suggestions, I knew a sales pitch would likely follow. In one such instance, it was with regard to site security. My response was polite (but very “smart”) as I informed this person that we had a very secure environment and that there was no need to explore further.
Remember, my goal was to curb a sales pitch. But my response was without merit or even a true understanding of what I was stating. His response was quite astute and pretty much dead on.
“Your words ring of the hubris of a younger man.”
Not only was he right, but he forced me to look up the word “hubris.” I’d like to say I fixed that nature immediately, but I didn’t. It took a long time to sink in and I still fall well short of my desired reactions to other people’s advice, whether it is solicited on not.
But the bottom line is this:
Proverbs 15:12 (NIV) reminds us that,
“Mockers resent correction, so they avoid the wise.”
Mockers who trash words of Godly advice, are jesting at religion and godliness. Their tongues treat the Gospel with contempt. Sadly, they never develop genuine wisdom of their own, trapped in their own hubris.
Parallel that with Amos 5:10, which says,
“How you hate honest judges! How you despise people who tell the truth!”
Don’t Avoid Advice of the Wise
The next time someone offers you advice, pause and consider your response. Before you scoff or mock them, thank them.