The Best Advice

The ancient Roman Statesman Marcus Cicero said: “No one can give you wiser advice than yourself.” Perhaps we ought to listen to him.

In today’s world, we constantly seek advice not only from our friends and family but even more so from Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s brainchild Google. Whatever problem we have in our day to day life, from instructional help like how to tie a tie to self-diagnosing our illnesses to dealing with emotional stuff like love and heartbreak, the solution seems just a quick search away. Till a decade or so ago we mostly depended on our friends and family for such advice but now we just say the magic words “Hey Google” or “Hey Siri” and our smart devices light up to render to our wants and desires as if we were Alladin and our devices our personal Genie. In certain cases, the solution our modern day genies provide is really handy but when it comes to our emotions and feelings, or making hard choices depending upon our emotions, morals, and values, perhaps we should listen to Cicero.

Whenever you ask other people for advice whether in person or on online forums, what you get is what they have done in a similar situation or what they would do in a similar hypothetical situation. Their focus most of the time is not what ‘you’ should do but what ‘they’ have done or would do. Yes indeed as humans we derive and learn from each other’s experiences. Others sure can tell you what you should do but they won’t have to deal with the consequences. The onus of action and decision lies entirely upon your shoulders and so do the consequences.

When we seek advice from online articles, they sometimes promise guaranteed results or the perfect advice but since you cannot really foresee your future how can you be certain that that advice might not work for you because of individual differences. And even if you decide to follow up with it, your internal institution and emotions might not be on board with that advice and so it may not really work.

When it comes to matters of the heart and the decisions that affect our future, we should perhaps surely listen to others who have been through the same experiences and even look up to ancient wise men for their words of wisdom, this step can be compared to gathering our resources but when it comes to making the final decision we must introspect and ask ourselves such questions as follows. What we really want? What matters to us? What do we value more in life? Is the action or decision in alignment with our morality?

Only we can answer all these questions and decide what we really want. That’s why taking someone’s advice word for word is not the wisest thing. And in introspecting ourselves, one learns more about oneself and also gains crucial decision-making and leadership skills.

Of course, making a decision is really hard sometimes, when perhaps all the options seem equally good or equally worse. The question then is not what is the lesser evil or the better good but what we really need is a clarity that must come from within. A decision with which your mind, heart, soul, and body all align perfectly.

Sometimes in the future it might happen that you regret your decision but at least you won’t have anyone else to blame for it, and the regret might just be a wondering of the sort ‘what if…’, but you’ll be able to remind yourself that when you made the decision, that is what you decided and your whole mind, heart, soul, and body were in agreement with it and so it can’t really be called a regret.

When a friend comes to us seeking some advice, we don’t pause and search for the solution on Google. On the contrary, we consider ourself of enough authority and try our best to give them the advice that they should follow. Even if it is just what we would do in the same situation. So why can’t we just do ourself a favour and when we need advice just turn inward, introspect a little and take our own advice.

As a final note, I would just like to say – You can’t google everything; sometimes you gotta introspect.


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