…today’s secret…Unsolicited advice.
The people you are helping have a belief system about how the world works.
Their belief system is the lens through which they see and feel the world around them. It doesn’t change the facts, just how they interpret them.
The stories they gravitate to are ones that make sense to them, feel true, and resonate with the trajectory of their lives.
Why? Because we are all wired to look for stories that doesn’t change our minds, but confirms what’s in our minds. This is our ‘confirmation bias.’ We all have it, including the people you are trying to help.
The people you are helping may have made a decision that has a negative or unintended consequence.
Be careful of your advice here because they can become embarrassed, sensitive, angry, or defiant. Their ‘confirmation bias’ will want to tell them they weren’t the one wrong, everybody else was!
The people you are helping may have made an incorrect assumption about a situation.
Be careful of your advice here because it is easy to think they would see what you see if you could just explain it carefully. This is false more than true. Their ‘confirmation bias’ will want to tell them they weren’t misled and certainly not by the caring person from whom they received the original information. How dare you attack them.
The people you are helping may be looking at a situation from an unproductive angle.
Be careful of your advice here because you may be challenging their belief system. Their ‘confirmation bias’ will want to tell them that maybe you are telling them their whole life was built on a mistake till now.
Just because you and your organization have decided to intervene into the lives of the less fortunate to help them become more fortunate…doesn’t mean you have a license to give them unsolicited advice.
My unsolicited advice to you is to not offer unsolicited advice. Many people wouldn’t do what they advise if they were the ones being confronted with the situation. Unsolicited advice is the junk mail of life.
And, my unsolicited advice to you is to be very careful when asked for advice. You are going up against the person’s ‘confirmation bias’ and your relationship with them could be significantly altered by what you are about to say.
So, how do I rationalize giving you unsolicited advice about unsolicited advice?
My rationalization is that advice that’s given to large numbers of people doesn’t carry the impact as advice given one-on-one. I think you know this.
Plus, a day is not a good one until you find one good rationalization to help you get through it! Right?