Any time anyone offers you advice, be discriminating. Ask yourself, “If I applied this advice, would it really serve and benefit me?”

If the answer is no, look for what will.

Any time you offer someone advice, be discriminating. Ask yourself: “If they applied this advice, would it really serve and benefit them?”

If the answer is no, look for what will.


Recognise: when people offer you advice there is usually an agenda behind it. This isn’t ‘bad’, necessarily. It is simply that when people say anything to anyone, usually, it isn’t neutral; there is a motive there.

For example, pretty much any advice your parents or teachers dole out, is to get you to behave. Sure, they say that it is for your benefit. But, actually, the main, fundamental reason they want you to behave is because anytime you misbehave they feel a deep sense of discomfort, unease and embarrassment. So, getting you to behave, is, primarily, to alleviate all of that stuff within them that they don’t like.

I live in England. In England, this “be nice and behave properly” business is everywhere. And so, in England, there are a lot of “nice” and “well-behaved” people. The only thing is that these “nice” and “well-behaved people” don’t seem to be having much fun. They don’t really seem to be enjoying themselves. And that is why, come the weekend, they will get completely smashed out of their faces – on alcohol and/or drugs – so they, actually, have some freedom from how mother said they should be.

All of which is completely inauthentic. Not to mention, stultifying, and energy sapping.

Here’s the thing: cut out this moralistic nonsense about what is or isn’t the right way to behave. There is no “right” way to behave. All there is is what works. And, sometimes, breaking the rules is exactly what is necessary. Sometimes misbehaving is actually what is necessary. Well, the American Revolution and the Civil Rights Movement and the end of apartheid in South Africa and communism in the Easter block was a result of men and women behaving very, very badly indeed.

And sometimes sticking to the rules and behaving properly is what works. Sometimes, having consideration for other people, and what they feel or need – beyond what you feel or need – is exactly what is necessary.

This involves the maturity, the wisdom and the awareness to judge everything on its merits. Of course, these aren’t exactly qualities that many in our western civilisation are endowed with.

Hence the quality of advice that is generally given.

And it goes beyond your parents and teachers. After a while you stop listening to your parents and your teachers. Because you know, instinctively, that you are better off taking no notice of them. But then you start listening to your friends – which is just as bad! And, in all probability, even worse.

Your friends will happily offer you their pearls of wisdom. But do they really want to see you flourish and prosper, or do they want to keep you at their level – or below?

Recognise: there is nothing more annoying in life than seeing a friend succeed when you are failing miserably.


To be blunt, there really is some shockingly bad advice out there. How can you tell? Because, all the time, people are making some shockingly bad decisions in life. The advice may not be stated explicitly, it may simply be an example that people follow.

The classic example is the mother or father who drinks, smokes and swears, who expects their children not to do any of that. Yeah, that’s gonna happen …

And on a grander scale, we are told by the government that drugs and weapons are bad for us. And what are two of the biggest industries the government are involved in?

Drugs and weapons.

Hey, Mr Politician, perhaps you need to get rid of your addiction first.

© Phillip A. Klein March 2008

Published in: on March 13, 2008 at 4:28 pm  Leave a Comment