Stop Giving Advice

This seems like the absolute perfect time to stop making a mistake I keep making. Your nascence is what makes the timing so right (welcome to the world, btw) because it is expected that the youthful need advice. And it’s the entire advice-giving enterprise where I continue to err.

Quite quickly you will begin to explore the world. Exploration will bring you much joy; it will also bring questions. In need of answers, you may well turn to adults, and, perhaps, you may turn to me at some point. I would be honored by an inquiry. Glowing from the request – Me?!? I can’t believe xxxxxxxxx thinks so highly of me – I’ll be tempted to answer with facts, figures, wisdom, and anything else that counts as “advice.” After all, I’m the adult here, the man with all this knowledge, and the least I can do is share with you. This logic feels right. It will even feel right to you. I asked for advice, so give it to me. No longer will I oblige.

I’ve come to believe that almost nobody ever wants advice, at least not specifically. People may well ask questions that sound like requests for advice, but the true desire is to be understood (a little more difficult to request). If this reality is not appreciated, no “advice” will ever really resonate and will surely soon be forgotten. Furthermore, the advice-givers, who puff out their chests with a deep sense of nobility upon instantly responding, completely miss an opportunity to learn. That’s right. Age is too often the vector on which we decide who does the educating and who gets educated. And sure, there are things I know that you don’t. But the reverse must be true too because you, and only you, get to see the world as you see it.

Your perspective is something I’d like to hear, even, nay especially, when the exchange is expected to be one-way. Maybe, though, the thought of ever even considering asking me for advice strikes you as stupid. Yo, I got two dope parents. I don’t need your help. Fair. Fair. In that case, I still want to hear how you think about this crazy, beautiful world. Maybe, though, the thought of sharing your inner dialogue with me strikes you, again, as stupid. Fine. Fine. In that case, I ask that you read Sum and tell me what you think of Mr. Eagleman’s mind. After all, I’ve come to believe that one of the best ways of understanding another is understanding how another dissects art.

Anyway, however it happens, I look forwarding to learning about you from you.