Old Advice is Good Advice

There is an old saying that I think many young people these days have never heard.

Misery loves company. 

When each one of my kids graduated I gave them all the same tip to help them on their way: Never take advice from someone who is not in the position you want to be in that particular arena.

What does this mean? Well, let me give you a few examples. First, if a person is constantly in and out of relationships; never happy in them, then you would not want to get advise from that person about love.

Or, let’s say a person struggles with money his or her whole life, then they are the last ones you should consult for financial advice.

The problem is that often, these people who’ve not mastered the trouble areas of their life still love to give advice. This is where the misery loves company comes in. I don’t think that they intentionally want you to fail. It’s just that if you succeed while not following their path this would mean they’re wrong.

As parents we like to think that we have always made the best decisions. News flash: none of us is perfect. The hardest thing to admit is where we have failed. When someone young comes up to you with their problems it is so easy for us to offer our words of wisdom. Most people — including me — will not stop to think if they should be giving the advice in the first place.

This is why I put the responsibility on the person asking the questions. Now, does that mean that those people I mentioned in my examples don’t have valuable advice to give? No. It’s just that the advice needs to be on the right subject. Everyone has something to help you on your way. You just have to step back and take a look at the person whose advice you’re seeking. Is your goal to be as happy as those people in that particular area? If so, then the advice will probably work for you. As an aside, if this person sounds angry just giving the advice, then stay clear.

There are many people out there who will tell you that you don’t stand a chance; that nothing you do will matter because of things out of your control. This is the worst advice ever. I hear this a lot from people who have not made the best decisions in life and now are living with those consequences. There is tremendous opportunity out there for those who are willing to work for it. Improve yourself as much as you can. Work with people, not against them. If your boss has you mopping a floor, do the best job possible, because your boss will never give you more responsibility if you can’t take pride in the simple assignments.

This is your life. Don’t let people bring you down to the bottom. This brings me to another old saying: If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging

Dan Adams
Dan Adams has been a licensed plumbing contractor for nearly 30 years. He owns and operates Edgewood Plumbing  in Redding with his wife, Holly. In 2000 he and Holly moved to Redding from the Bay Area in search of a better place to raise their sons.
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4 Responses

  1. Adrienne Jacoby Adrienne Jacoby says:

    There is a very good reason all those old saws are still around!! Because they are true . . . . and we all, both giver and receiver, need to be reminded from time to time. Thanks . . .

  2. What great advice to your kids. Here’s the flip side: Some people serve as great examples of what NOT to do.

    Thank you, Dan, as always, for your deep thoughts and life observations.

  3. Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

    This is something I’ve been talking to my son about. There are plenty of “Negative Nellies” out there who will drag you down.

    But then, I’m with Doni: you CAN learn from the a**holes, even if it’s nothing but how to avoid being an a**hole.