“No one wants advice — only corroboration.”
My friend Heather Havrilesky (author of What If This Were Enough?) is also quoted in the piece. I DMed her after we were interviewed that I don’t know how to convince people that “I’m actually an extremely unhelpful person in real life which is why I write the books.”
The more I become known as someone who gives advice, the more skeptical I become of the whole act of advice-giving, the more reluctant I am to dish it out. (I believe strongly that anyone who aspires to be a professional advice-giver should be prescribed a copy of Nathanael West’s Miss Lonelyhearts.)
This feeling is further exacerbated by my experiences as a father, in which any advice or teaching I offer is routinely dismissed immediately or backfires in some other fashion. (See: “You are fine without advice or suggestions.”)
The best I can do is be a teacher while remaining a student.
From the article:
“My M.O. is to share things that I’ve learned along the way in the spirit of, ‘This worked for me, maybe it’ll work for you, too.’”
The only thing I’ve really learned about being directly asked for advice:
Be clear on the advice-seeker’s goals. When people approach Austin Kleon, author of “Steal Like an Artist,” for advice, he drills down and identifies the exact problem: “What do you want to know specifically that I can help you with?” This way, he won’t overwhelm the person with irrelevant information.
Finally, it’s impossible for me to type the word “advice” and not hear Arnold Schwarzenegger in Pumping Iron: “He comes to me for advices. So it’s not that hard for me to give him… the wrong advices.”
It’s impossible for me to even hear the word “advice” without thinking about @Schwarzenegger in PUMPING IRON: “He comes to me for advices. So it’s not that hard for me to give him… the wrong advices.” pic.twitter.com/Ws9yFmdNNV
— Austin Kleon (@austinkleon) October 21, 2019