Day 5 Blog Challenge – Advice

Day 5 Blog Challenge – Advice

“You know how advice is.
You only want it if it agrees with what you wanted to do anyway.”

John Steinbeck.

My Advice? Take It Or Leave It!

  • Why do we seek advice
  • Who do we seek it from
  • And how likely are we to follow the advice given

When we ask for advice are we more likely to take it, or leave it?

This isn’t a researched-based article on the subject of advice – just the opinion of someone who has both offered and taken their share of advice over many decades.

Staring at the moon on a sleepless night …

My theory is that we seek advice when we face a dilemma of some sort: nothing more profound than that. While mulling over the options for solving the problem  – an activity usually undertaken in those early, sleep deprived hours before dawn – we often narrow the options down to just two possible solutions.

Facing Two Solutions

I used to watch a Game Show on TV called ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionnaire’. The competitor, chasing a large amount of money by successfully answering increasingly difficult questions, had the option of phoning a friend for advice once they had narrowed the challenge down to two possible answers. With the potential of taking home a million dollars, they were not going to phone just any friend; they would be very selective about whose number they dialled. Firstly, they would want to be reasonably sure the friend would pick up the phone, and secondly, they would want to be sure the friend was some sort of authority on the question being asked.

The same philosophy applies to seeking advice on any significant question. Trying to solve problems on our own can be a lonely and debilitating exercise, so it makes sense to find someone who will provide the support we need. The segment in the TV show was called ‘Phone A Friend’. And that’s what we usually do when we are forced to make a difficult decision outside of the game-show TV world (read – Real World!).

So What Is Real?

If we made a list of our personal characteristics and values and compared them to those of our friends, we would probably see more similarities than differences. So it would be a reasonably safe bet that we would turn to at least one of our friends for advice. Just like in the TV show, we’d be using availability and depth of knowledge on the subject as criteria for selection of which friend to call.

Problem Solved

So you make the call and your friend answers. You outline the problem, describe the possible solutions and wait anxiously for your friend’s response. After some probing questions for clarification and a few moments silence for pondering the points, your friend delivers the verdict. You listen, take in the advice, and thank your friend for their time and consideration.

Later, alone with your thoughts, you smile contentedly. The decision is made and you feel that a huge weight has been lifted from your shoulders. Your forward direction is signed, sealed and soon-to-be delivered. The world is a better place and your sleepless nights are a thing of the past.


Did you take the advice of your friend or take the other option?

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Posted by Maureen in Blogging, 0 comments

On A Train To Ballarat

Long Overdue Reunion With Best Friend

Waiting for the train to Ballarat

Taking a train to Ballarat in regional Victoria gave me time for some quiet reflection on the events of the last few days. One day I was thinking about unpacking from my recent trip to New Zealand; the next day I was in Melbourne, on a train that was taking me about an hour and a half out of the city to see my best friend.

We met in our first year of high school, and have been best friends ever since. We’ve managed to keep in touch over the decades, despite our lives having taken different directions as we each pursued our dreams. And now, despite the vast geographical distance between us, we are still as close as we ever were.

I knew that over the next twenty four hours – all the time that we had to indulge our memories – the old and the new would flow; memories merging with the tales of new trails blazed. While walking to Southern Cross Station I spotted an old building, still beautifully preserved, but surrounded by new construction. It reminded me of the journey of our friendship.

The Old And The New

The memories of old are the central focus amid the construction of the new.

The new lives we have carved out are built on the strength of the foundation of the early days. Our teenage years were filled with the usual events – a weekend train trip to a distant destination; falling in and out of love; and both of us marrying at a young age – my marriage to a member of the Australian Air Force, and hers ‘to’ the Royal Australian Air Force. She decided that if I was going to be travelling around the country on postings, she was coming too; sadly, we were never on the same base. And neither marriage stood the test of time.

My dream to become a teacher eventuated, and in true kindred spirit, my best friend followed. At least this time we both landed jobs in the same school. For the best part of two years we were inseparable. We taught together, we planned together, we laughed together, and we consoled each other through the rough patches, and believe me, there were some rough patches.

Miraculously, both of us came out the other side, relatively unscathed but in search of bigger and better dreams. Dreams that were vastly different and led us to places that were further away from the little town we grew up in. My dreams took me around the world; hers took her to Victoria. She was always the more grounded one of us.

Best Friends Forever!

I can’t say that our different lives haven’t changed us, because they have; after all, it’s our life experiences that mould us into who we are. But the essence of our beings, the very core of who we are, is heavily impacted by the experiences of our formative years. They are the solid foundation from which the new becomes possible. The memories will be the old, surrounded by the new that our different lives have created.

That is how it is with us, and that is how it should be.

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Posted by Maureen in Blogging, 0 comments