George Burns, the popular cigar-smoking comedian of the WWII and Baby Boomer generations (yeah, I know, I’m dating myself), had this to say about advice:
Too bad that all the people who really know how to run the country are busy driving taxi cabs and cutting hair.
He’s right. Sit in any barbershop on a busy Saturday morning and you’ll learn how to fix the government, which coach ought to be fired and which quarterback ought to be starting. You will also learn which is better, Chevrolets or Fords, and where to go for the best fried chicken (The Chicken House, New Albany, IN). Preachers can learn how to improve their sermons (shorter is better) and you’ll hear spirited debate about the virtues of John Deere (for real farmers) versus those “foreign” brands (for hobby farmers). Generally speaking, the barbershop mantra is: “If I want your advice, I’ll give it to you.”
Eugene Peterson, paraphrasing Proverbs 15:22, says, “Refuse good advice and watch your plans fail; take good counsel and watch them succeed.” The problem? It’s easy to get advice; not so easy to get good advice.
There are times, lots of times, when we all need advice. We are facing a hurdle or an opportunity, and we aren’t quite sure what to do. We may have an idea and need confirmation, or we may have no idea at all. In either case, someone asks us, “Have you talked to ____________?”
An overall principle for seeking counsel is the old adage, consider the source. Here are some questions about the source that I ask:
A few concluding thoughts:
(This post taken from chapter 3 of 16 Stones. If interesting and useful, please forward it to a friend.)
© Copyright 2020 by Dick Wells, The Hard Lessons Company
"The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply in the present."
Kouzes & Posner
I thank you for these, and for your book. They have guided me through challenging times in my career and personal life. I appreciate that you share your wisdom for other pilgrims coming behind you on the old, old road.