The Advice Paradox – 200 words project


Here is this week’s 200 words project:


“The ultimate question of any advice, rules, or traditions is, What do you ignore and why? No one can ever follow it all. This is the advice paradox: no matter how much advice you have, you must still decide intuitively what to use and what to avoid. Even if you seek meta-advice, advice on which advice to take, the paradox still applies as you make the same choice about that advice too.

Scott Berkun in The Year Without Pants: WordPress.com and the Future of Work

This is a very important issue in this information age. We have so many ways to improve ourselves, so many suggestions on what to do. But we cannot possibly try it all, be it all, do it all. So what do we do?

We use our intuition to decide what to do and what not to do. But how do we build an intuition or hone what we already have?

A part of it is just experiences. A part of it is knowing ourselves. Another part of it is realizing the difference between what we really are (i.e. really, really knowing ourselves), and what we wish we are (and pretend to be to the wide world).

Then, a couple of habits appear to more crucial than the rest.

One of them is mindfulness – the skill of knowing where our mind is, at this very moment and in the process learning who we really are. A side-effect of this mindfulness is really seeing around us and listening to people around – not just going through the motions completely lost in our head, in our thoughts.

Another important habit is reading books and long articles. When most of the time, we interact with fewer real people and more online persona and these interactions happen in short bursts, reading books gives us a chance to understand other people, what they think and in the process learn about how we ourselves are changing and have changed.

And these two habits automatically help us expand our experiences – seeking those sights and sounds and thoughts and feelings, and beings which take us to our personal edges and help us grow.


About the 200 Words Project

Once every week, on Monday morning, I will post my ‘200 Words Project’ post where I will ruminate on some idea which caught my interest in the current book I’m reading, or maybe (sometimes) from a blog post or podcast – in 200 words or more, never less!

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