Early this morning, I began a post about writers. All the different types of writers, and all the different types of writing those writers do. It was a post about seeking and receiving advice and the cautions required because no great advice is one-size-fits-all.
I wrote about nine pages and hadn’t yet completed my case for my position. I’m chuckling here because I had to write to my position to discover it. (Funny how writers do that, isn’t it? Write to positions, solutions, ideas.)
Anyway, I decided that was ridiculous. What I needed was a succinct post that cut through the clutter, so here it is:
Advice is good or bad depending on the advice and how it is viewed. If you look at it through your personal prism and the result is constructive, then it’s good advice. If viewed through your personal prism and the outcome isn’t constructive, then it’s bad advice—for you—at this time.
That’s the thing. Change is constant. So advice given today might be lousy for you, but later, it could be terrific. Or good advice today could be lousy for you a week, month or year from now.
Bluntly put, advice is like opinions. Everybody has one. And pretty much everybody is willing to share it. The art of advice comes not in the giving but in the receiving.
When you receive advice, if you view it in general terms, it’s apt to be far less valuable to you personally than if you view it specifically as it applies to you, your work, your career, your current situation, and your current circumstance. There are a lot of shades of gray in that prism, and they need to be your shades of gray.
The bottom line is we should seek wise counselors. We don’t all have to step in the same mud puddles to know that if we step in, mud will squish between our toes. But once we’re given wise counsel, then we must determine whether or not we want or need that mud. That’s a singular decision, one specific to each of us.
There is no great one-size-fits-all advice that extends beyond reason and common sense. We write. We write for different reasons, with different expectations, motivations and goals and purposes. We are guided by different standards, principles, and we each have our own list of must-dos and must-never-dos–don’t want to dos are in there, too.
What one-size-fits-all advice can be best for any of us knowing that?
It can’t. And the reason why not is simple.
There is no great one-size-fits-all advice because there is no one-size-fits-all writer.
© 2012, Vicki Hinze