Tuesday, March 4, 2014



Surely, ADVICE is an integral Part of our life. We give and receive advice almost on a daily Basis. Some advice is great, some trash and some mediocre. But Advising is both an art and science. Let us see the nuances of it in all its shades :

The Supply of “Advice” has always been more than its Demand. It has been so, from times immemorial.

Most Advice is Free.

Most Advice is offered unsought.

Most Advice is given because the Advisor can’t keep off from Advising; not because, the Advised person really seeks it or needs it.

Advising is a compulsive habit for many.

Most advice you receive in your life time is from people who don’t care a dime about you.

Most Advice you receive is from the media – news papers, TV, Radio and some through mail. Evidently, these worthies know nothing about you. But they feel that there are many receivers of their generalized advice who  share the same problems and troubles; and they in the media, have the solutions to these common problems.

The most competent persons have no time to advice – most of the time.

The least competent persons have the most time to advice.

Great Books contain Great Advice.

Great Men and Women’s life provides us Great Examples – which are in fact Great Advice.

Failed people advice others, more than successful people.

Most of the Success Secrets are already out in the open. Most of it is Great Advice in the Open.

Parents and Teachers are usually Good Advisers. Do heed their Advice.

Krishna, Buddha, Christ, Mohammed and other renowned persons were great Advisers relevant to their times and places. Not all of their Advice can be relevant to our times and our Places.

Some advice is time-independent and Place Independent. They are valid today and valid at every place. Some were valid only in the time and place in which the Adviser lived.

The Plain fact is, no man on earth can claim to know everything. That honour is reserved for the Almighty God. Which means, every Adviser, even the best of them, even a prophet, knows something, perhaps lots of things, but not everything.

Lord Krishna was the oldest known expert on Advice. His Bhagavad Gita contains the best ever Advice one can get on many aspects of Life.

Lord Krishna did not advice Arjuna so long as Arjuna was only pouring out his sorrow and his opinions to him.

Only when Arjuna (i) surrendered completely before Lord Krishna (ii) openly declared that he was Lord Krishna’s disciple (iii) openly supplicated that he was totally in Lord Krishna’s hands and (iv) openly and specifically sought Krishna’s advice on what Arjuna must do in the war field – it was then that Lord Krishna started his advice to Arjuna.

From Lord Krishna’s example, we learn the following rules on successful advising ;
(i)                 Never advice until the other person seeks your advice.
(ii)                Never advice until the other person expresses confidence in you and is willing to obey your advice
(iii)               Be very clear on the problem on which the other person needs your advice. And, stick to it.
(iv)              If there are more than one ways of solving the problem, do advice on all the ways you know.
(v)               Tell the other person the Pluses and Minuses of each method. Lord Krishna makes a detailed SWOT analysis of the problem and each of the solutions which he proposes. We cannot find a more detailed treatise on the secrets of successful problem solving.
(vi)              Adviser must give Guidance on the skills needed for implementing each solution. This is a fantastic approach in the Gita. Gita gives analysis of many sciences – which are unknown to the world of modern sciences even today. A knowledge of these sciences in the Gita – (i) can prevent diseases (ii) enhance happiness (iii) enable clear scientific analysis of men based on character, food habits and other criteria and (iv) teaches us the techniques of scientific meditation. There is huge information in the Gita on many ancient sciences, which are extremely Useful  in our modern times.
(vii)             Advice must result in positive action, prevent destructive action or achieve both.
(viii)            Adviser must be willing to help out the advised – in achieving the goal – through constant encouragement and further advice, whenever needed.
(ix)              The adviser and the advised exhibit either transactional nature of relationship or relational nature of relationship, the latter being more long term in nature. Transactional behavior ends with giving the advice and probably receiving a fee for it. There is no further continuity of the advisory relationship. On the other hand, relational behavior – continues until a long term goal is achieved. The adviser and the advised must be clear on what they want - between them. In some cases, transactional behavior is sufficient. But, in other cases, relational behavior is a MUST, for the advice to have any validity.

These are all lessons on the Art and Science of Advising that we get from Lord Krishna’s Gita sermon.

Now let us see some other aspects of this Art - from others :

1.   A fool thinks he needs no advice, but wise man listens to others. -  says the Bible
2.   A good scare is worth more than good advice. – Horace
3.   A pint of example is worth a gallon of advice  -  Anonymous
4.   Give help rather than advice. - Marquis De Vauvenargues
5.   Be yourself is about the worst advice you can give to some people. - Thomas L. Masson
6.   Consult your friend on all things, especially on those which respect yourself. His counsel may then be useful where your own self-love might impair your judgment. – Seneca
7.   He that gives good advice, builds with one hand; he that gives good counsel and example, builds with both; but he that gives good admonition and bad example, builds with one hand and pulls down with the other. - Francis Bacon
8.   I'm not a teacher: only a fellow-traveler of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead -- ahead of myself as well as you. - George Bernard Shaw
9.   If one man says to thee, ''Thou art a donkey,'' pay no heed. If two speak thus, purchase a saddle. - The Talmud
10.               In those days he was wiser than he is now -- he used frequently to take my advice.  -  Winston Churchill
11.               It is easy to give advice from a port of safety. - Johann Friedrich Von Schiller
12.               It is only too easy to make suggestions and later try to escape the consequences of what we say. - Jawaharlal Nehru
13.               It takes a great man to give sound advice tactfully, but a greater man to accept it graciously.  -  J. C. Macaulay
14.               Many receive advice, only the wise profit from it.  -  Publilius Syrus
15.               Never trust the advice of a man in difficulties. – Aesop
16.               Some of these people need ten years of therapy --ten sentences of mine do not equal ten years of therapy. - Jeff Zaslow
17.               The rich are always advising the poor, but the poor seldom return the compliment. -  Sir Arthur Helps
18.               The true secret of giving advice is, after you have honestly given it, to be perfectly indifferent whether it is taken or not, and never persist in trying to set people right.  -  Hannah Whitall Smith
19.               There is as much difference between the counsel that a friend giveth, and that a man giveth himself, as there is between the counsel of a friend and of a flatterer. For there is no such flatterer as is a man's self. - Francis Bacon
20.               They that will not be counseled, cannot be helped. If you do not hear reason she will rap you on the knuckles. -  Benjamin Franklin
21.               When we turn to one another for counsel we reduce the number of our enemies. - Kahlil Gibran
22.               My advice to you is get married: if you find a good wife you'll be happy; if not, you'll become a philosopher. – Socrates
23.               Why should we take advice on sex from the pope? If he knows anything about it, he shouldn't! - George Bernard Shaw
24.               It is a bit embarrassing to have been concerned with the human problem all one's life and find at the end that one has no more to offer by way of advice than 'try to be a little kinder.' - Aldous Huxley
25.               Always and never are two words you should always remember never to use.  -  Wendell Johnson
26.               I always advise people never to give advice.- P.G. Wodehouse
27.               The quality of any advice anybody has to offer has to be judged against the quality of life they actually lead. - Douglas Adams
28.               A leader must have the courage to act against an expert’s advice.- James Callaghan
29.               Too bad that all the people who really know how to run the country are busy driving taxi cabs and cutting hair.- George Burns

There are a few other ancient Laws governing Advice. Like these :-

Be honest; Be also polite and sweet with your words of advice. People like a sugar coated advice rather than a pungent truth as advice. Always praise before advice.

The adviser must be and sound to be the Best well wisher of the person advised – else, the advice is surely wasted.

Know - when to advice, when not to; where to advice and where not to; in front of whom to advice and not to advice; and surely, whom to advice and whom not to.

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