Why people ask for advice and not take it

In life, people are continually growing; as a result, change is inevitable. These changes bring new challenges that, at times, are hard to hand single-handedly. People seek advice or a different opinion from their friends, relatives or professionals on issues that are tricky for them. The so-fetched information in most cases turns to be helpful and helps avoid being in unfavorable circumstances. However, there are certain times when the advice sought is misleading and worsens conditions. When it comes to making decisions, research has shown that there are two categories of people. The first group is made up of internal decision-makers who analyze every alternative, step, and possible result all by themselves without talking through with a soul. This implies that this category of individuals does not care about other people’s opinions. 

The second group is that of an external decision-maker. It comprises of persons who continuously look for the ideas or approval of others. Such people can be regarded as team players since they always want to indulge in their activities and for them moving forward without validation from others is almost impossible. In this group of decision-makers, some will always seek other people’s advice or opinions but do the absolute opposite.

A person that asks for advice or opinion but never applies it is called an ask hole. At times, this person just seeks information by asking a question to pass the time. When they are provided with an appropriate answer, they zone out and end up jumping to their own thing. Some ask holes will ask the advice of multiple diverse people so that in the long run, they get the answer that best suits what they expected to hear Garvin and Margolis). Understanding the behavior of asking holes is not easy, considering they are the ones who mostly come seeking advice. 

Ask holes might not do as they are told because they think to have already gotten the correct answer. As people decide on whether they need help, they usually have a hard time evaluating their proficiency, and they put excess faith in their instinct. In the end, they are overconfident and tend to cling to solo conclusions that are based on prior assumptions and knowledge. Such an individual will only come to ask for a different point of view with the hope that they will be told what they think is right. But if they are given a contrary option which might be better off than their prior decision, they still ignore it. So long as an individual is full of himself or herself and believes to be right, they will never consider what others have to say. The only way for an ask hole that considers being right to change his or her mind is if they get adverse outcomes. Otherwise, there is no other way of convincing them to believe what they are being told.

There are cases where the advice we get is not appealing to us. One may be inquiring the opinion from a person, and once they let it out you find that you do not like what you are hearing. In a situation like this one will tend to do the complete opposite of what he or she is told. Take for instance, a cigarette addict that has been having a persistent cough. A doctor would recommend such a patient to quit smoking entirely if they want a cough to go away for good (Coulter 185). However, the smoker may find this to be a difficult thing to cope with and instead just continue with their smoking habit anyway. 

Another similar example is that of a person that wants to lose weight, but despite being told to avoid taking junky foodstuff, they still go on consuming the food. But in some cases, it is understandable that once a person has gotten used to a particular habit, quitting might be hard. But this does not imply that there is nothing to be done. For instance, if a smoking addict wants to follow the doctor’s advice, he will start by reducing the packets of cigarettes he consumes per day. Slowly he will find that he has ceased smoking. Unfortunately, most people fail to do this because they do not want to let go of the fan they have smoking. Therefore, these people will be frequent visitors of clinics, and their advice falls on deaf ears.

In as much as the internet has brought cognitive changes in our daily lives, it has made people arrogant and full of themselves. Internet users think they know more in some disciplines to ignore what experienced experts tell them in the subject (Brooks et al. 1426). Although the internet is a reliable source of information listening to what a professional has to say is still the best option. For instance, some young mothers have read medical articles on baby care online, and they tend to see taking their infants for check up on a regular basis to be time wastage. The online materials on children’s health might be helpful, but adhering to the pediatrician’s advice of regularly bringing the child in for a checkup is still crucial. It might be possible that in the event of thinking you know too much, you fail to be keen enough to note where something is not going well as it is supposed. But by listening and following what an expert says, such inconvenient happenings are avoided.

The worse thing a person can do in almost everything in life is give up. Once a person has given up, he or she does not care anymore about what will happen or might happen (Hütter and Ache 411). Giving advice to such people or sharing an opinion with them, in as much as it might be beneficial for them, it will all be a waste of time since they will not honor it. If a lady does not value her health, all that a medical practitioner orders her to do will fall on deaf ears. In her state, her mentality is that she has nothing to lose if she ignores all that she is told. Human beings will always make time for what they value. Therefore when a person fails to take proper advice but instead just does nothing, it is more likely that he or she does not see the importance of that matter.

Not everyone likes surprises. There are those who are comfortable with the same routine over and over again. Such people fear trying something new, and as a result, they might seek advice or different opinion from friends but still do what they have been doing before (Lee and Dry 1088). People will avoid trying what they are advised to do because they are not sure of their outcomes. For instance, you might find that a company’s management is always listening to the new ideas on how to market that its sales representative has, but still, the company never implements them. In this case, the company’s leadership is afraid of incurring losses if they decide to change their marketing strategy. This may be viewed as fear of success, in that people want their standard methodologies to be more productive without making adjustments. Unfortunately, change will never be attained if new opinions are not implemented. To encourage growth or open doors for success, new ideas sought should be incorporated.

At times people do not do as advised because they are living in denial. Denial impedes one’s ability to act reasonably. Denying what might be right just because the truth is unbearable makes other people’s opinions useless. For instance, if a teenager is in love despite friends telling her that the alleged lover is cheating and should keep off, the girl will still be intimate with the player. She might think that her friends do not wish well for her. Such a girl might be coming to her friends with complaints of how her boyfriend has been ignoring her and doing hurting stuff to her. The friends might give her the best advice to leave the partner since it seems he is not entirely committed to the relationship. But if the girl is still in denial of the truth and thinks the boyfriend loves her, she will stay in that relationship and continue grieving. Denial makes victims blind to reality.

There are those whose luck is not by their side, and each time they try taking advice from people, the result ends up being detrimental. Because of frequent disappointments, a person might become dead to new opinions. An individual might be listening to help but never dare do as told because they fear being misled again. Therefore having numerous encounters with bad advisors impacts how one acts upon others’ opinions or advice. Certain friends do not wish you well; for them, when you seek their point of view on crucial matters, they intentionally put a lousy wording. The effect of this is that it develops a phobia among victims who now become like a rock to whatever advice is given to them, whether good or bad.

Another factor that will determine whether advice or opinion will be heard and followed is the manner in which it is presented. Communication skills are essential because changing a person’s mind is not that easy (Ravazzolo and Røisland 3). For instance, if an advisor is confident and bold as they talk, the advice will likely be taken with more weight. However, if the individual giving an opinion speaks in a manner that suggests they doubt the idea, then most probably, the whole conversation will just be useless. Take the example of an alleged criminal hiring a lawyer to advise him on the course of action to take regarding a case in court. If the lawyer seems not to be well aware of the legal channels the alleged convict can use to prove their innocence, they will have no option but to do contrary to what they are advised and trust their instincts.

Power and authority also determine how advice is taken (See, et al. 273). Dominant persons in society tend to apply less information from people. Perhaps it is because they tend to feel more superior and experienced. Moreover, influential persons are less dependent on others and are more open to acting autonomously. When it comes to making decisions, supremacy makes people perceive that they need less involvement in other people’s opinions. Also, wealth has the same effect on people. The rich are more likely not to take advice unless it is from their trusted and long known friends. Even with these close friends, wealthy individual faces a hard time trying to incorporate the opinion or advice they are given. 

The world is changing, and conditions are becoming harsh by day. Therefore, we cannot blame it on people for not always taking the advice given to them. Most of the information out there is usually misleading and is meant to benefit the selfish desires of the advisor. People have to be extra cautious with who they share things with. Not everyone that smiles or acts friendly is good at heart, some people are just hypocrites and will pretend to be concerned, but in the real sense, they intend to destroy you. However, this is not to say that people should not listen to advise. Excellent advisors still exist and should be listened to.

Works Cited

Brooks, Alison W., et al. “Smart People Ask for (My) Advice: Seeking Advice Boosts Perceptions of Competence.” Management Science, vol. 61, no. 6, 2015, pp. 1421-1435.

Coulter, Angela. “Whatever happened to shared decision-making?” Health Expectations, vol. 5, no. 3, 2002, pp. 185-186.

Garvin, David A., and Joshua D. Margolis. “The Art of Giving and Receiving Advice.” Harvard Business Review, 1 Jan. 2015, hbr.org/2015/01/the-art-of-giving-and-receiving-advice. Accessed 5 Dec. 2017.

Hütter, Mandy, and Fabian Ache. “Seeking advice: A sampling approach to advice taking.” Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 11, no. 4, 4 July 2016, p. 401–415.

Lee, Michael D., and Matthew J. Dry. “Decision Making and Confidence Given Uncertain Advice.” Cognitive Science, vol. 30, no. 6, 2006, pp. 1081-1095.

Ravazzolo, Francesco, and Øistein Røisland. “Why Do People Give Less Weight to Advice the Further it is from Their Initial Opinion?” SSRN Electronic Journal, 2010.

See, Kelly E., et al. “The detrimental effects of power on confidence, advice taking, and accuracy.” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, vol. 116, no. 2, 2011, pp. 272-285.