Characteristics of great advice

Great advice typically has 3 characteristics –

1. It begins by exploring questions that are deeper than the question asked. If, for example, the question asked is “what advice would you have for me to be successful here?,” the deeper question is “how will you measure success?” The first step, as a result, is to take a step back. If you don’t find a deeper question, that’s okay. The key is just to be willing to dig deeper.

2. Next, the principles/governing assumptions are called out. Continuing the thread on advice to be successful, the principles could be self-awareness (understand yourself), intention (figure out what you want) and a learning mindset (keep focused on the journey and getting better). Getting to principles or governing assumptions requires a bit of thought.

3. Finally, it deals with tactics. For a long time, I scorned tactics as I felt they hurt more than they helped. Most bad advice tends to just be a list of tactics. If the principles are stated, then we ought to be able to figure out the tactics ourselves – or so I thought.
I’ve come to realize that tactics often serve a different purpose – by boiling difficult things down to a set of concrete ideas, they help inspire those listening to take the all important first step. It is an important component of great advice.

That’s my advice on the matter in any case. :-)

Thanks to source for the image

6 thoughts on “Characteristics of great advice”

  1. Great post Rohan!

    I’ve asked some really incredible people for advice, and sometimes been disappointed. I see now it’s usually because they missed step number 1 and didn’t totally understand the question before they started lecturing.

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