How Do You React To Advice?

Despite our best intentions, even the most confident of people can be brought down by others well intended advice (or criticism), but there are ways to help you react to advice.

No matter how long you have been doing something, no matter how well you are doing it. It is likely that at some stage, someone will offer advice, criticism or feedback on how it has been done or how you are doing it. How you react to advice can have a huge impact on your personal positivity.

Now I am not talking about Health and Safety matters here. If someone tells you that you are using incorrect equipment, standing on a ladder wrong or anything that could be an issue of safety to you, them or others. I urge you to listen, take on board what has been said, undertake relevant risk assessments and adjust accordingly.

What I am referring to is things that are affecting your positivity about what you are doing, your confidence in how you do it, your ability to perform the ‘task’ in the way that you feel is best.

Throughout your life you will remember time a that others have highlighted ways that you can do something. Sometimes this helps the penny drop and make life a whole lot easier. But other times, this advice may appear as criticism and will have brought out a negative reaction. It can uncomfortable, upsetting, annoying or infuriating.

Regardless, there are ways you can react to advice. Ways that ensure you remain positive, confident and able to undertake the task in hand. Additionally maintain a great relationship with the advice ‘giver’ whether you chose to take on their advice or not.

How not to react to advice:
1. Be Defensive
Has anyone ever said to you ‘oh don’t go on the defensive’ after you have reacted to their comments? You may be fully entitled to, they may have said something completely out of line or inappropriate. But how does that make you feel. Ignore their insensitivity and concentrate on how your defensive reaction has made you feel. Feeling, acting or speaking defensively is a natural reaction but it may not be the best reaction. You have an opportunity to take control here, take responsibility for your own actions and respond. The advice giver will see that you have listened and you will feel confident and powerful that you have either taken away some thing from the advice or you haven’t acted defensively.

2. Over Apologise
Following receiving advice, an apology may be necessary, polite and required. However sometimes the complete opposite. It may not be necessary at all and may introduce a feeling of resentment that you have apologised for something you either have not done, was not your fault or simply did not know. If an apology is required as a result of making a mistake, reasonable misjudgement or misunderstanding; a single apology (that is truly sincere) is perfectly adequate. However, if an apology is not required, ultimately, saying sorry for something you are not culpable for can raise feelings of resentment and negativity. I suggest on occasions such as these, you take the opportunity to explain what happened and how things will happen in the future based on the ‘advice’. Remember, this is based on the person offering advice rather than a ‘telling off’ so they have not come to discipline you.

3. Be Impulsive
Now is the time to stop and think. You have been given advice, potentially demonstrating they have disliked how you do something, have done something or where planning to do something. Your emotions will be peaking. They could be positive emotions as you have had the help to achieve something better or quicker. Or they may be negative. You may feel frustrated, annoyed or singled out. So now is not the time to react to advice and respond impulsively. It’s time for some space, in both time and presence. Take yourself away from the scenario, compose and consider your response. This might be 30 seconds, 30 minutes or a day, I’ll let you manage this accordingly. When you come back, your composure will show and you will feel much more positive about your response.

4. Neglect Clarity
It’s easy to get defensive, apologise (or not) or be impulsive before you have clarity on the situation. Ensure you establish WHY this person is giving you advice. Lack of understanding is a key reason people feel negative in situations, whereas the more you understand, the more you will feel confident, in control and happy….lots of wonderful positive feelings. Gain clarity but asking questions, discuss and have a friendly debate. Recognise where the other person is coming from and respond the responses.

5. Dwell
The longer something is bothering you, the harder it is to shake the negative feeling. Much like a habit…..
“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.” – Warren Buffett
Don’t let this advice burden you. Sometimes it is ok to have a Blue Day but not a blue life.

How you react to advice can affect more than just a single situation, your day or week. It can result in a lack of positivity that you are entitled to have in your life, each and every day!

It is so easy for me to say ‘oh don’t react like this’ or ‘you must do this’, what I want is for you to truly be positive when advice is offered, despite the origin of this advice, criticism, however uncomfortable, upsetting, annoying or infuriating you have deemed it to be.

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