This is not fake news. Although it could be, there's a whole lot of snake oil out there, just waiting for you, with false information and false promises.
Lately the media has been awash with stories of made-up news. It’s hard to know what’s true or just fiction masquerading as fact. Most intriguing, though, have been the interviews with those who write the fake stories. Their delight is in watching gullible people pass on information, that gets repeated until it’s part of received wisdom. 'Everyone' knows it, so it must be true. We believe what we want to believe.
When it comes to our own lives, it’s surprisingly easy to get sucked into others' versions of our truth. How often do you ask for an opinion or advice when really you’d be better to back yourself? In part, turning to others is about our human need for affirmation. ‘Am I doing the right thing?’, is very close to ‘Does my bum look big in this?' We fear the answer, but fear not asking, even more.
By all means, ask for advice, but try putting your request through these filters first.
Be Careful What You Ask
When we reach for the phone to pop a quick question, it’s often vague and imprecise. We get sprayed with uninformed and unhelpful answers, because we hadn’t thought it through properly in the first place. Ask better questions, take more time to know what you really need, and the answers will be far more helpful.
Be Choosy About Who You Ask
Whose opinion do you trust? Who is best qualified to give you what you need? Most of us have only a few go-to people, they are the ones whose wisdom we have tested. There is every likelihood that they listen far more than they speak, and that they will ask you more questions than give advice. Sometimes that will drive you crazy, and you’ll just want to shake them and say 'Tell me what to do!’ Believe me, they are your greatest gift, because with their help you’ll start to hear and trust your own wisdom.
Be Careful When You Ask
Just because your stuff is urgent for you, doesn't make it important for them. Be respectful about others’ time. This one landed for me recently, when I sent a text asking a colleague for a last minute weekend-read of an emailed document. Except that she doesn’t check email at the weekend. My urgent wasn’t part of her important, so her response arrived on Monday.
Think About Why You’re Asking
Do you genuinely need advice, or are you just after a morale boost? Are you looking to shore up your uncertainty, or to challenge your thinking? Are you taking the easy road to your decision? After all, if you take advice and it turns out to be wrong, then who will you blame? If your friend says ‘that would be the perfect job for you’ and it turns to disaster, then who made the call?
Whatever you ask and whoever you choose to believe, take ownership. Do your own thinking and activate your nonsense detector. Own your own truth.