15 minute read.
Have you ever been in a situation where someone asked you for advice, but then when you told them exactly what to do, their eyes glazed over and they looked like they wanted to run away?
Whatever it is you told them to do, they come up with every excuse in the book why they can’t do it.
“I want to lose weight, but I can’t give up pizza. I love it too much.”
“I want to find a new job, but I am terrible at interviews. So, it’s just more secure to stay at my current company, and in my current position.”
“I want to save money, but I don’t want to read any books on money management. They are all the same, and it won’t work in my situation.”
“I want to find that special person in my life, but dating sucks and it takes so long to find the right person. So, I am just better off staying single.”
This happens ALL THE TIME with millions of people!
Not only is it extremely frustrating to hear people sabotage themselves like that, it is MUCH more frustrating hearing people bitch about people who sabotage themselves!
For example, some people finally learn the path to effectively losing weight and then do it. They’ve acquired the knowledge and then applied it, and it worked!
But when their spouse or best friend ask them how to do it, exact instructions are given, and they end up doing NOTHING to change themselves. Then the person who gives the advice bitches about why nobody listens to them. “It’s so easy” they say. “Why don’t people just do what I say, and they will get results!”
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Are you F’in kidding me?? That’s exactly how you get people NOT to listen to you or take your advice!
But you are in luck, because I’m going to show you how to actually give advice that people WILL listen to, and WILL take.
Let’s get started
I have a true story about a couple who were terrible with money. I mean really terrible! They could never afford to have a decent car or nice clothes. Let’s call them Benny and June, to protect their identity.
They lived on a farm and were very poor. They gave birth to 8 children and raised them in a farming environment. They always lived in poverty, but never felt impoverished.
Out of the 8 children, they gave birth to a son who rose from the ashes of poverty, went to college and graduated, and made a good life for himself (out of all 8 children, he was the only one who graduated from college!).
But Benny and June continued on their path of poverty for the rest of their lives. The parents would visit for Christmas and ask him how he “made himself a great success” (in their mind), because they wanted to do it too.
He didn’t know how to tell them they sucked when it came to managing money and that they needed to get their shit straight before they could dream of island vacations, or buy a new car with no debt, or even buy a nice suit or dress without feeling guilty.
Thoughts on how to tell aging parents who raised 8 children on a farm and are now in their 60’s that they don’t know what the hell they are doing and need to get their shit in gear???
Well, well, well. Aren’t we the morally righteous, judgmental, and knowing-just-enough-to-be-cocky little shit!
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First of all, if this sounds like you, what’s wrong with this story?
Tip #1: Stop being so fucking judgmental. Your language reeks of it.
Tip #2: Start with one simple thing they can do. Not 2 or 5 or 10 or 20. Just ONE.
Tip #3: Help them instead of judging them. Thinking this way about them is bad enough, so stop it immediately. If you are actually talking to them like this, you really need to stop that shit right now! It’s disrespectful and rude.
Tip #4: Assuming they even consider trying what you suggest, once they actually commit to doing just one thing, then move on to #2. That means asking if they are comfortable and READY to move on to #2, not pushing them into it.
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Notice that at least HALF of you helping them is changing you and your attitude, not them.
Some of the worst people in the world are people who just learned enough about something to be dangerous, typically people who just learned some latest greatest nutrition info, or heard about a new strength training technique, or found some great tips on personal finance, or joined some community activism campaign, or joined a new religion.
They’ve gone through a personal journey of deciding to change their life in some monumental way that really makes them feel great, but now they believe EVERYONE needs to join them…without realizing that only a month ago, they wouldn’t have wanted to hear anything about this shit!
Don’t be THAT person!
So what do you do when someone asks you for advice?
Tip #1: Resist the temptation to launch into how SIMPLE and EASY it is. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. Don’t even start with this phrase. Zip it!
Tip #2: Measure how serious they are. Do they just want to complain? There are plenty of people out there who do this! Do they just want you to tell them they’re doing fine? Some people just want to be heard and validated. Or do they actually want detailed, specific advice?
Then ask them one question:
How serious are you?
The next part is absolutely critical, so LISTEN CLOSELY.
If their response is something like:
“I’ll be ready once my kids are out of the house.”
“I’ll be ready when I get that raise I’ve always wanted.”
“I’ll be ready as soon as my bonus check clears.”
Drop the subject, and tell them “You’ll do fine. I’m sure you’ll figure it out.”
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If they respond with something like:
“Yes, I am ready. I’ll do anything you say!”
You are in business. They are receptive and they want to take action!
People who are serious and actually want good advice will say very specific words, not generalized bullshit. Anything else is not worth your effort. It’s like shouting into the wind. They won’t care, and they won’t do it.
It’s kind of like your spouse asking you a loaded question like “Do you love me?” If you say anything other than “Yes, of course I do!”, you are in deep shit.
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Let’s say someone asks you how you lost 40 lbs. You listen, confirm what they are saying, and then you say, “Well, yes, I can tell you how exactly how to do that. But just curious, how serious are you? Are you willing to do whatever it takes to lose 40 lbs?”
If they say: “Sure I want to. But I’m just so busy with work and kids and night school, but I’m hoping I can fit in with my job and blah blah blah…” Stop right there. They do NOT want to know how many reps and sets of burpees, lunges, supermans, and bicycle kicks it will take to drop 40 lbs of fat and make them ripped as fuck.
Your answer should be something like: “I just watch my portion control by eating only 3 ounces of protein for dinner, mixed with leafy greens, and avocados. Then I try to fit in 30 minutes of exercise, 3 times a week. Give it a try and let me know how it goes. Good luck.”
This is why insanely muscular and fit people lie to their friends about their workouts. They are extremely detailed and disciplined in private, and will not tell you exactly what they do in order to look like that! Because they know most people won’t care and/or won’t bother going to such an extreme level like they do. Or most people will try, then quickly get discouraged and give up.
Someone who says: “I’d love to know how to lose 40 lbs! I follow this fitness guy on youtube and I tried his 30-day challenge, but I can’t seem to fit it into my schedule or make it work.”
Your answer should be: “It sounds like you’re doing great, and you’ll eventually get it. Just keep trying.”
It might kill you not to answer their question in detail, but again, they didn’t ask you about detail. They really don’t want any technical advice. They want a cheering section and for people to tell them how good they’re doing. There is nothing wrong with that! Encourage them! They are probably having fun learning. Let them have some dignity.
Someone says: “I am so pumped to get started. I’ve tried 3 sets of 10 burpees, 3 minutes of fast bicycle kicks, and 2 minutes of bear crawls, as part of a 12 minute cardio blast. But I really want to know is how to work this into my hectic family schedule. I’ve seen you progress for 2 years and I need to know exactly what works for you.”
Your response should be: “Excellent! Let me tell you, I start by keeping a detailed record of my portions and meal times for 2 weeks, just to get it to stick. Then I spend 40 minutes in the gym, 20 minutes pool running, and 20 minutes strength training with just body weight. That’s 3 times a week. Then I completely switch up the exercises after 3 weeks. But it doesn’t really matter what you do, you just have to commit and do it consistently. Email me tomorrow and I will send you my complete workout routine.” BAM!
There are 2 things I did in the last example. Pay attention because this is important.
#1: I gave him a detailed technical workout with specific time frames, but not every single detail. I want to see if he will follow up.
#2: I told him to email me and get the rest of the details tomorrow. This is the final test to show that he is super serious and will follow through. I am 100% sure he will be contacting me. He is ready!
It is VERY rare that someone actually says, “I’m serious. Let’s do it!”
Almost no one really wants advice to the level of actually following through. What most people want to do is COMPLAIN, or they want to be VALIDATED and HEARD.
Fewer than one in a thousand people actually want to change their ATTITUDE AND BEHAVIOR. It took me a long time to figure this out. Once you understand this, you’ll start to learn to be more understanding and empathetic towards people, instead of being smug, bitter, judgmental, and frustrated.
Even though people say they are dead serious and really want to change, you don’t need to dive in that deep yet and start spewing all of the technical ins and out of weight loss or strength training. They just aren’t ready yet. What did I just say? They aren’t ready YET.
You need to test the waters with them first and drip the advice a little bit at a time. Otherwise, you will overwhelm them and scare them away. People have barriers, and some are really really hard to break down! Anyone can say they are serious, but it takes a very special person to say “I am serious. What do I need to do to get started right now? Give me details please!”
Summing it Up
So the next time you get the urge to complain about people not taking your advice, maybe you have just never studied about how to actually give really good advice.
So what is the secret to giving great advice?
Hint: It’s not about money. That doesn’t work.
You can give people the best advice in the world, with or without a price tag, and spoon feed them the greatest tactics, methods, techniques, and strategies. But people will not change unless the pain of staying the same is so unbearable, there is no other choice but to put in the work and turn their life around.
People can’t be forced to change. That has never worked and never will work. It makes people shut down. Change must be on their own terms and for their own reasons. A person must want to change. They need to be ready to change. They must be convinced that the only option is to change.
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If you’re looking to make a change in your life, the first step is taking action.
Don’t send 100 emails asking people what you need to do, or watch 100 videos on youtube about how to get something done. There is no magic bullet. There is only time and effort. Just get started. You’ll make your own mistakes and gain experiences along the way. That’s part of the fun!
Start working out, start running, talk to a coach or mentor, join a fitness club, join a basketball group, start a friendship, start a business, join a committee, whatever. Just start. You’ll be amazed at how many great people you’ll find that are anxious to help you succeed.
But show them you mean business!
Don’t walk behind me. I may not lead.
Don’t walk in front of me. I may not follow.
Just walk beside me and be my friend.
Please share your story in the comments section if you can related to this in any way. I read every comment. Also please use the SHARE buttons on the bottom of this page to spread the word if you find value in this article. If you do, then other people might as well.
P.S. SECRETS REVEALED: I am the kid who rose from the ashes of poverty and the only one out of 8 children to graduate from college! I also lost 40 lbs of fat, and can show you exactly how to do it.