I’m ashamed to admit it, but I’ve screwed things up by failing to get good advice. Take my bees for example: I took a course on beekeeping, then moved to our farm and set up a hive. Things went pretty well, for a while. I didn’t know what I was doing, but the bees did, so hey, we were into the honey. But, somehow, as the summer buzzed on, I found myself in way deep with little to no help. And when I should have asked for someone’s help, I just felt so stupid that I avoided asking, avoiding admitting my lack of knowledge, avoided getting the help I needed. Until it was too late. And my bees didn’t survive my foolish resistance to asking for good advice.
Why do we resist getting good advice?
Last month, while preaching through our summer series in the Proverbs, I put out this question on Facebook. Lots of friends responded (thank you!), and I amassed a Top Ten list of reasons we resist getting the very advice we so often need.
Here it is: Top Ten Reasons We Resist Getting Good Advice
1. We don’t want to admit we need help. Let’s call that what it is: pride, pure and simple.
2. We feel foolish having to ask for advice. When I examine my own feelings of resistance regarding my bees, it’s shame that I felt most strongly.
3. We’re afraid people will tell us to do something we don’t want to do. Here’s the truth: Sometimes we like to complain but we don’t actually want to change. Take finances for example: we can talk about being broke but never ask for advice because we don’t want to change our spending habits.
4. We’ve waited too long to ask for advice, and now things are really a mess. My mind drifts to marriage, and how often I talk to folks whose relationship is so fractured that it seems beyond hope. Marriage problems are like cancer: the earlier the diagnosis, the better the chance of recovery.
5. We’re convinced that things will eventually work out on their own. (You remember the definition of insanity, don’t you? Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.)
Take good counsel and accept correction—that’s the way to live wisely and well. Proverbs 19:20, The Message
6. We don’t want to bother busy people. Nonsense. People love giving advice, especially when you are in a bind and need help.
7. We want to make decisions quickly, and getting good advice takes time. Slowing your decision making process down is often the wisest thing you can do. When you feel pressure to rush, there’s a chance you’re missing something.
8. We don’t trust the advice we are getting. Maybe we’ve asked people before and their advice didn’t work, or we are overwhelmed with competing ideas.
9. We really do think we are smarter than everyone else. (See number 1.)
10. We don’t think there is a problem. Even if everyone around us knows we need help, until we are able to admit there’s a problem, we’ll resist getting good advice.
What would you add to this list?
PS. Next year, I’ve resolved to try bees again, this time with help!