We are very eager for sharing our knowledge, giving directions to someone, making a suggestion. But why do we rarely want to follow something that has been passed along to us? Or even something that we, ourselves, are preaching?
Think about it. How many times have you given some advice to someone, knowing that you, yourself, don’t personally practice it?
I know I have. Far too many times to count actually. And when it really comes to not following some of your advices I’m as guilty as the next guy. But there is also something I learned along the way that can explain this strange behavior and what is more important, fix it.
You see, we want to perceive ourselves as someone who is more Do, than Talk. And more often than not that is the case, but there are times, I believe, when you know perfectly well what to do, but out of some unexplainable reason you don’t do it.
And here is where not following your advice happens. Had you been asked, you would probably give the right answer as an advice for someone. So what is different?
I remember when I was writing about the behavioral habits for keeping your mental health in check, catching myself how I never practiced half of them at least. That’s why, when I’m trying to write about something now, and give personal advice, I make sure that it is personal for myself as well. In other words, I walk my talk, and experience the advise first hand. And this applies to extreme situations as well. If I haven’t felt what is like to conquer a challenge, I never bother talking about it. Take for example the question on how to lose belly fat – How can I preach about belly fat reduction if I never trimmed inches of my own waist? There is a limited understanding that you can have about how to attain abs, if you don’t have a six pack yourself.
The same goes for dieting. I’m a fitness fanatic who loves to experiment, and I never preach about popular diets without trying them first. Have you heard about the hard boiled eggs diet? well, I have, and I tried it before writing a single sentence on the topic.
What forces you to follow the bigger portion of your advice?
In order to understand why you decide to skip some of the things you say to others, it’s logical to analyze what triggers the right actions, the ones that go side by side with what you would say to others. Think about it, what makes you follow your own advice?
The first clue I came up with is common sense. You have an opinion about something, and when presented with the same situation or problem, you do things according to your own interpretation about the right solution.
But if all of us were guided by common sense most of the time it would have been a perfect world out there now, would it?
The second thing I came up with seems to weight more in terms of binding you to do the right thing. It’s the feeling of unpleasantness or lack of comfort you experience when you try and go against what you strongly believe is the right thing to do.
This feeling is even enforced if you have spoken your mind to someone about that same situation, where you clearly pointed what seems to be the right answer.
But as strong of a trigger this is for following your own advice, it is simply not as good enough. You see, sometimes even after finding yourself in such situation, you still go against your words.
There is also a third thing according to me that works for some people when trying to follow your own advice. It’s somewhat similar to the one before, but very different to an extent.
The thing here is that many people feel that they may lose credibility, or simply be ridiculed or mocked, if they chose not to follow their advice. And while the above reason was purely driven by fear of individual rejection, this is mainly driven by fear of not being accepted from the society.
I mean, who on earth wants someone who cannot even follow his own words? Right? At least that’s what the fear of rejection forces us to think. But, even then, some of us don’t follow our advice.
So going through these factors, you can clearly see that no matter how powerful they are, there is still room for denying them, and going against our advice.
You are not perfect
Another thing we must realize is that nobody is perfect. If you look carefully you will see that even people who work as some sort of personal coaches have someone to take advice from.
Counselors, psychologists, they also would have been the smartest people in the world with all of the advice they have to give. But even they, themselves, face tough moments, and many times act poorly on them. So many couple counselors have been divorced, faced rough times in their relationships.
The thing here to realize is that nobody is perfect. Common sense and experience can give us the right answer to a problem, but whether we are going to implement it or not, is completely a different story.
What makes you act against your belief?
Well, many factors to be sincere. Emotions are the main problem, and we have to deal with a whole panel of them when trying to act as we would advise ourselves. Things like fear, uncertainty, doubt in ourselves, may really spoil the whole thing for us.
Sometimes it is just being plain lazy. Or reluctant to some extent.
Or sometimes we just had enough of smart talk, that we answer to the question why, with: “Because, f*** it, that’s why.”
How to follow your advice in such times?
The thing is to recognize those moments, and try to calm your emotions, since usually they are the ones responsible. Don’t try to be perfect, just follow a decent portion of your own preaching, and give your best shot at a given time. That’s the trick actually.
Sometimes trying too hard may spoil it even more. Try and listen to yourself in such moments as you give advice about the same situation to some other person.
Think about what you would say. Or you’ve already said it somewhere? Try to reminisce then. Go back and put yourself in that mindset. By taking the time you will control the emotions, won’t let them overwhelm you and have the upper hand.
You will also bring some sense in yourself once you think about your advice to that situation, and being calm, with your logic enhanced, you can guess the outcome.
There is also another trick that will help you this a lot, and it is learning to listen to other people’s advices.
This will prepare you to be able to get in and out of your comfort zone, and your stubbornness – things you will face when trying to apply your own advice.
What is your trick for staying true to what you preach? Do you follow your own advice, and what do you find to be the best trigger for being successful in it? Write it down, share it with us and we would be very glad to hear about it.