A Greek philosopher Thales was once asked what was difficult, he said “to know one’s self”. And when asked what was easy, he replied “to advise another”. Edward Newton also said that only a dead man under six feet of earth with several tons of granite upon his chest ,is he in a position to give advice with any certainty ,and then he is silent”. We might think this American author had gone too far in his refusal to give advice. If we look carefully we will be more sympathetic with him. We should also know that unwanted or unsolicited advice usually fall on deaf ear .The popular saying that “Don’t do as I do, do as I say, ’’doesn’t work people need a good example to go by. Seek that person that has gone through the test or fire, he knows how to encourage and guild anybody in need but all these depend on whether or not the person wants assistance.
If our conscience tells us that our reason for giving advice is to attain self-gratification then we may rest assured that our pearls of wisdom will fall on deaf ears, so avoid it. We should be completely sincere when we ask “can I help?” A half-hearted offer is certain to be recognized and rejected .But if our friend’s problem is such that there is no way for us to assist, then it’s pointless to offer solution.
The following personal interrogation should be carried out before giving advice on any issue; did the person ask for our help? Is he doing anything to help his situation? Do we possess the required courage and honesty to refer our friend to another person who may be more qualified than we are in giving advice? It is better if we can get our friend to ask for advice before we give it. An individual personally requesting assistance has already placed himself in a receptive frame of mind and is ready to be helped .We may consider bluntly asking our friend, ’’Would you like me to suggest a y to help you?’’However , a more diplomatic way of accomplishing this is to state that we believe that know of a way to alleviate his situation .Say to him ,”An idea has just come to me that I believe will help you .May I tell you what it is?’’In all likelihood, curiosity will prompt our friend into listening to what we have to say. Then we give our idea to him clearly and definitely.