Advice: recycled wisdom or get your own, fresh?

I was on Hung Lee’s Recruiting Brainfood on Friday lunchtime — loved it! — and at the end we were invited to share practical tips for mental wellbeing, at this time of ‘unprecedented change’! I felt resistance to the idea of giving tips and here’s why.

Scrabble pieces spelling tips and tricks next to air pods
Image by wiredsmart Young on Pixabay

We all have a fresh, bubbling source of creativity, fresh thinking and ideas available to us every single moment of every single day.

You’ll have had these. The shower moments when the lightbulb appears. The walk when everything becomes clear. The pits of frustration or sadness and even depression when a fresh thought strikes like a bolt of lightning.

This is a universal, innate human capacity.

But when we don’t look to where it comes from, and when we don’t realise how it works optimally, we might miss some of the news flashes that it’s trying to get our attention with.

I spend my working life (and sometimes home life — sorry kids!) guiding people back to this innate brilliance within because the more we connect with that, the more we tap into the stream of fresh goodness that’s perfect for us in this context right now.

Then we don’t need to rely on others’ top tips or practical survival strategies — which are essentially their wisdom in a previous moment being recycled — because we have our own source of wisdom right here already. Perfect for us. Perfect for now.

So this is where the resistance popped up for me.

Urgh. Advice. Tips. Whatever I say isn’t true. Whatever I recommend might help and it might not. Giving advice keeps people stuck in a disempowered loop, believing they don’t have this fresh source for themselves, imagining their discomfort can be soothed from something outside of them.

And it is soothed — temporarily. A tip or piece of advice might give us brief relief as we give it a go. Phew. I feel better. The chatty voice has gone quiet and, given that’s the only place discomfort ever comes from, we feel ok.

Then the discomfort returns and it looks like the tip was rubbish, or I’m rubbish at implementing it, or I need a better tip from a more-expert person. This chase is endless.

The ok-ness felt in that moment of relief was your innate brilliance. It’s what we experience every single time the voice goes quiet or one of the voice’s stories haven’t been grabbed and mis-correlated to an external person or situation. The brilliance is there automatically — we don’t make it appear. We never have. No “thing” — no person, substance or activity — has ever had that power.

So the more we look to all this, the more we sit in the flow of our own flow of fresh thinking and ideas of what to do now.

AND — I realised I was still lost in illusion. The resistance I felt at the time told me I must be. And now writing this has shown me how.

No “thing” is good or bad, right or wrong. So tips and advice can’t be right or wrong either.

I’ve been in Facebook and on Insta looking for recommendations, advice and tips for things to do with the kids.

Some have been done, others haven’t, some are consistent, others were tried once and then stopped — and they could come back. Who knows.

And this is the real freedom.

Knowing that tips and advice are NOT a source of wellbeing. They don’t in and of themselves makes us feel anything. They don’t save us from a difficult situation because we never needed saving. And they say nothing about us if we do or don’t try them out.

From there, tips and advice can be heard or not, tried or not. And that’s all that’s happening.

And the more we know the first part —

  • that we are the innate brilliance, the source of fresh thinking
  • that it’s only the innocent mis-correlation of a thought to an outside “thing”, and imagining it’s causal, that gets in the way of the brilliance

—the more the downstream listening to, and doing or not doing, of tips and advice, with nothing on it, happens naturally.

No thought strategies or behaviour management techniques required.

Real freedom.

With love, Helen

Listen to the podcast version of the conversation here.

I work with people who want a quieter mind and a more fulfilling life. They’re smart, passionate people who are curious about there being a better way. They’ve worked hard to get to here and yet something’s still missing: ‘is this it?’. In our work we explore and reconnect to innate brilliance so they rediscover a quieter mind, fulfillment and balance. Find out more here.

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