Waiting for the Right Advice


Yesterday, I spent an hour in an overheated room, letting someone else tell me about their problems. As sweat dripped down my face with a vengeance, I took time to breath and listen to a random stranger process her feelings about letting go of expectations. (If you haven't caught on, I was in a hot yoga class, or else this context would be bizarre.) It's funny how listening to someone else talk about their own journey of self-discovery can make you feel better about your own. To be honest, I didn't solve any problems or come to any conclusions about my personal stressors in that hour, and yet, I walked out feeling a little more centered. Maybe it was all the sweat, but I think it's more than that.

I think we have an insatiable desire for self-help. We flood our Instagram feeds with encouraging quotes and devour the pages of books, looking for a nugget of wisdom that we can take with us. I'm guilty of both, and I find myself soothed by the fact that other people feel the same need for affirmation or clarity that I do. However, I'm beginning to realize that there is a fine line between being encouraged by someone else's journey and taking action in your own life.

You see, hearing someone else's story can inspire you. That's why we write and create and use the talents God has given us to impact our circle. However, if you are merely consuming these lessons and not applying them, then you will fall into an endless cycle of being made to "feel" better, without actually making anything better.

Learning and listening has had a vast impact on shifting my perspective, but consuming information isn't enough. I have to apply what I'm learning, or else I will keep learning the same lesson, over and over again. It's like the definition of insanity, but packaged up in a pretty bow that makes us feel good. At some point, we have to move beyond patting ourselves on the back for "taking an hour to ourselves" and "reading a great business book" and actually use the knowledge we've been given.

If you feel yourself stuck in the rut of waiting for the right advice, maybe it's time to leave the wisdom of other people out of the equation and start executing your own decisions. At some point, you have to leave the nest and spread your own wings. We were created for community, so outside wisdom is invaluable. However, it was never meant to be a tool to make us feel better without any action to follow.