People often tell us to have objective views to not always think of ourselves first, to walk a mile in another’s shoes before drawing conclusions about them. But if we are honest it’s a lot more difficult to be objective when we are at the receiving end of an action. For example how objective can a rape victim be towards an attacker? How objective can we be towards a boss who just laid us off even when we know it was the only line of action open to them.
The above examples could be said to be extreme or clearly unpleasant situations, cases where objective and subjective views are obvious. On the other-hand how do we differentiate objective advice from subjective ones? This is something that I have pondered on for quite a while. How do we know that the advise we just got on how to handle XYZ situation is not totally tainted by the advisers point of view, personality and priorities, thus making it a subjective piece of advice? For example when someone advises a student to read four hours a day at noon as noon time is the peak period for brain activity is this objective or subjective? In my opinion regardless of the bases for the claim; scientific research or just personal observation, it is considered a subjective as it
a) Doesn’t consider the recipients strengths and weaknesses or ability to achieve the target.
b) Assumes that everyone should fit into a particular order
c) Can be disputed with alternative results e.g. students who read less and listen more or students who understand better at night.
Now I know people give excuses for not taking good advice (I do it too) and I think the best way to make an advise more appealing and open to reasoning is to support it with life’s principles. Going back to the study advise example: rather than saying try to study four hours at noon each day, how about make an effort to get at least four hours of study each day, if you don’t put in any effort you won’t get any results.
Rather than saying: I personally wouldn’t spank my child.
Say: Don’t react to your child in anger, reactions driven by anger rarely produces good results.
Before you give that advise (solicited or unsolicited especially unsolicited) be sure to ask yourself what principle supports your line of thought. Principles are rarely subjective and together with advice based on experience pack a powerful punch. They can hardly be ignored forever. Be sure to treat your listener with respect as well.
Would love to hear your thoughts.