How To Take Your Own Advice

Arsheen Sandhu
3 min readOct 11, 2021

If you’re constantly helping other people improve their lives but can’t seem to do the same for yourself, this one’s for you-

I’m personally offended by how much insight I have about almost anything you’d talk to me about and how almost nothing out of this significant amount of knowledge translates into any action or improvement in my own life.

Being the eldest daughter in my Asian family, advising everyone comes almost naturally to me. Giving advice is easy, following it through though, not so much.

My personal statistical calculation (not to be taken as an authentic reference) shows that out of the 100 people I advise (not authentic data) only about 10 people follow through. The idea is that the entire cycle of giving and taking advice is extremely exhausting and produces almost negligible results.

Instead, taking your own advice can produce long-term benefits including self-improvement, fulfillment, gratification, and learning. Additionally, you’ll feel responsible for your own growth or shortcomings.

  1. Don’t criticize anyone or anything: Being a critic is a full-time job, but unless you do it professionally there is no need to do it at all. (The government, its employees, and ministers are sincerely excluded from this category. Accountability is crucial in a democracy) The idea behind not criticizing is simply making more time for self-reflection and growth. Instead of telling others how to do things, focus on your own learning. There are two primary benefits to this approach a) You improve on things you previously might not have paid attention to and b) No one likes being criticized. No matter how pure your intentions were, it is just not worth it. We are social beings. We cannot live independent of wanting acceptance and approval. You being critical of someone will mostly rub them off while it practically serves no benefit to you either. Not being critical of other people will save you time, effort, and energy that you can use to improve yourself, it’ll also help you be more accepting of others generally and adapt better overall.
  2. Distance yourself from your situation and practice objectivity: The reason why most people cannot take their own advice is that they often feel that their situation is too different or unique. Trust me, it’s not. Most of the changes that you’ve been suggesting to your friends can apply to you as well, you just need to understand how. If you’ve told them they don’t need to worry about their interview while you sweat about your own, repeat your advice to yourself. You told your friends to drink water, drink a glass yourself. Try to never suggest anything to anyone that you will never practice yourself. The goal is to bring more objectivity to your perspective. If you hear yourself saying something wise to someone else, make a mental note and try to apply it to yourself as well.
  3. Make your advice as genuine as possible: It is important to learn that if you ever end up advising anyone, your tips are well researched and genuine. It is also significant to convey to the person that you’re unsure about how something really works and you have only read or heard about it. If you’re not speaking out of experience and you’re not a qualified expert, just say so. It might sound insignificant especially in the context of your friends but this humble practice can go a long way.

Overall, refrain from giving unsolicited advice as much as possible. Our collective experience with local Uncles and Aunties has taught us over the years about the diverse and harmful effects of unsolicited advice.

*The author has no moral ground. Despite fully acknowledging the contents of this article she did not take her own advice and shamelessly compiled this write-up that advises people to not give advice. However, she bears full responsibility for the same and would advise people to follow her advice at their own risk*

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Arsheen Sandhu

Just a twenty something thinking she knows what she’s doing.