Good Advice Is There. We Just Have to Listen to It

9 Oct

It happened again this weekend: I got lost.

I went to Wilson Farm up in Lexington, and from there, my next stop was Target in Watertown.

The area’s not completely foreign to me, but I decided to use Apple Maps anyway.

I hit the road, and Siri began telling me where to go.

When I got about a mile from the farm, she told me to make a turn … and because it didn’t look right to me, I decided to ignore her.

She recalculated, and I ignored those new directions too.

She tried a third time, and no, I didn’t follow those directions either.

I knew where I was. Sort of. Siri had to be taking me on a bad route. (Not an outlandish assumption to make.)

Except she wasn’t. Siri was trying to get me to my destination the fastest, most direct way she knew how. I was being stubborn, as usual, and not listening to her.

As a result, I wound up going places where I had no idea where I was.

I tend to do this often. I solicit advice — either from a GPS app or a friend or a colleague or someone else — or it’s offered to me, or I know I need to seek it out. But I think I know best, so I dismiss it and do my own thing.

The result is that I get lost (literally or metaphorically), or it takes me a long time to get somewhere … or I give bad answers in an interview, or I don’t pursue something or someone I’m interested in, or I don’t get all my work done, or I don’t accomplish a goal, or whatever.

Eventually I get where I want to go, but not as efficiently as I could have done it.

And I know I’m not alone. Male or female, young or old, who among us always listens to the advice we’re given, or always follows directions? We always think we know better than some “expert,” right? That’s true even when our instincts take us down the wrong path.

That’s why I like to think of a GPS app as not just a tool to help us get from one place to another. It’s a (not terribly subtle) metaphor for life.

Sometimes, disregarding directions can be a pleasurable experience, as we see places and things we had never seen before, or we gain a new perspective, or we’re told a better way to get to places we’ve already been.

But more often than not, it’s a reminder that we should suck it up and follow the advice of someone (or in this case, something) who knows more than we do.

After all, if we didn’t want or need the help, we wouldn’t have asked for it, right?

On Sunday, I eventually decided to stop making bad decisions and follow Siri’s path. Wouldn’t you know it, despite all my wrong turns, she still knew where she was going, and she got me to Target. But a trip that should have taken me about 20 minutes ended up taking me almost double the time. That was my fault, not hers.

It’s not an easy pill to swallow when you admit that your instincts aren’t always right. And it can be a challenge to step outside your comfort zone to try things a different way. But it’s important to do so every now and then.

Eventually, I’ll learn to stop being so stubborn, and will listen to good advice when it’s given to me. Especially if I want my life to change.

But I didn’t do it on Sunday, and I paid the price. Again.

Do you find it hard to take advice or direction when it’s given to you? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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One Response to “Good Advice Is There. We Just Have to Listen to It”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The More Things Change, Do They Also Stay the Same? « Martin's Musings - November 14, 2012

    […] by how many of the entries could have been written recently. Like the ones where I displayed a stubborn side, or hungered for change, or weighed in on the movies I’d […]

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