Do they have the same parents as you? With all the same lessons and style of upbringing?
Do they have the same set of friends as you? Down to duplicate Facebook friends list, down to literally identical experiences with those friends from trials, tribulations, arguments, jokes, long talks?
Does anyone have the same set of mentors and schooling as you? Did they pay attention to exactly what you paid attention to, found the exact same stuff interesting, and worked the same amount of time as you?
Does anyone want exactly what you want for yourself? For the world?
Do they have the exact same work experience, with the same boss, coworkers, events, ups and down?
Do they agree with you 100% on what is right and wrong? Do they agree with you on whether Tupac is dead or alive?
And do they see the purpose of life the same way you see it? Have they determined what they are doing here on Earth to be exactly the same thing as what you’re doing here?
Have they suffered the same failures at the same times as you, and gotten the exact same identical lessons from those failures?
Have they gone through the same hardships as you? Experienced the same luxuries?
Do they have the same aspirations?
Do they have the exact same genetic make up (rhetorical), with the same tendencies and preferences for certain types of reactions, behavior, and likes/dislikes?
Do they have the same Nature+Nurture as you?
So how much sense does it make to ask advice? “If I were you, I would x y z x y z ….” But you’re not me. Did they answer yes to all the questions above? Each individual situation is so mind-blowingly, astronomically unique that advice truly makes no sense. It leads us to believe that there is some common place we are all trying to get to, and not to believe that the goal is the path itself–the decisions we make for ourselves and the learning and living process that comes along with it. Whether our decisions turn out “good” or “bad” is irrelevant when it comes to our personal growth.
Imagine if you never made a decision, and every single thing you did in life was directed by the advice of someone who you really admired. What would your last few moments of life feel like? I suspect you would have a lot of painful curiosity.
“People ask advice when they know what they need to do but just don’t want to do it.” Maybe every time we ask for advice, we really know the answer but we are fighting our internal compass. Why don’t we trust what we would do without advice? What is the value of trusting one’s self?
To give advice without being asked for it is to assume you know what lies both ahead and behind another person. It is to attempt to rob their life of making their own decisions. If they ask you for advice, perhaps you can offer it but we all owe it to our fellow humans to remind them that our decisions are not applicable to their lives.