Roger Moore, Actor and UNICEF Ambassador
“I’ve always said if you’ve nothing nice to say about someone, then you should say nothing.”
When you trash somebody, what actual good does it do? There is an effect, but what does it tell others about that person? Better yet, what does it tell others about you?
Imagine if you will, that what you are telling is the exact, and honest truth. There is absolutely no chance that what you are telling is in anyway of dubious origin. That established, there are times when you may want to tell someone something negative.
An example. If you have personal knowledge that a certain young man is a habitual date rapist and you see him getting interested in your friend’s daughter, this would be an excellent time to inform your friend of the danger.
If on the other hand, you don’t like the way this young man dresses or you don’t like his attitude, or his piercings, tattoos or even his bow tie, looking at your friend and saying, “I’ll bet he’s a date rapist. You can tell by looking at him.” All you are doing is letting your biases and prejudices make huge leaps in what you are thinking. Find out the facts before you speak, and sometimes don’t even speak then.
A real life example: When my daughter was in school there was a boy who made some unwelcome and shocking comments about what he wanted to do to her. He got in trouble for it and the situation was taken care of through the appropriate channels. A few months later, the principal approached me and told me of an incident of exactly the same nature involving the same boy. He was shocked by my first question. “Is this a new incident, or is it just recycled gossip?”
His experience with fathers was that normally the death of the boy in questions would be imminent if the father was allowed to go and do what he felt like doing.
My first inclination was find out if this was actually factual, or just the old story making the rounds again. I explained that if he was going along and being honorable and they came down on him again when he had done nothing, it could create a condition where he would begin to believe that there was no benefit at all in correct behavior, and he would revert and become worse than before. Once we knew the truth of it, action could be taken, or not, according to the outcome.
It turned out to be a recycled rumor told by someone who wanted something to shock her friends with. The boy never knew what had happened as far as I know. It was best that way.
I don’t know how his life turned out, but I know at least I didn’t contribute to his downfall if he indeed ever had one.
Cassandra Peterson, Actress
“He is one hundred percent responsible for me getting out of Vegas and going on with my career. Elvis said to me, “You don’t want to stay here. This is not a town you should be in.” And I don’t think if that would’ve come from anybody but Elvis, I would’ve done it.”
We have to be selective when we take advice. There are basically three criteria we should consider before doing so.
1. Do you trust this person? A basic trust is necessary to even begin to consider taking advice. How long have you known them? Have they ever lied to you or have they taken advantage of you? Many who are so called friends are those users that are trying to get all they can. They will treat you well until there is some advantage they can gain by tossing you over the side. Make sure this is a real friend.
2. What will that person stand to gain if you follow their advice? This is a back up check on the trust issue. If they will gain an enormous amount of advantage, money or fame because of your actions, you had better give point number one a closer look. Sometimes your welfare and theirs can coincide, but if the biggest advantage is theirs, look a little deeper.
3. Does this person know anything about the area they are advising you on?
After the first two are all taken care of and you are sure there is no reason for the person to deceive you, you may realize that, in spite of being totally trustworthy, they have absolutely no idea what is going on in the subject area under discussion. Some well meaning people will give you an answer just to feel smart. They probably don’t mean you ill, they just need to feel important.
All this investigation can be completed in a second or two if you know your friends well.
Advice is a valuable commodity. The easiest way to get a regular supply of good advice is to surround yourself with people you like and respect. It doesn’t hurt at all for them to be diverse as well, since diversity brings different experiences that work well for the entire group to learn and benefit from. Humans are really good at learning from the experiences of others, but unfortunately, many are not inclined to do so.
The quality of advice many times comes down to the quality of the friend who is giving it. Please don’t surround yourself with users. And don’t be a user yourself. There is no reason we have to know everything when there are so many of us around to share knowledge. It works so much better that way.
My wife Dee and I are doing a new show called the WV Podcast. Check it out at wvpodcast.com.