We have a ton of information at our fingertips in today’s digital world. Therefore, anyone can have an opinion about anything. When we lack information about something, more information is generally a good thing. It informs us. Too much, and it can have the opposite effect, paralysing the mind and distorting our decision making.
The problem with an opinion is it’s just that — an opinion. It doesn’t give us the correct answer or the truth because we can only ever experience the truth.
Let me give you an example. When events happen to me in my life, those events are what they are. I can form opinions on how I perceived those events, how I feel about them, and whether they were positive or negative, but what happened is what happened — the event itself is cut and dried.
The challenge is, every time someone offers you an opinion that isn’t based on experience, they’re essentially gambling with your decision-making. They’re saying you should or shouldn’t do something based on their very limited perception of what they think is good for you. In reality, the only person who can make that decision is you.
However, there is a way you can gain reliable, trustworthy advice — by asking about their experiences.
You see, every time you’re dealing with a challenge or seeking guidance, ask for someone’s experiences, not their opinions.
Why? Because when someone shares an experience, they’re sharing the facts of what happened to them and how they dealt with it. They are describing the specific actions and events that unfolded. You’re getting reliable, authentic advice. No opinions, no judgement, just the facts.
Now of course, their situation is completely different to your own and that’s the point. It’s now up to you to decide what you want to learn from their experience and apply to your situation.
Why is this mindset shift so powerful?
Well, it frees the person sharing from casting judgement or telling another person what to do. When you share from experience you’re not saying that what happened to you in your circumstances will happen for the other person. You’re simply sharing the events that unfolded at that time. This neutralises judgement and instead builds trust.
What if someone doesn’t have direct experience of their own in a situation like yours? Easy. How do you feel about this impending decision? Do you have any emotions attached to it? Are you stressed? Elated? Anxious? Then ask that person for their experiences in how they’ve dealt with those emotions in other situations. What did they do to manage them?
The result of all of this is a deeper connection. Free from judgement. Free from the repercussions of when you told someone to do something and it didn’t work out for them.