We can all benefit from the advice of wise and experienced people. Besides gaining from their knowledge, we can also gain from their objectivity.
Many students could gain a lot from asking advice on how to concentrate better, how to remember better, how to read faster and with greater comprehension. Many parents could gain a lot by asking for advice on how to create a peaceful, harmonious home where they bring out the best in their children.
Many teachers could gain from consulting master teachers with much experience. Many businesspeople and professionals could gain from consulting experts in their field.
Almost everyone could gain by consulting appropriate people about how to become a better person. Have the courage to ask for advice.
-from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s book, “Courage”
When someone comes to ask your advice, your obligation is to give him the same advice you would need to hear if you were in his position. Focus only on the welfare of the person you are talking to, and not on any personal benefit you might derive from giving a particular type of advice. If you are unable to do this, then you should not be giving any advice at all!
The next time someone asks you for advice, view this person as yourself or as your beloved child. What is the absolutely best advice you could give?
Sources: see Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto; Path of the Just, ch. 11
Sound is energy. This is a highly significant statement that effects you every time you speak to someone. Your tone of voice creates a specific type of energy. A soft and smooth tone of voice creates peaceful energy. An upbeat or joyous tone of voice creates positive energy. Both of these are in stark contrast to an angry tone of voice that creates an angry loop.
When you speak, your tone of voice creates either positive or distressful feelings in the person on the receiving end of that energy. The other person is likely to speak back to you in a tone that is similar to your own. For this reason King Solomon (Proverbs 15:1) advises us: “A soft reply turns away anger.” A soft tone of voice has a calming effect both on you the speaker and on the listener.
Do you want others to speak to you in an upbeat tone of voice? Then speak to them that way. A word of caution: For some people an overly enthusiastic tone of voice is too intense. So observe the effects of how you speak and modify your intensity according to the reaction of the listener.
-from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s “Happiness”,p.171
Giving positive advice to people who are open to hearing it, is one of the greatest acts of kindness you can do.
Be careful not to give advice when it is unwanted, even if you are well-meaning. A prerequisite for giving advice is to have the humility not to give advice unless you are certain it will have a positive outcome.
How you give advice is often a key factor in whether or not it will be appreciated. Giving positive advice takes great skill.
Sources: For a series of probing questions on this topic, see Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s “Gateway to Self Knowledge,” pp.104-6