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Reblogged:Moroney On Evaluating Advice

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Writing about her decision to test-drive an affirmation-type technique for realizing goals, Jean Moroney of Thinking Directions speaks of a problem we all have from time to time:

[H]is argument was not enough for me to try it. I never take advice like this unless I see for myself why I believe it should work. What is the causal factor here? After all, if I'm going to put in say 20 minutes a day doing these, that's over 100 hours a year. That's a serious commitment of time and energy. I need to be convinced it can work. [bold added]
I use that filter a lot myself, and for exactly the reason that bad advice can waste lots of time and energy.

But sometimes, that advice can, as it does here, come from someone you respect. It might work, but perhaps the reasons for its effectiveness haven't been worked out or communicated clearly. And one's own analysis might uncover good reasons for considering the advice. And so it seems here:
No, I haven't read this myself. (Image via Amazon.)
My reason for sharing this is not to convince you to try affirmations, but to show you the kind of reasoning process I use to consider advice from other people with whom I respectfully disagree.

Though Alan and I share critically important values, we have very different philosophies. He's religious, I'm not. I'm an egoist. I believe he would say he is an altruist. In his book, he makes quite a few statements that I disagree with. But rather than dismissing his comments, or jumping into an argument with him, I take the time to identify the facts he is looking at. What is he seeing? What is a plausible explanation for his conclusion? Is there a context in which it make sense to me? [bold added]
Whatever conclusion Moroney reaches about the technique Alan Zimmerman describes in The Payoff Principle, it is worthwhile to consider this example of what to do about advice one feels conflicted about.

-- CAV

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