The Expertise of Unsolicited Advice

Why We Love Telling Others How to Live


8/29/20238 min read

white bottle with cup
white bottle with cup

It's a common human quirk: we've got this itch to tell everyone else what's best for them.

Whether it's our friends, family, or the unsuspecting soul at the bus stop, we've got opinions about their lives ready to roll off our tongues.

Remember when Mom and Dad had your life all mapped out, complete with a career trajectory, like it was some grand plan? If you were lucky, they were all about what not to be.

But some parents? Oh boy, they went all out, setting up shop in the driver's seat of your destiny. "You're going to be a doctor, a lawyer, and work at that company your aunt's cousin's friend recommended."

It's like they had your whole life on a PowerPoint slide. And then there's the legendary league of child stars whose parents turned their stardom into a full-fledged family business. Ah, good times.

Now, don't get us wrong. Most folks mean well.

They've seen life's tough side, and they're just trying to pave the smoothest path for you. Education? Check. Prestigious job? Double-check.

They're just working off their hard-earned knowledge, trying to steer you away from blue-collar woes they've weathered. But sometimes, it's like they've got this shiny vision of a glam life, and they're convinced it's the one-size-fits-all key to success.

So, here's to all the unsolicited advice we've gotten and given. It's a dance we all do, jiving between heartfelt concern and hilarious assumptions.

But remember, at the end of the day, it's your life's playlist, and you get to choose the beats that resonate with you.

You Never Know What The Future Will Become

a close up of a cell phone screen with the g bard logo in the background
a close up of a cell phone screen with the g bard logo in the background

Back in my day, being a musician or artist was like saying you wanted to ride a unicorn to work – pure fantasy. Parents would pat you on the back, then steer you toward more 'sensible' paths.

Game over for gaming, and hobbies like yoyo, juggling, skating, or air rifling? More like hobbies that earned you eye rolls.

But oh, how times have changed. Today, you can turn your wildest passions into cold, hard cash, and I don't mean stuffing dollar bills into a yoyo.

Thanks to the power of YouTube and the Internet, you can make a living out of almost anything, as long as you're ready to dive deep, learn the ropes, and slap on a bit of self-promotion.

See, the future is a playground of possibilities, especially in this digital age. It's like you're in the wild west, only the wild west has Wi-Fi. With the whole world just a click away, there's someone out there who's ready to cheer for your unique talents – and toss a coin or two your way.

And let's not forget about the AI revolution that's knocking on our doors.

What if our tech overlords end up loving art, music, and the yo-yo? Who knows what's possible in this sci-fi movie we're living in?

That's why it's time to rally behind our future trailblazers. Whatever makes their hearts beat faster, whatever sets their eyes aglow – let's support it.

Because when we encourage their passions, we're not just betting on them, but on the limitless possibilities that await. Who's ready to ride that unicorn now?

Genuine Concern Or Projection?

Ever noticed how we just can't resist giving others a piece of our mind?

Whether it's your best bud, a random stranger, or even your aunt's neighbour's dog walker, we're all bursting with opinions on how they should live their lives.

And oh boy, when it comes to our own kids, the advice floodgates open wide. We can't wait to shower them with wisdom that we think will guide them through life. But hold up – here's the kicker: are we truly looking out for their best interests, or are we just projecting our own stuff onto them?

Most times, when we dish out unsolicited advice, it comes from a place of care.

We've been around the block, seen some bumps and bruises, and we want to save our peeps from going through the same. It's like offering an umbrella when we see storm clouds brewing.

Sweet, right?

But wait, the thing is that the line between true-blue concern and sneaky projection? It's thinner than the crust on your morning toast.

Projection happens when we take our own dreams, hopes, and maybe even regrets, and plaster them onto someone else's life canvas.

Imagine this: You've always dreamed of being a rockstar, but life led you down a different road. Then your cousin mentions they're joining a band, and suddenly, you're coaching them like you're their personal Mick Jagger. Is it about their music career or your unfulfilled rockstar fantasies?

Now, have you ever told someone to do something you've never dared to do? I sure did an uncountable number of times in my life.

If you did too, bingo – we’ve danced the "do as I say, not as I do" tango.

It's when we become these enthusiastic advisers, pushing others down paths we're too chicken to tread ourselves. Sure, it's a concern mixed with a pinch of our own fears and what-ifs.

The problem is one size doesn't fit all. Believing what worked for us will be a slam dunk for everyone else does not exist.

Imagine you stumbled upon the ultimate life hack – juggling flaming torches while riding a unicycle. But when your friend's life seems a bit unsteady, suggesting this trick might just add to the chaos.

See, each person is like a puzzle piece that fits into their own unique puzzle. What's a masterpiece for you might be a mismatch for them. It's like giving a cat swimming lessons – probably not the best idea.

Okay, so how do we toe the line between being a caring bud and a projectionist puppeteer?

It's all about checking our motives. Before playing the advice card, take a sec to figure out if it's about their growth or your desires taking the wheel.

Being there for someone means lending an ear, not a megaphone. Instead of going all guru, ask them questions that nudge them in the right direction. Let them lead the way while you shine a light on their path.

Oh, and the same goes for our kids.

Often, the things we wish for them are the things we wished for ourselves. We want them to succeed where we stumbled. Or we hope they'll carve a future that's independent of us, one where they can thrive on their terms.

But the ultimate truth is they're not clones of us. They're unique beings on their own journey. We can guide them, offer opportunities, but we need to let them try, explore, and discover.

Illusion of Control

selective focus photography of deity marionettes
selective focus photography of deity marionettes

Have you ever found yourself slipping into the role of a puppeteer, secretly thinking you're the mastermind behind others' lives?

It's a curious irony of existence – this idea that we're the directors of everyone else's play.

We've all been there, utterly convinced that we hold the secret recipe for someone else's success, happiness, or whatever tickles our imagination. But here's the twist: it often boils down to us projecting our own dreams and missed chances onto their canvas.

Ah, but life loves throwing curveballs. Our elaborate plans, those dreams we yearn for others, might just be as foreign to them as speaking a different language.

It's like the universe gently teasing us, revealing that our best-laid intentions might not always sync with their heartbeat.

Consider my friend as an example.

At the tender age of six, his parents marched him to the piano, hoping to infuse his life with creativity and success. Fast forward a few years – he not only abandoned the piano but also everything remotely resembling musical instruments. Turns out, the piano wasn't his symphony; it was more like a discordant note.

As much as we might believe that our guidance can shape someone's destiny, there's a line to tread – a line between influence and imposition. Trying to mold someone according to our desires can sometimes have a counterproductive effect.

Picture this: You're nurturing a budding artist, and in your enthusiasm, you're hovering over their every brushstroke, offering unsolicited advice at every turn.

What started as genuine interest might soon morph into stifling oversight. Remember, just as a flower needs room to grow, so do their passions. Watering or giving too much fertilizer will only kill the plant.

In many instances, the more we push someone into a particular direction, the more likely they are to push back or veer off-course as they gain autonomy. The power we might have over them when they're dependent can quickly backfire once they find their footing.

The truth is, subjugation rarely leads to anything substantial. Even if their interests align with our aspirations, overbearing control can extinguish their passion. We might snuff out the spark, leaving them disillusioned and detached, despite their initial curiosity.

So, what's the alternative?

How can we guide without clutching too tightly? It starts with recognizing that each individual is a unique universe, complete with their own gravitational pulls and orbits.

Instead of orchestrating their every move, we can play the role of cosmic cartographers, helping them map their own journeys.

Empowerment comes from allowing them to navigate, even if it means taking a detour from our chosen route.

Like a mentor rather than a commander, we can offer insights, share experiences, and pose thought-provoking questions. This way, they're the explorers, and we're the beacons, lighting their paths.

And let's extend this understanding to our children too. Often, the dreams we harbor for them are intertwined with the dreams we once held for ourselves.

We might be driven by a desire for them to excel where we faltered. Yet, in this intricate dance, we must remember that they're the lead, choreographing their own story.

To encapsulate it all, the illusion of control is a delicate thread we must weave through our interactions. It's recognizing that our guidance can be a lantern in the dark, but it should never turn into a spotlight that blinds.

So, the next time you find yourself holding the strings, remember to let them dance to their own rhythm. It's a dance that flourishes with freedom and resonates with authenticity.


In a nutshell, unsolicited advice is like the side dish of human relationships – always there, but not always appreciated.

It's cool that we care, but let's give it a reality check. Is our advice genuinely a gift to them, or is it a regift of our own unrealized dreams?

So, what's the final takeaway from all this jibber-jabber?

Well, it's a bit like this: Imagine you're at a concert. You've got your own playlist, your own vibe, right? Now, think about everyone else in that same concert hall – they're grooving to their own beats too.

That's life – a grand concert with each person dancing to their unique rhythm. We can be in the audience, cheering them on, but we can't hop on stage and start singing for them.

So, as we wrap up this little chat about offering advice and trying to steer the ship, let's remember that our wisdom can be a spotlight that illuminates their path, not a searchlight that blinds them.

Their journey might have twists we don't see coming, and that's the magic of it all. We can share stories, sprinkle insights, and lend a hand, but the real magic happens when we let them take the lead.

And when it comes to our kids – those little stars in our lives – let's give them the space to sparkle on their own terms. Our dreams might be the chorus, but they're the ones singing the melody.

So, the next time you're itching to play advice guru, hit pause.

Are you putting yourself in their shoes, or are you secretly trying them on for yourself? Keep the focus on them, sprinkle some empathy, and let them play their own tunes. Offer advice with a dash of respect and a sprinkle of curiosity. And always applaud loudest for the unique journey each person is navigating.

Because in the end, it's their concert, their dance floor, and their chance to shine. Let's just enjoy the music and cheer them on, one beat at a time.

With love.