Many people are quite willing and ready to share their opinions with you. There are two problems with this. First, many people typically state their opinions as fact, and waste no time in letting you know that you ought to think and act the way they do. Second, it may be difficult to determine that the source of what you are being told, is either a “voice of value”, or a voice lacking value.
What exactly is a Voice of Value?
A Voice of Value is one that you can trust, and that shares valuable advice to help add to and refine your personal philosophy, beliefs and attitudes. In short, it is a voice of someone who will add value to you. You want to find these people so that you may continually add to and expand your capacity, capabilities, and skills and continually refine your personal philosophy so that you become more valuable. This is the process of growth and maturity.
Sifting through the Chaff to find the Wheat
But how can you tell whether the voice belongs to a trustworthy and serious person who would steer you in a good and right direction and not have you dashed against the rocks? Here are 5 things to consider that I have successfully used in determining whether the voice is of value or would distort your moral compass.
1 – You have known the source for some time, and they have previously shared valuable advice.
2 – You can verify what the person is telling you from another trusted source (this is verifying the “advice”).
3 – The source has been recommended to you by another trusted person (this is verifying the “source”).
4 – The advice appears ethically and morally sound and can be vetted from these points of view. Additionally, as you “quiet” yourself and think of what is being said and recommended, the still small voice inside you tells you that it is right and good.
5 – The advice is not inconsistent with your direction, your plan, and your ability and skills in getting it implemented, or if not part of your direction, would not be contrary to your current direction if you were to adopt it. It would in fact be, complementary.
Life can constantly present you with opportunities for growth and improvement. Most of the time, you must seek out these opportunities. Jim Rohn used to say that rarely does a good idea interrupt you. You have to go looking for it. So as you look, remember that the idea or advice can come from anywhere, from anyone, at anytime, like from a wizened old farmer at a corn stand (see my post Sage Advice From Not So Ordinary People). The key is to determine whether the idea, advice, or opportunity is a “right” one, or one that would divert you from your course or get you in real trouble.
Can you share examples of advice you have been given, and how you would have been able to use one of the 5 checkpoints above to separate the chaff from the wheat? Share your comments with us. I am keenly interested in what you have to say about Voices of Value.