No. 459



Here is a question I would like to invite you to ponder with me for a few minutes today. What is the best advice you have ever received? This question reminds me of a humorous story I heard one time about this truck driver who had been on the road for hours, was dead tired, and stopped at this all-night diner for something to eat. After taking a seat, a waitress came over to take his order and he said, "I would like to have two scrambled eggs, a sausage patty, some biscuits and gravy and some kind words." After a few minutes the waitress came back, set his order in front of him and turned to leave. He said, "Wait a minute, ma'am. What about those kind words?" At this point she leaned over and whispered where no one else could hear and said, "Don't eat them eggs."

Now, I don't know whether or not he took her advice, but it sounds like he would have been better off if he had. Believe it or not, this last statement contains the essence of what advice is all about. The dictionary says, "advice is counsel given to encourage or dissuade." When we seek someone's advice or whether we are the one giving it, the end result is to encourage someone to do something or to discourage them from doing it. Some examples of what I am saying might include advice as to whether or not to get married to a particular person, advice on making a dangerous trip, advice about taking a particular job that involves a lot of travel or moving your family to a strange city or town and so forth.

When we ask a person for advice, we are simply asking them to suggest the best course of action for us to take. This is not to say that we will allow this person to make the decision for us, but that we want more input before making the final decision ourselves. Obviously, the character and integrity of the people we seek out to ask for advice, along with their knowledge and experience, will go a long way in helping us become a happy, well adjusted and successful human being. As I look back over the years of my life, I am grateful for the people who were there to counsel me, guide me and to help me make wise choices. In a general sense, the times I would not listen to sound advice is when I really made a mess of things.

Here is another question that may be worth thinking about. Have there been times in your life when you wished you had listened when someone who loves you and had your best interests at heart tried to give you some good advice? In the final analysis, the choices we make are what determine our success or failure as a human being. What brought these thoughts to mind is a document my good friend Charles Rosson sent me the other day titled, "Good Old Fashioned Advice." This document contains 21 concise statements that can serve as good advice Ü advice that will help any of us make better choices Ü choices that will serve us well in the years to come.

Read these carefully and think about each one and see if you don't agree. No. 1.Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully. No. 2. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. No. 3. Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want. No. 4. When you say, "I love you," mean it. No. 5. When you say, "I'm sorry," look the person in the eye. No. 6. Be engaged at least six months before you get married. No. 7. Believe in love at first sight. No. 8. Never laugh at anyone's dreams Ü People who don't have dreams don't have much. No. 9. Love deeply and passionately. No. 10. In disagreements, fight fairly. No. 11. Don't judge people by their relatives.

No. 12. Talk slowly but think quickly. No. 13. When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile and ask, "Why do you want to know?" No. 14. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk. No. 15. Say, "Bless you" when you hear someone sneeze. No. 16. When you lose, don't lose the lesson. No. 17. Remember the three RÕs: Respect for self; Respect for others; and Responsibility for all your actions. No. 18. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship. No. 19. When you realize you have made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it. 20. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice. No. 21. Spend time alone with God every day.

The English poet and philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge once said, "Advice is like snow; the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into, the mind." Every once in a while I hear someone say, "That person is as solid as a rock." This means this person has refused to let pride stand in the way along the path of life and has taken some "Good Old Fashioned Advice." Hope there is something here you can use. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)