Giving Advice

Think about this scenario: A high-school student is making major life decisions about what to do after graduation. The student is thinking about what will happen if they do poorly in school. If that happens, the future looks a little dark. Where does this belief stem from? It Is So, according to their elders. For example they may have heard something along the lines of: "It will be hard to find a good job." However the reality in situations like this is fairly vague. A large chunk of this future is left entirely up to chance. Chance flies in the face of this written-in-stone style of prediction. A better way for elders to help a student is to identify and rank What Will Happen If scenarios. What will happen if the student attends a trade school? What will happen if the student attends a university and graduates with mediocre grades? What will happen if the student gets a job after university that pays very, very well despite mediocre grades? What if the student's job consumes his or her life and he or she ends up dying lonely and pessimistic? What are all of the possible things that could happen and what are their consequences? Now which ones are likely enough to be worth mentioning? Telling a student what to do with their life is probably not going to have a good effect. Instead consider enabling the student to make decisions rather than trying to guide the student.

Additionally, those best equipped to solve a problem are those with the problem. Often when advice is dolled out, only a small portion of the full information is available to the person giving the advice. Given the relatively small amount of information, how could an accurate prediction possibly be made?