Beware of Advice Without Context or Understanding

I woke up in the middle of the night with a random thought. It was good enough for me to get up and write it down. This morning, I was curious to see if it made any sense, since it was written while I was half-asleep.

Thankfully, it actually did make sense.

Now what was so important for me to write down when I should have been sleeping?

Apparently, I was pondering advice before going to bed, and my non-conscious mind kept processing the topic while I slept.

Days or weeks ago, I found some wisdom I’d like to share with you. I’m not sure where it came from — probably a book — or else I would quote it.

Essentially, the concept was this: Beware of advice. Do not grant advice power over you or let it deter you from your course. Advice should not be confused with wise counsel. The giver of the advice does not know what God is doing in your life, and their advice is likely out of context and irrelevant to your unique situation.


It reminds me of a story from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. An eye doctor excitedly hands his far-sighted patient his own pair of glasses, since they have helped him for two decades now. Surely they will work for the patient, too!

Yeah, that’s not gonna work.

Which leads right into the note written by my sleep-brain:

Advice without context and understanding isn’t advice at all — it’s just opinion!

Upon conscious reflection, I agree — with myself.

Without both context and understanding, so-called advice is merely opinion. It is well-intentioned but useless. It should not distract you from your purpose. It should not redirect your life.

This kind of advice can largely be ignored. We all have enough opinions from others to last several lifetimes, and we do not need to collect more.

Opinions are everywhere and are nearly worthless.

Wisdom, on the contrary, is much harder to find.

How do you know the difference between opinions and wise counsel?