Last week I had a skype call with Kevin about the customer development interviews. Towards the end of the call Kevin said, “I am sorry I did not give you any advice. All I did, was to voice my opinion”.
Opinion vs. advice. Advice is generally directed towards the listener and it is about the speaker. The person giving the advice will try to place himself in your shoes and give you a hypothetical guidelines on what should be done in the situation. The advice is not about the speaker, he has not been there, and it is not about the listener, he is not the one talking. It is somewhere in between and it is about nobody in particular. Advice is entertaining to listen to, it does not lead us to the painful truth and most of the times it is, well, useless. How many great things have been done by following an advice? Probably not too many. Advice lacks personality.
Opinion. Opinion always belongs to the person talking. Thus, it is personal. It is about the one. It does not require speaker to talk about any hypothetical situation. Opinion is real. A lot of times it is vertical (meaning, it does not spread out all over the place). It is sometimes painful. It is always powerful. The listener is not an active subject. Thus, at the receiving end we learn to listen. Period. We learn to listen. I want to make sure we all get this. Listen. Not talk. And we learn to be open to change our point of view based on what we hear. From this change sprouts our growth. Btw, have you noticed, advice often does the contrary, it closes us up?
We value opinions. They propel the change. The good ones are based on thoughts, not on cliches. The best are powered by passion.
Next time, please, write what you really think, your opinion.
Barcelona, February 26th 2013