I LOVE reading advice columns and gravitate toward any sort of instructional teachings in general. That’s probably why The Dear Abby and Erma Bombeck infatuations of my youth, have led my down the digital rabbit hole of today’s podcasts, Am I The Asshole (AITA) Sub Reddits, Ted Talks, and Twitter feeds not to mention a whole host of Instagram creatives and guidance givers.
Since social media affords me an unlimited supply of free advice and millions of people happy to supply it, I also enjoy harshly judging those who spew bullshit generalizations lacking any nuance to promote their brands, ideas and suggestions. Because of that, like the proverbial Oscar speech given to one’s hairbrush, I take pleasure in imagining what I’d say if I were being paid to inform others (while sitting on a televised panel in front of a live, studio audience, of course).
I’m pretty sure I’d be awesome at it.
Since stumbling upon thought provoking advice really excites me, nothing thrills me more lately than reading the daily offerings of The Washington Post’s, Carolyn Hax.
Hax, who is neither a counselor, nor a social worker, “…fell into column writing almost accidentally. She graduated with a degree in History and Literature but had no clue what to do with it. A brief stint as a paralegal turned her off of a career in law, but her knack for grammar landed her a job in journalism. Soon she was editing for The Army Times, the media outlet for the armed forces. That led to a gig news editing at The Washington Post. There, while casually talking to superior about an advice columnist who neither of them liked, Hax blurted out, “What you really need is a snotty 30-year-old writing the column.” They both turned to each other and inspiration struck. “It was just one of those moments,” she says.” ~ The Crimson
For those who lack a Post subscription or read a local paper too dumb to syndicate her column, I will share with you the great tidbit I got from her today. Although this was in response to a cheating spouse feeling obligated to their wife, I’m fairly certain her answer could apply to most questions posed by a plethora of people in an unusual number of situations:
“1. You don’t get to decide the outcome here. 2. You decide only what you contribute to it. 3. The better your contribution, the better the outcome. You aren’t off to an impressive start. That, however, doesn’t preclude a stunning come-from-behind victory for your more honorable self. Start orchestrating it now.”~ Carolyn Hax
Awww, yes. The better your contribution, the better the outcome.
Text that to your friend the next time she asks for advice for the problem she’s been trying and failing to solve since 2007.
And if that doesn’t motivate her, send her this:
Click here to watch the above, Marc Rebillet clip in all his creative, looping, glory. Here to read Hax’s full column if you have a subscription, and here to follow the photographer of my featured image on Unsplash.