The Danger of Unsolicited Advice

The Danger of Unsolicited Advice

A core value of Forums is that each person shares only from their own personal experience and doesn’t share advice. I call this, “Speaking From The ‘I.'”

In a prior post, I used the analogy of slaying our own dragons to explain why “Speaking From The ‘I'” is an important part of Forum. But there is more to it than just mythological creatures.

A section of your brain that is about the size of two almonds is the cerebral amygdala. Fun Fact: The word amygdalae is derived from the Greek word amygdale, meaning ‘almond’. The amygdala is one of the oldest parts of our brain because one of its functions is to detect threats from the environment. If a threat is found, it secretes chemicals into your brain that puts you into a protective or intimidated mode. The result is that your brain and body react in a way to protect themselves from the perceived threats. Some call the amygdalae the “smoke detectors” of the body.

After researchers studied unsolicited feedback in subjects, they found that the brain, more specifically, the amygdala, reacts the same way as a threat to the body and goes into defensive mode.

Here are the two ways to counter this defensive mode for Forums:

  1. Always “Speak From The ‘I.'” Share from your own personal experience. If you don’t have relevant experience, then just don’t share.
  2. Create spaces in the Forum where someone can invite feedback. Some examples of this are during the “Blind Window”, “If this were my challenge…”, and a few different types of Presentations.

Forums are a space where members can be vulnerable with each other. If one member becomes defensive, that space is damaged. That’s why it’s better to stay away from unsolicited advice and only share from your own personal experience.