The January 2023 Philosophy Book of the Month is Entanglement - Quantum and Otherwise by John K Danenbarger.

Don't take any advice from unhappy people.

Discuss the November 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, In It Together: The Beautiful Struggle Uniting Us All by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes.

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Don't take any advice from unhappy people.

Post by Scott »

This is a discussion forum topic for the November 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, In It Together: The Beautiful Struggle Uniting Us All.


I love and respect all people. However, in this human form, time, energy, money, and resources are very limited, so...

I don't take weight loss advice from morbidly obese people.

I don't take financial advice from financially poor people.

And I don't take any advice from unhappy people.


By unhappy people, I mean those who lack what I call "inner peace", meaning the consistent contentment of spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline).

Some people might call it "nirvana" or "the consistent joy of enlightenment". Some might just call it "true happiness". Some might just call it plain old happiness.

As a human writing to you right now, I consider myself to be someone who does consistently enjoy the true happiness and consistent contentment of free-spirited inner peace. In short, I consider myself to be happy, truly happy. As such, if you want advice from a happy person, here's my advice to you (offered politely for you to take or leave as you see fit): Don't take any advice from unhappy people.

That doesn't mean blindly do the opposite of what they advise either. As explained in the book, to blindly do the opposite of what one commands makes you just as much a slave to the commands. Rather, I simply suggest you disregard unhappy people's advice entirely, as much as reasonably possible.


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My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Surabhi Rani
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Re: Don't take any advice from unhappy people.

Post by Surabhi Rani »

It is rightly said that we should follow the policy of friendship with truly capable personalities in our lives and hence follow their advice as well.
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Re: Don't take any advice from unhappy people.

Post by Hager Salem »

I believe there could be exceptions. It may be that the unhappy person is aware of what made him unhappy; he just doesn't have the stamina to change it. Such a person can give you advice about what to stay away from if they are genuine.
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Re: Don't take any advice from unhappy people.

Post by Scott »

Hager Salem wrote: December 20th, 2022, 6:33 am I believe there could be exceptions. It may be that the unhappy person is aware of what made him unhappy; he just doesn't have the stamina to change it. Such a person can give you advice about what to stay away from if they are genuine.
Thank you for your reply, Hager! :)

Can you explain what you mean by 'exceptions' here exactly? Exceptions to what specifically?

Keep in mind, I never said nor would I say that all advice given by unhappy people is wrong, or that following the advice given by an unhappy person will always make you unhappy.

Even a broken a clock is right twice a day.

Thus, if you are asserting that sometimes unhappy people give good or correct advice, then that is not an exception to or a contradiction of anything I said.

I don't have time to listen to let alone put into practice and test out the advice from everybody (or even a significant of fraction of people), just like I don't have the time to check every clock in the world to research what time it is right now. If it would take equal time to check two different clocks, and I have only enough time to check one, I will always check the one that I believe is more reliable, which does not mean that the other one is always wrong.

For instance, if I only have time to take advice from one person or read one book, I'm not going to take the advice of someone who is 60% reliable when I can go with someone who is 70% reliable. And I'm not going to take advice from someone who is 70% reliable if I can go with someone who is 80% reliable.

If there wasn't plenty of people who have gone from rags to riches and proven their financial advice works to take advice from, maybe I would take advice from poor people. But that isn't the case so I do not take financial advice from poor people.

If there wasn't plenty of people who lost a good amount weight, and who have maintained a healthy weight for a long, and who have thereby proven their weight loss and maintenance strategies work to take advice from, then maybe I would take weight loss advice from obese people giving hypocritical advice that they do not use. But that isn't the case so I do not take weight loss advice from morbidly obese people.

Likewise, for the same reasons, I do not take any advice from unhappy people.

I can't think of any exceptions to the bolded statements above.


Thank you,
Scott
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: Don't take any advice from unhappy people.

Post by Sushan »

I think I can see the rationale behind not taking fitness advice (or advice to loose weight) from obese people, and not taking financial advice from poor people. And I think it is fair enough not to take advice regarding being happy from unhappy people. But why should we not take any advice from unhappy people? Being unable to see the happiness within, does it make a man worthless even to advice others regarding a field that he is an expert?
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
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Re: Don't take any advice from unhappy people.

Post by Sushan »

Scott wrote: December 23rd, 2022, 8:11 pm
Hager Salem wrote: December 20th, 2022, 6:33 am I believe there could be exceptions. It may be that the unhappy person is aware of what made him unhappy; he just doesn't have the stamina to change it. Such a person can give you advice about what to stay away from if they are genuine.
Thank you for your reply, Hager! :)

Can you explain what you mean by 'exceptions' here exactly? Exceptions to what specifically?

Keep in mind, I never said nor would I say that all advice given by unhappy people is wrong, or that following the advice given by an unhappy person will always make you unhappy.

Even a broken a clock is right twice a day.

Thus, if you are asserting that sometimes unhappy people give good or correct advice, then that is not an exception to or a contradiction of anything I said.

I don't have time to listen to let alone put into practice and test out the advice from everybody (or even a significant of fraction of people), just like I don't have the time to check every clock in the world to research what time it is right now. If it would take equal time to check two different clocks, and I have only enough time to check one, I will always check the one that I believe is more reliable, which does not mean that the other one is always wrong.

For instance, if I only have time to take advice from one person or read one book, I'm not going to take the advice of someone who is 60% reliable when I can go with someone who is 70% reliable. And I'm not going to take advice from someone who is 70% reliable if I can go with someone who is 80% reliable.

If there wasn't plenty of people who have gone from rags to riches and proven their financial advice works to take advice from, maybe I would take advice from poor people. But that isn't the case so I do not take financial advice from poor people.

If there wasn't plenty of people who lost a good amount weight, and who have maintained a healthy weight for a long, and who have thereby proven their weight loss and maintenance strategies work to take advice from, then maybe I would take weight loss advice from obese people giving hypocritical advice that they do not use. But that isn't the case so I do not take weight loss advice from morbidly obese people.

Likewise, for the same reasons, I do not take any advice from unhappy people.

I can't think of any exceptions to the bolded statements above.


Thank you,
Scott
I see your point there. But I still do not understand the relationship between being unhappy and being unreliable regarding most of the things. I think only a few number of people are peaceful within themselves. But I see experts in various fields which is a much greater number related to the former. So I think there are reliable people than people who are happy. And if my equation is correct a significant number of reliable people should be found in the group of unhappy people.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
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Re: Don't take any advice from unhappy people.

Post by Scott »

Scott wrote: December 23rd, 2022, 8:11 pm
If there wasn't plenty of people who have gone from rags to riches and proven their financial advice works to take advice from, maybe I would take advice from poor people. But that isn't the case so I do not take financial advice from poor people.

If there wasn't plenty of people who lost a good amount weight, and who have maintained a healthy weight for a long, and who have thereby proven their weight loss and maintenance strategies work to take advice from, then maybe I would take weight loss advice from obese people giving hypocritical advice that they do not use. But that isn't the case so I do not take weight loss advice from morbidly obese people.

Likewise, for the same reasons, I do not take any advice from unhappy people.
Sushan wrote: December 27th, 2022, 7:14 am I see your point there. But I still do not understand the relationship between being unhappy and being unreliable regarding most of the things.
The alleged correlation is that unhappy people are less reliable at giving advice that makes one happy. All else the same, by following the advice of unhappy people, one is more likely to become unhappy, as compared to following the advice of truly happy people (i.e. those who have consistent inner peace, or what some would call nirvana or enlightenment).

The reason that for me this expands to all advice about anything is that I value inner peace above everything else.

Anything else is at best a means to keeping my inner peace (a.k.a. true happiness).

For example, if given the choice between money and the wonderful consistent true happiness of consistent inner peace day in and day out, I would absolutely 100% choose the consistent true happiness of inner peace. So if an unhappy person was giving advice that if taken would lead to financial success but also unhappiness then I don't want to take it.

I would never choose to sacrifice the true glorious happiness of inner peace, of being truly happy day in day out throughout both the fleeting ups and downs of everyday life, through both times of bodily comfort and bodily discomfort.

When it comes to finding advisors from whom to take advice, the choice is usually not so limited. Sure, in line with what you've correctly said, there are plenty of rich unhappy people who are giving financial advice and are thus (because they have achieved riches using their own advice) reliable for financial advice but unreliable for happiness advice. But so too are there rich happy people from whom to take advice from, and I will always choose taking advice from the rich happy people than the rich unhappy people.

In short, my point (which doesn't contradict yours but it is compatible with it) is that if by some strange unusual circumstance I was forced to choose between either (1) taking a rich unhappy person's advice, versus (2) taking a poor happy person's advice, I would always choose #2, because I would rather be poor and happy than rich and miserable.

However, such is not the choice, since there are rich happy people from whom to take advice, who have gone from rags to riches using their advice but also achieved a state of nirvana-like true happiness which I call inner peace.
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: Don't take any advice from unhappy people.

Post by Sushan »

Scott wrote: December 28th, 2022, 3:26 pm
Scott wrote: December 23rd, 2022, 8:11 pm
If there wasn't plenty of people who have gone from rags to riches and proven their financial advice works to take advice from, maybe I would take advice from poor people. But that isn't the case so I do not take financial advice from poor people.

If there wasn't plenty of people who lost a good amount weight, and who have maintained a healthy weight for a long, and who have thereby proven their weight loss and maintenance strategies work to take advice from, then maybe I would take weight loss advice from obese people giving hypocritical advice that they do not use. But that isn't the case so I do not take weight loss advice from morbidly obese people.

Likewise, for the same reasons, I do not take any advice from unhappy people.
Sushan wrote: December 27th, 2022, 7:14 am I see your point there. But I still do not understand the relationship between being unhappy and being unreliable regarding most of the things.
The alleged correlation is that unhappy people are less reliable at giving advice that makes one happy. All else the same, by following the advice of unhappy people, one is more likely to become unhappy, as compared to following the advice of truly happy people (i.e. those who have consistent inner peace, or what some would call nirvana or enlightenment).

The reason that for me this expands to all advice about anything is that I value inner peace above everything else.

Anything else is at best a means to keeping my inner peace (a.k.a. true happiness).

For example, if given the choice between money and the wonderful consistent true happiness of consistent inner peace day in and day out, I would absolutely 100% choose the consistent true happiness of inner peace. So if an unhappy person was giving advice that if taken would lead to financial success but also unhappiness then I don't want to take it.

I would never choose to sacrifice the true glorious happiness of inner peace, of being truly happy day in day out throughout both the fleeting ups and downs of everyday life, through both times of bodily comfort and bodily discomfort.

When it comes to finding advisors from whom to take advice, the choice is usually not so limited. Sure, in line with what you've correctly said, there are plenty of rich unhappy people who are giving financial advice and are thus (because they have achieved riches using their own advice) reliable for financial advice but unreliable for happiness advice. But so too are there rich happy people from whom to take advice from, and I will always choose taking advice from the rich happy people than the rich unhappy people.

In short, my point (which doesn't contradict yours but it is compatible with it) is that if by some strange unusual circumstance I was forced to choose between either (1) taking a rich unhappy person's advice, versus (2) taking a poor happy person's advice, I would always choose #2, because I would rather be poor and happy than rich and miserable.

However, such is not the choice, since there are rich happy people from whom to take advice, who have gone from rags to riches using their advice but also achieved a state of nirvana-like true happiness which I call inner peace.
Thank you for the elaboration. I now see your point. I too value being happy.

In the practical world we see mundane happiness in most occasions and spiritual happiness in relatively less occasions. And I must say that I value the both.

And at the same time it is good to be rich. It will provide one with many opportunities and facilities, leading for mundane happiness. Although mundane happiness and comforts can lead one towards dark ventures, it can also make a person's mind ready to go along a spiritual pathway. However, practically we need money. But to be happy at the same time we have to earn it through correct ways. I think those who are rich and happy at the same time are the ones who have earned money in right ways. So, even in that sense, it is better to select the happy one to get advice rather than the unhappy one. I agree with you.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
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Re: Don't take any advice from unhappy people.

Post by Joannasbookshelf »

I really appreciate this! It makes me think of the saying, “you are who you surround yourself with.” If you surround yourself with unhappy people, you too will become unhappy.
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Re: Don't take any advice from unhappy people.

Post by Lydia Matson »

I disagree with this actually. While the overall idea of what you're saying makes sense, it's too generalized. What if a morbidly obese person is that way because of a chronic disease, but actually is a master of nutrition? What if someone is financially struggling because of their family situation or because they're having to pay for extra healthcare, but learns to navigate their situation and still survive?

People who have diagnosed depression are often more intelligent. Plenty of people are unhappy because they simply know too much about the world. I find myself feeling unhappy at times, I wouldn't consider myself an unhappy person, but being unhappy does not make me any less adept at giving advice.
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Re: Don't take any advice from unhappy people.

Post by Hannah Jones 8 »

The best bit of advice I have ever received is as follows.
"Don't take advice from anyone you wouldn't want to swap - at least part of their - lives with". If you stick by this philosophy and keep things simple, always be grateful and understand that happiness (true happiness) comes from withIN, and not withOUT then you'll be gracious and happy no matter what.
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Re: Don't take any advice from unhappy people.

Post by ilze herholdt »

I completely understand the meaning behind not taking advice from unhappy people. Because they won't have advice on how to be happy/ stay happy. The consistent contentment of spiritual freedom is something not everyone can truly understand or even believe in. Overall, happiness is a choice, you choose to be happy.
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Re: Don't take any advice from unhappy people.

Post by Alex Reeves »

Come to think of it, these so-called unhappy people may have been through many experiences that brought them to where they find themselves. They may have a thing or two, that is, lessons and advice to give someone who they think is going through the same path they went through that brought them to where they are. They're unhappy not because they wish to be, but because of some decisions they made that landed them in trouble and caused their unhappiness. Such people will surely have something to tell others to prevent them from going astray. An obese person can tell you not to eat junk because it was junkfood that made him obese. A poor person can advice you not to invest in crypto because crypto made him broke, and so on. So I believe that unhappy people or poor people or obese people may tell you things that will help you not to walk the path they did that made them what they are, thereby helping you to avoid being like them.
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Re: Don't take any advice from unhappy people.

Post by Bertha Jackson »

I think it depends on why the person is unhappy. If a person is unhappy because their loved one has died or left them, and they give me advice for the same reason, I may listen to them. Many people tried to advise me when my husband died, but they had never experienced what I was going through, so I did not listen to them. However, I had unhappy people, who had recently gone through the same experience, and I tended to listen to what they had to say more closely than the others.
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Re: Don't take any advice from unhappy people.

Post by Alex Reeves »

Bertha Jackson wrote: January 25th, 2023, 3:02 pm I think it depends on why the person is unhappy. If a person is unhappy because their loved one has died or left them, and they give me advice for the same reason, I may listen to them. Many people tried to advise me when my husband died, but they had never experienced what I was going through, so I did not listen to them. However, I had unhappy people, who had recently gone through the same experience, and I tended to listen to what they had to say more closely than the others.
I'm really sorry about your husband's death. I absolutely agree with you. People who haven't experienced grief or loss just try to be sympathetic as much as they can, but when they start giving you advice, it's a different thing altogether because they just don't understand the extent of your sorrow. It's certainly better to listen to people who have been through similar experiences.
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