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Give Yourself Good Advice

Use a mental board of advisors to give yourself good advice.

By
Stever Robbins
July 7, 2009
Episode #090

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Today's topic is how to brainstorm good advice for yourself. The quick and dirty tip is to use a mental board of advisors.

Why Use Advisors?

Some people are umpires for college rugby. It gives meaning to their lives, and an excuse to get paid for playing in the mud. I send out the Get-it-Done Guy’s world-wide messages of peace, love, and file folders, but I’m also a business and strategy advisor to entrepreneurs. I’m more serious in that role, and almost never mention zombies unless that’s part of our business model. You can read some of my entrepreneurship articles in this episode’s transcript. Advising gives meaning to my life, and an excuse to talk back to CEOs and have them grovel for my approval.

Even smart people use advisors, because you make better decisions when you have different perspectives to call on. It’s also fun to have advisors with opposing ideas. You can entertain yourself by tossing out a provocative statement and watching them fight over it. “Let’s build our new office space entirely out of peanut butter! Should we use chunky or smooth? Discuss.”

Boards of Advisors Aren’t Just for CEOs Any More

When I was a kid, I wanted to be an astronaut. NASA wouldn’t take me because I had no depth perception, a wandering eye, and I was only six. But Kennedy Space Center would sell me a cardboard lunar lander. My imaginary friend and I would get inside and pretend to be flying through space. I loved that lunar lander. I kept it until it literally fell apart. I think what finally got to it was the rain during college graduation (I flunked out, but my imaginary friend graduated summa cum laude from MIT).

Yes, my imaginary friend was smarter. It turns out we can imagine smart friends, and they actually give us good advice. If you want to make better decisions that save you time, money, and hassle, create an imaginary board of advisors.

Consult Your Board

Then when you’re faced with a difficult situation or decision, go to your quiet place (the one in your mind, not the real one with the padded walls) and have a mental conversation with your board members. You’ll be amazed how good their advice can be.

For example, let’s say you’re a teenager going on a date. Your mental board of advisors includes Keanu Reeves, Heidi Klum and Jack Black. You ask, “How can I make this date a total success?” Keanu says, “Dude, take your date somewhere really sticky floors so they’re stuck in place and have to kiss you back.” Then you remember that he’s still single despite being rich, handsome, and known to a billion people world-wide. So you ask Heidi. She says “A girl likes to be treated with respect. Open the door for her. Treat her right. And boys like someone who can talk to them respectfully, as an equal.” Sounds reasonable. Finally, you ask Jack. “Guys like to be put in their place, preferably with free pizza. And girls like someone who can beat them at beer pong.” Now you have three different perspectives. All you have to do is choose the one that seems like it fits this situation.

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