False news is talked about a lot these days. I never grew up knowing that there was fake news. It bothers us to hear this now. As it is exposed, we see how it can mislead us. Much of it looks real and believable.
Opinions, on a personal level, resemble fake news in many ways. When someone gives us their opinion it usually seems credible and believable. We usually tend to believe those that are similar to our thinking and reject those that seem very different from what we believe.
There are two main difficulties with opinions. The first is that opinions don’t reveal their assumptions or risks. The second is that their accuracy or value depends heavily on the prior experience that the giver of an opinion has around the context of the opinion they are giving.
Assumptions and risks are something we don’t look at before embracing an opinion. It is quite helpful to understand these things to see if they are reasonable and whether or not there are things missing from either one. The gaps in assumptions or considered risks might change an opinion and its value. (Remember, we quickly give someone our opinion without ever going through this analysis ourselves.)
The second difficulty is that we generally seek out opinions from our friends. The problem with this is that they, most likely, will have had similar life experiences to ourselves. As a result, they may have no experience in the area we are seeking help. The opinion they give us is simply from logic that has no grounding in real life experience. (I am guilty of this during the first half of my adult life. The result was that I learned little and made too many mistakes by going to friends for their opinion on business issues that they had no real experience with.)
When struggling to decide to change jobs, you should seek out someone who has recently changed jobs rather that listen to a friend who is both employed and happy at their current position.
Looking to buy your first home? You are better served by listening to someone who has experienced the mortgage process and a home search. Your friend who has rented all of their lives, like you at this moment, will give you an opinion that has much less value than someone who has experienced the process.
As you see, opinions given to us daily are never of the same value. Yet we tend to treat them as if they were the same. So the confusing part is not what each offers, but what is the thinking behind them and what life experience does the person giving the opinion have? We need to do some work on our own to determine the value of what we just heard. (Remember again, every opinion you hear has a different, NOT THE SAME, value!)
Understanding that relying on our own thinking by itself is not as good as seeking out good advice and opinions is only the first step in this process. Being aware of the difficulties when seeking out opinions and working to understand their assumptions, risks and the experience level of the person you are listening to are keys to finding more effective help to move you past your current struggle.