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People get advice all the time, but they rarely follow it even if they accept it as good advice.Why does this happen?
Art Markman, Ph.D, a psychology professor at the University of Texas, explains the reason in a column at Psychology Today.
He cites a recent study in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, which suggests that “advice givers and advice takers differ in how abstractly they think about situations.”
“People giving advice are making suggestions for other people. So, advice givers will think about a situation more abstractly than advice takers,” writes Markman.
“Because ideals are generally abstract concepts that people are trying to live up to, those ideals are more likely to make an appearance in advice than they are to play a role in actual choices.”
Advice focuses on the “ideal” course of action, but when people are presented with a situation, they don’t focus on the abstract. Instead, they’re dealing with all the details, and go with the easy-to-perform actions even if they don’t live up to what the ideal would dictate.
So what should you do to apply advice to reality?
You just need to be aware of how you’re looking at a situation. Sometimes, you need to just think abstractly about what you’re doing, according to Markman.
“To strike the right balance between our ideals and our need to get things completed, it is important both to think about the events of our lives from close up and from far away,” writes Markman.
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