Don’t shoot the messenger

Sanne Burger

1 November 2020

If I meet you at the foot of the Himalayas
And you ask me: Should I go to the top today?
I might say: Well, it’s probably going to snow and hail, so I suggest you don’t go
Wait until the weather improves

You can then respond in several ways
You can say: Oh, you’re such a pessimist
You are so negative about the weather
I don’t like you
I’m going anyway

Or you can say: Thank you
Thank you for the advice, mate
And then you can still decide whether you want to go or not

With your first response, you shoot the messenger
With your second response, you respect the messenger

It’s the same the other way around
If you ask me what the weather is going to be
And I say: This is a perfect day to climb to the top
The weather hasn’t been that ideal in months
Then you can say: Oh, you’re such a nice person
Thank you for brightening my day

But actually, I am not a nice person
I am just neutral
I am just giving you the facts

When I inform you of the facts
When I tell you the truth
Don’t blame me for it
Don’t judge me for it
Don’t shoot me for it
But don’t put me on a pedestal either
Because I will definitely fall off

You have to distinguish between the person and the message
Also, you have to know what someone’s advice is worth
If this person at the foot of the Himalayas is just another tourist
Blurting out his random opinion, just because you asked him a question
You’re an idiot when you follow his advice

If this person is a local guide though, who has been on the top many times
You’re an idiot NOT to follow his advice

You need to have discernment
It is discernment that will bring you where you want to be

Sanne Burger


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