Why don’t we take our own advice?

Most of us like to think we're pretty good at dishing out wisdom to our friends and family, but why is that we often can't take our own advice - even when we know it's the right course of action?

Psychologists now say the Solomon Paradox is to blame, when it comes to the inability to take our own advice; that is we tend to reason more wisely about other people's problems than our own.

The reason for this isn't as complex as we think, but essentially, it comes down to the difference in the process that we undertake internally in solving dilemmas.

Working on our own problems takes a different set of psychological skills than the ones we employ to deal with problems concerning others. When dealing with a friend's issues, for example, we tend to focus on two to three core issues while placing them in the context of the 'big picture'. In short we see their problems through a telescope.

However, when confronted with our own issues, we look at them through a microscope. We fail to see the problem in a wider context and often focus on smaller details - scrutinising them out of the wider context.

But while this is a normal human reaction, knowing how we make these decisions can help us overcome the paradoxical barrier - and help us take our own advice for once.

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