Pearls Before Swine

… means giving something of value to someone who won’t appreciate it.

You may know the solution to someone’s problem, you may have good advice, you may have gone through something similar to what someone is currently going through, and you have an extremely simple trick for them that will make their problems disappear, but when you offer them your opinion, they dismiss it without thinking and that drives you crazy. 

Often people do not see that they have a problem and if you try to tell them that they are not doing something or are not thinking correctly, they will experience it as a personal attack.

The most obvious example are weekend alcoholics. When you tell them they should stop drinking, they will say they only drink when they go out and see nothing wrong with it. There is a clear difference between those who go out and have a few drinks from those who go out to get drunk, but not in the eyes of weekend alcoholics.

When they finally find a problem, people often fail to accurately identify the cause of the problem, especially if the root of the problem lies in them.

If you can find the cause of their problems, your impulse will be to let them know how to solve the problem; you will offer them methods to remove or change something that they have not identified as something that should be removed or changed, and that means that you will encounter resistance.

A typical example are obese or sick people who do not know the cause of the disease or excess weight. They will never accept your advice; moreover, they will blame everything on genetics or some other factor that cannot be influenced instead of changing some eating and exercise habits.

Changing something requires taking some steps, creating extra work, getting out of the comfort zone and changing the status quo, which is usually difficult for people to do. Most people won’t change until they experience a serious illness, the death of a loved one, or some other dark and hopeless situation.

Therefore, when someone tells you that they have a problem, do not simply give them a solution, but try to help them find the cause of the problem, but so that it seems to them that they have come to a discovery by themselves, and only then serve the solution.

If a person rejects your proposal even then, you can say that you have done everything in your power to help them, and move on.

And, yes, I get the irony of this post.


I get the irony of this post.