GMAT : Analysis of An Issue

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An Issue

7. The best way to give advice to other people is to find out what they want and then advise them how to attain it.


Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the opinion stated above. Support your views with reasons and / or examples from your own experience, observations or reading.


Is the best way to advise people to simply find out what they want and help them attain it? In my view, this method is generally not the best way to proceed in advising others. It ignores the plain truth that many people do not know what they want and do not know what is best for themselves.

My main reason for rejecting this technique is that people very rarely have any clear idea of what they want. This applies not only to consumer items such as clothing, cars and luxury items but also to what they want out of life in general. In fact, numerous studies have shown that most people cannot list the ten things they want most out of life even if given considerable time to think about it.

My second reason for rejecting this method is that more often than not what people want is not what is best for them. Parents continually face this problem when advising their children. For example, suppose a child wants to quit school and get a job. Surely, the parents would be derelict in helping their child attain this want instead of convincing the child that continuing education would be in his or her best interest.

Admittedly, following the proposed advising method would result in a high rate of compliance, since the person being advised would act consistently with his or her own will by following the advice. However, as noted above, acting according to what one wants is not necessarily desirable. Proponents of this method might also point to college counsellors as models of this technique. However, college counsellors should not necessarily be held up as models for advising people generally, let alone be models for advising students.

In conclusion, I do not agree that the best way to advise people is to find out what they desire and help them achieve it. In my estimation the pitfalls of such a technique outweigh any of its potential advantages.

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