I finally made it back to Taiwan, and I am elated. Preparing to come back to Taiwan for an extended stay was simultaneously a tough and easy decision. On one hand, I knew I wanted to be here, on the other, the thought of relocating myself across the world was daunting. Another important aspect of making the move to Taiwan was talking to friends and family, and while doing so, I gleamed insight into how peoples advice reflects their life course.
One of my family members works a corporate job, and has done so for a very long time. She did not quite understand what I was doing, though never said anything negative to my face. However, I was aware from others in my family that she, more than once, espoused her opinion that I should stop messing around and get a “real job”. Of course “real job” means working for a salary in a corporation, but that is not my inclination at the moment, and I prefer to avoid it at all costs.
My father was also a bit confused by the whole situation, though never talked negatively about my decision. However, if it was up to him, I would be focusing on building up my martial arts credentials so I could make money teaching and working in martial arts. Interestingly enough, he is in the process of building a Taekwon-do school, plus he has been my coach for many years, so his opinion was not very surprising.
Then I have another relative with the complete opposite take. She had spent most of her life in the military, and lived in a couple of other countries. She was very encouraging about the my decision to live in Taiwan for a while. This was funny to me, because historically we have not talked much, and I felt she was out of touch with my perspective, but in this situation she understood my decision quite accurately.
I talked with many more people about my decision, mostly because I couldn’t avoid it, not because I was looking. While the responses varied from one person to another, one thing became clear: peoples personal experiences very heavily reflect their opinions and advice they might give you. This is not really surprising. In fact, many people might believe it goes without saying that peoples experiences bias their perspective. Though many people also believe THEY are GIVING non-biased advice when someone asks for it, including myself.
Remember this the next time you receive and give advice: you are not giving or receiving an objective answer from someone crunching the different variables through an unbiased equation. Someone is giving you an output based on their desires, failures, successes, and everything in between, and are you giving advice the same way.