Everybody has an opinion. One is bombarded with advice on how to love, how to be happy, how to find fulfillment, how to make money, where to invest, what to wear, which attitudes to imbibe ...
Which opinions should you listen to, and which ones should you regard as entertainment?
The first rule is to disregard those opinions which constitute a moral hazard. A "moral hazard" is not about morality, but about accountability. If someone is paid to offer advice, but the advice carries no guarantees, the advice is a scam.
A guru offers you life-altering advice. He is paid to act wise. But he disowns any responsibility when your life goes haywire. Buyer beware.
A chairperson from a gender studies department in a university writes a bitter book about how to act towards the opposite gender. That book costs money. And she is in a tenured position. But when you are going through a child custody battle, she has little money to offer for the child's maintenance, but instead asks you to get it from the "child's father". Whoa there!
A broker sends you investment advice, but puts in a disclaimer about absence of liability. That's a joke.
A management "leader" or "consultant" offers a seminar costing a bomb. A lot of suckers go to such events. But he is not there to recompense you if his advice backfires. He is laughing his way to the bank.
An advertiser pushes a product on you. He is paid to do so. You indirectly pay him if you buy the product. Can you take him to court for misleading you? You must be out of your mind.
A movie describes dating to you, and how to have a fun one-night-stand. And you paid to watch it. Enough said.
NGOs, which would otherwise go out of business, tell you to not get your kid vaccinated because vaccines are "harmful". Will they compensate you if your kid died of a disease?
The lesson is: take advice only from those people who, if you suffer, will suffer as well. Listen to your parents, your spouse, your closest friends, your manager and your subordinates. Read papers in scientific peer-reviewed journals as the scientific reputation of the writer is at stake. You don't have to agree with them, but their advice is valuable in that it does not carry a "moral hazard".
Any other advice, treat as entertainment. Nothing is for free. And if you are getting a message for free, look closer at who is paying the speaker and whether his reputation depends on it being falsified.
The second rule is to evaluate whether the advice has helped the adviser, or whether it is being applied in their own lives.
Gurus will tell you not to be materialistic. Are they themselves living a spartan life, as per their guidance?
Shrill spinsters will rail against patriarchy ruining the possibility of a happy marriage. Do they continue to be in a happy relationship after discovering the secret?
Politicians urge you to work for the nation. Religious leaders ask you to be deeply devotional and humble. Do they look like they are themselves altruistic or devotional or humble?
Such advice should be considered perversely educational in making you reconsider the forces which lead to a state of non-patriotism, domestic violence, materialism. Do not discard a long-standing tradition without understanding how it evolved, and what forces were historically responsible for its growth.
The third rule is to look for humility and the admission of fallibility. If the adviser gets angry when you disagree with him, or if she starts calling you names and takes criticism as a personal affront, or if there is no way the opinions can be verified or falsified, you will be wasting your time in arguing with such a person.
Truthy conclusions and firm, categorical, eternal statements sound wise, but are usually anything but.