You know those little penny trays on the checkout counter near the register at your local convenience store or gas station? They are usually a specially-made plastic tray or a homemade tray made from a repurposed cardboard tray or jar lid, but there is almost always a sign next to it written in black Sharpie that says “Leave-A-Penny / Take-A-Penny” — meaning if you need to take a penny to make change during checkout to go ahead and help yourself. It also serves as an invitation to those with an extra penny or two after they get their change to leave it behind to help the next person. I think the same philosophy that applies to these penny trays also applies to personal advice.
People post their advice on social media, in blogs, in books, in YouTube videos, on podcasts, and in email newsletters. If you need the advice to make change in your life, help yourself. And if you’ve run across advice that you found helpful, then leave some extra behind for the next person.
You might run across advice you don’t need while you’re reading blog posts or listening to podcasts or attending webinars — that’s okay. Just leave it in the tray. Someone may come along after you that needs those insights at that exact moment and it will be there for them.
Just because someone offers advice doesn’t mean that you have to take it.
You can simply say no thank you, this isn’t for me, and leave it for the next person to take advantage of (or not).
When you think about all the advice out there as pennies in a tray which can be taken when needed or added to when you have insights to share with others, it makes those old cliches of “a penny for your thoughts” and “here’s my two cents worth” make a lot more… cents.