Giving unsolicited advice is a habit I’ve attempted to break my whole life with unanimous urging from close friends and family members. They find my “propensity to meddle” irritating.

For example, in my early adult years, I felt it was necessary to solve the Madison, Wisconsin School Crisis by informing the principal and teachers of Glendale Elementary School that parents were humiliated when they were expected to sit in the tiny children’s chairs at parent-teacher conferences. Although, at the time, I believed I was speaking for parents across America, all I accomplished was ticking off and totally embarrassing my two elementary school kids.

It didn’t get any better as I aged. My self-perceived acumen on everything from marriage counseling to window repairs was requested by no one but showered on all who crossed my path. In the meantime, I sought little or no advice from good friends who had much to offer. My obsession for meddling into the problems of near strangers kept me a safe distance from working on my own issues, which could have kept Dr. Phil busy for a decade.

However, I’ve recently been making strides to remain silent, even when I think I have something constructive to offer. It’s as if I’ve taken on the demeanor of a savvy basketball coach who accepts the six turnovers his team has committed and asks the players how they think they should break the full-court press.

Thanks to the persistent assistance of my loving critics, I’ve emerged as a quieter kind of guy, one who is more apt to seek advice from others than to stick his nose in other people’s business.

Let my lifelong struggle serve as a lesson to each of you. Be open to the advice of others rather than always attempting to dish it out.

Do you hear me? I know what’s best for you.