We often choose to believe that successful people achieve their successes through their own hard work and talent. But the truth is that everyone, even those who became great figures in history, relied on a little help.

Choosing the right advice to follow_header

Frederick Lindemann, Quintus Salvidienus Rufus and Harry Hopkins. While these names don’t stand out in the history books, they played important roles as advisers to the world’s most famous leaders in history.

Lindermann was a British physicist and prime scientific adviser to former UK Prime Minister, Winston Churchill. Rufus was a Roman general and close confidant of Julius Caesar. Hopkins helped former US president Franklin D Roosevelt determine US foreign policy during World War 2.

Great leaders understand the importance of relying on those who are skilled and highly experienced in their field to help them make accurate decisions. We all need someone who we feel we can turn to in times of confusion and difficulty. The advice we receive can have a lasting impact on the decisions we make and how we lead our lives.

hand holding binoculars

The challenges of seeking advice

Being open to the suggestions of others requires self-awareness and a willingness to trust the expertise of your adviser. However, this is not always easy, and often there are obstacles that prevent us from accepting the advice of others, particularly when it clashes with our own views. These obstacles can also get in the way of receiving accurate advice.

Thinking you already have the answers

People sometimes seek advice for validation or praise. They do this when they believe they have already solved the problem but would like affirmation from a peer or someone in a leadership position.

Poor communication around the problem

Advice seekers are often so focused on finding a solution to their problem that they communicate their issues around the problem ineffectively. They omit important details, leave out background information or skew information to suit their desired outcome.

Choosing the wrong advisers

Studies have shown that people are naturally drawn to seek advice from friends or other likeable people. Consciously or sub-consciously they seek out advisers who mirror or validate their beliefs.

Beware the confirmation bias

Confirmation bias is the tendency to actively search for and accept information that matches your perceived notions and beliefs. We gravitate towards confirmation bias for the following reasons:

    1. Less mental stress: When we battle with two conflicting ideas, we experience cognitive dissonance. This can lead to irrational thoughts and decision-making as we battle to resolve opposing thoughts.
    2. Confidence booster: If advice or information affirms our existing opinions, beliefs and desires it confirms that we are right and intelligent.
    3. Convenient and efficient: Most people don’t have the time to wade through every bit of information that’s out there to make unbiased decisions. Confirmation bias helps us to make decisions faster.

Whose advice to trust

Navigating the minefield of who to trust can be challenging, but it’s important that you find someone who puts your interests first. The following characteristics are key.

A genuine interest in helping you

A good adviser is passionate about what they do and wants to solve your problem. They listen to your concerns and advise you accordingly. Most importantly, they value your opinion and take your views into consideration to find a solution that benefits you and meets your long-term plans.

They enjoy new challenges and approach these challenges with a positive attitude.

High level of expertise

Knowledge and in-depth experience are critical. In certain industries advisers are required to belong to a regulatory body or obtain a qualification before being able to provide advice.

Effective communication skills

A good adviser is not afraid to be transparent and can communicate the problem and solution in clear, simple language that is understood by all. They don’t hide behind terminology and industry jargon that can affect your ability to make a decision.

Sets and achieves goals

Setting clearly defined goals is critical to your success and is a distinctive trait of an experienced adviser. They understand that progress and success is driven by productive goal setting.


When you first make contact, they should be clear about the process to be followed, fees to be exchanged and the end result that can be expected. Simply put, the adviser should be able to provide you with a step-by-step guideline on how they are going to help you achieve your goal.

Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing. – Warren Buffet

At Sable Explore, we believe we have the optimum blend of experience, skills and communication capacity to advise you on your options. We take our values of care, solve, grow and enjoy seriously, and pride ourselves on being upfront, honest and transparent so you know exactly what to expect.

For over two decades we have been advising a wide range of personal and business clients. Our areas of expertise include nationality, wealth management, accounting, tax and international money transfers. Giving our clients the best possible customer experience is at the heart of what we do.

Sable Explore offers a full-scale assessment of your current circumstances and goals. We have over 20 years’ experience in international citizenship that you will have at your disposal to understand your options, draw up your unique plan and implement it. Get in touch at +27 (0) 21 657 1507 or explore@sableinternational.com.

We are a professional services company that specialises in cross-border financial and immigration advice and solutions.

Our teams in the UK, South Africa and Australia can ensure that when you decide to move overseas, invest offshore or expand your business internationally, you'll do so with the backing of experienced local experts.