I am often surprised at how long it takes someone to give an answer for something or to embrace a new thought. I don’t know why I am surprised, but I am. Maybe it is because if someone asked me a question or presented me with something new to explore, I would dive into it with my whole being. Instead, I see people shy away from “the new thing” or get paralyzed when trying to providing an answer. They prioritize the request or thing relative to whatever else is on their plate. The less they know about something or the more afraid they are about it, the further down the list it goes. Frustrations grow from the requester or change agent who is waiting for a response as well as the individual who sees this unwanted thing in their task list that is looming over them.
What I don’t understand is in today’s world we have all the information we could ever want at our finger tips. Literally, right at the end of each of our ten digits is the ability to search what ever we want. Do you want to know more about Self-driving cars, just type it into the Google-nator and dozens of answers will come back to you. Hate reading? Well then just jump over to You Tube and watch some Internet star entertain you with their answer. Are you just to lazy to type, then ask SIRI, Cortana, Alexa or Google Voice what it is you wan to know. The answer will be provided back to you in a weird compu-human voice within seconds. Are you even more ambitious and want to reach out to an expert directly? Twitter and LinkedIn will often enable you get in touch with just about anyone.
Never before has learning something new been easier. The other day I wanted to know the perfect way to poach an egg. I was able to find a video and minutes later I was eating my perfectly poached eggs. My wife and I were heading to Cabo San Lucas for a vacation. We love to cook and I wanted to find the best fish market in town. I typed in Cabo Fish Market into Google and whoooosh, a dozen answers came back with the top choice, Pescaderia Cabo Mar as determined by reviews on Trip Advisor. After visiting the shop and talking with the owner, he wanted to know how I found him. When I showed him he was the number one search result when typing in Cabo Fish Market, he boasted a smile and turned back to explaining the types of fish in his case.
Now, I know many of you are probably saying that you do this too and many of us do when it comes to our personal lives. We even do it when we need to learn more about something we are interested in. Maybe you are trying to learn about a new technology called Containers and you look it up online. Or you are trying to interpret your web site traffic patterns and want to know more about traffic segmentation. Usually we would start our search at Google. Then maybe progress to a topic specific web site like O’rielly or HubSpot. From there maybe you dig into some specific books that you found or listen to a podcast. Finally, you may reach out to those who have experienced and solved the same problem that you are currently facing.
Many feel paralyzed by this process. They fear change or the unknown. Maybe somewhere along the way, that childhood curiosity dimmed and was replaced by complacency. Complacency can bread fear, which may be why so many are paralyzed by the simple process of just looking something up. By staring at a problem and getting excited about the prospect of solving it, gives us that spark to discover the solution. But it starts with just looking it up.
One of the clearest examples I see on a near weekly basis is when an employee is tasked with something new and they struggle to figure out where to start. Pulling up Google or YouTube is the fastest way to learn something new these days. There are so many more resources beyond these two starting points. If you want to learn a new programming language, check out Coursera or Udemy. Maybe you need to create a PDF of a web site or fix that Excel formula.