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People want to help you, but they don’t want to read you the manual.

You can read the manual.

How can you get the most out of your teachers (or partners or professors or bosses or colleagues) if you’re asking them the basics? That’s fine if that’s the idea (e.g. you actually are in kindergarten and don’t know how to square dance yet), but if you’re at a level where you’re expected to know the basics already, do everyone a favor and know the basics already.

That’s it. RTFM. Stop wasting people’s time teaching you what you should already know.

Looking for an opportunity to be noticed?

In case it wasn’t clear enough, if you haven’t read the manual and you’re asking questions that are wasting your time, your teacher’s time and the time of those around you, you’re not going to get noticed–or at least not for the reasons you’re hoping for. 

Here are the steps to get beyond the manual:

  1. RTFM
  2. Then read it again.
  3. If you have questions that are not answered, write them down.
  4. If you don’t have any questions, dig deeper. There must be something you don’t understand or know. Remember, you’re looking to “impress” a teacher / boss / coach / interviewer. Be curious. Make something up. Start a conversation about even something you know from the manual.
  5. Write the manual better.

Number 5 is for overachievers, but you learn the most by teaching.

If you don’t know the fundamentals, you don’t belong in the advanced class.

No one likes to do it, few people actually do it. Those are often the people who also measure twice and cut once. Sure, you want creativity and spontaneity, but you also want people to know their stuff. You want people who RTFM.*

* Using the past tense of the verb. 😉

1 Comment

  1. Mom

    Made me feel a little guilty about asking you computer questions. I will ask you something and then find out the answer while I’m waiting for you to respond. I am a manual person, for sure, but now all of their new devices don’t come with manuals. You have to look up the problems on Google! Or call you…


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