Why Don’t We Read the Instruction Manual?

Why Don’t We Read the Instruction Manual?

Sweeping generalisations are out of fashion, but just for old times’ sake, we thought we’d throw one in for good measure.

Ready? Here goes…

‘Men don’t read the instruction manuals.’

Sorry fellas, it’s true, and we apologise if you’re one of the exceptions who prove the rule, but all too often, men find themselves sitting on the bedroom floor with a pile of left-over screws and a wardrobe that looks more capable of providing entry to Narnia than storing clothes in.

Women, on the other hand, and we hasten to say ‘in general’, but only because we know it’ll prick a few ears up…

…women are much better at taking their time, reading the instructions and looking to understand things fully before rushing in unprepared.

We’re not psychologists at Trinity U, we’re business/ life coaches, but we think it has an awful lot to do with emotional intelligence.

It’s about having the humility to accept that someone else has done this before you, and that they might’ve even made the same mistakes that you yourself are about to make.

‘Help’ in a business sense, in all of its forms is out there, we don’t even need to look that hard for it these days.

The hard part is accepting that help, using it to our advantage and putting our egos and arrogance to one side.

Ultimately, there’s an instruction manual, a guide book, and dare we say it – a coach, for absolutely everything, but only because there needs to be.

You don’t know what you don’t know, is what we always say, and whether you’re building flat pack furniture or starting a small business from scratch, the adage rings true.

If you’re prepared to accept help, to listen to the advice of others, to learn from their mistakes, you can actually propel yourself along the road to success much more quickly than by rushing in head first. It’s called strategy. It’s called planning. It’s called learning. It’s called patience!

Now, in the interests of fairness, we have to give some coverage to the other way of doing things – rushing in.

Only fools do it, apparently, but is there any merit to throwing caution to the wind and trying a bit of a blag?

We’ve all done it, and we’ll park the generalisations for now, men, women and people of every other gender, we’ve all rushed in to a situation in work or life, when it might’ve been more beneficial to ‘read the instruction manual’.

Have a think about a time when you’ve done just that, and don’t limit yourself to the world of work.

It can be big or small and no example is insignificant, it’s all about the choices we make and the thought processes that go into them.

You might have made a snap judgement on a loan from the bank, or on a credit card deal, only to realise that the small print meant it was far more unattractive than it first seemed.

You might have gone with the cheapest provider for your internet, only to find that it’s that cheap for a reason, and you’re back in the days of dial-up.

What about the impulse decisions that work though? There have to be some, it’s the law of averages, right?

Maybe you booked a trip to a never before visited destination and hotel, and now it’s your number one holiday spot.

Maybe you bought a car from a second-hand car salesman, because the price was appealing, and that car just keeps on going, sailing through its MOT’s and doing you proud.

The difference here is always inevitability versus serendipity, and you can only ever bank on one of those two words.

Tripping up lucky might happen every now and then, but finding out something was always too good to be true is a sad fact of life, and a sad fact of business.

So, what can we do to make more of the right decisions and take more of the right paths?

Read the instruction manual.

Give it a go.

Whether it’s in the form of a book (or some other piece of illustrated literature featuring confused looking stickmen), or in the form of a YouTube Video, a Podcast, or as a series of reviews on a website.

It doesn’t matter what form it takes, it could even be word of mouth from a friend or colleague, just give it a go, because you don’t know what you don’t know.

Many have tried and failed before you, in whatever task you’re pouring your energies into.

All of those who have succeeded? Yep, they’ve failed too, they failed so hard that they eventually found the way that works. You’ve got to fail in order to succeed, but if you can have the humility to look and learn from others, the understanding to interpret their advice and the patience to learn from your own mistakes and do things properly, you’ll make a better job of anything you try your hand at.

So, we’ve parked the generalisations as we said, but blokes, we know you’re listening…

Take a leaf out of the book of the emotionally intelligent, read the instruction manual every now and then, seek advice, get a coach.

It’s not a sign of weakness or vulnerability, it’s the exact opposite, and it will absolutely help you get to where you want to go.

Just for the record though, we have to stress, that even those people who write the instruction manuals on flat pack furniture, the actual people who write those things themselves…

…even they end up sitting on the bedroom floor with a pile of screws left over.

You can and should read the instructions, but you don’t always need to follow every single one of them to the letter