Stop F*€^ing Googling it
Use your brain, chat and learn something
Colleague(a): … yeah, like once in a blue moon! Me: What… monthly? Colleague(a): no, less often than that. Blue moons are super rare, it’s like saying “when pigs fly” — it’ll never happen. Colleague(b): Wait, blue moons are real — the phrase comes from somewhere, I’ll Google it. Me: Put. The phone. DOWN.
Apart from my awful reconstruction of that kitchen chat, a tonne of paraphrasing and complete failure to convey the subtleties of language, intonations, personal quirks and sarcasm, I hope you can see reflections of what you’ve had with people that go a similar way — a chatty ramble with people you like!
However, what could have been a fun, interesting and lengthy conversation (like a ‘pub chat’) where we could exchange ideas, go off on tangents, have crazy thoughts and push our social skills, there was an easy option for the conversation to shut down quickly. To cease. End.
And leave someone feeling crappy for not knowing the answer.
Thankfully I declined the Googling process and spoiler alert; I still don’t know where the phrase ‘once in a blue moon’ comes from, but MORE importantly, I’m OK with that. I’m happy not knowing the answer (implying that I’m imperfect — crazy right?!?!) and I’m excited about how I’ll feel when I eventually find out the phrase’s deep, dark and mysterious origins.
I’m also way more likely to remember it too.
I’m not saying my memory will be as accurate as a photographic or an eidetic one (like Sheldon from Big Bang) but by encoding and elaborating on the facts / story / experience / procedure, the memory will root itself deeper in my mind and I’ll find recollection / retrieval a lot easier.
For example, in my (never-ending) quest to the answer of the blue moon I asked a group of friends where they thought it came from (no one knew) but one of them told me the story of where the phrase ‘daylight robbery’ came from and I remember the hell out of it!
A real exchange of information — the true currency of the world.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good Google, especially when researching something from scratch or solving some work problems. There are also concrete answers to concrete questions which being on-the-line will solve and with work pressures and bosses bearing down on you — the quick and dirty Google is tough to beat!
We aren’t computers. Our brains are wired to be curious, mess around and store information in a different way to a binary system. We haven’t evolved to exist in a question:answer universe where we feel good about getting instant gratification from answering a question.
Solving something yourself, under your own steam (with support and advice from others) allows you to think differently, act differently and be more valuable to your friends, family and employers. It’s far more rewarding when you’ve earned something or found the answer / solution yourself.
You’ll learn more, remember more and BE more.
Like Kayt Sukel, I believe we aren’t encouraged to solve problems and think differently. We need to take more ‘risks’ and we don’t ‘play’ enough. Kayt is a journalist and science writer — watch her sharing insights into the neuroscience of risk-taking and how play impacts the way we make decisions:
1) Put down the damn phone
Similar to my “Switch it off.” article — phones and technology have a place, but not at the expense of play, human interactions, curiosity and creating memorable experiences. Lift your eyes up from your ‘device’ and take in your surroundings. When was the last time you took a walk in the park without listening to music or staring into the blue light?
Go for that walk.
2) Next time a question is asked, put down the damn phone
Keep your hands at your sides and play with the people next to you. Solve the problem, explore different ideas and remember. When was the last time you went to the pub and kept your phone in your pocket for longer than 10mins?
Leave your phone in that pocket.
3) Next time you want a question answered, PUT DOWN THE DAMN PHONE
Be vulnerable, expose yourself, take a risk and see what comes back. TALK to the people around you. They may have the answer, they may not. But you’ll never know where the conversation will take you or how playing will change the dynamic of the relationship with that person. What was the last fun / weird or interesting thing you asked a friend of yours? and when?
Ask that fun question.