Dive or Pause?

There’s an old trope that when a man buys a new product, they completely ignore the manual and try to assemble or use the product just by intuition.

I recently saw someone on Facebook post about the 25 page manual for their toothbrush.

I bought a humidifier recently that came with instructions but no diagrams. The result was that I ended up frying the circuitry in the base by overfilling it (I didn’t realize where the fill line was located, and it was in an awkward place).

Interestingly, that word, manual is also the word used to describe a piece of technology that is not automatic. Manual requires a little bit of skill, a little bit of know-how. It requires mindfulness. These are things that the manual grants us.

It grants us know-how and skill by giving us important information about our new technology. How the buttons work, applications, configurations. Things that we wouldn’t know by intuition alone.

But it also grants us mindfulness via a pause. We pause before we start to open the rest of the package. We get an understanding before we dive in.

Life can be this way too. Perhaps I spend years reading about diving before trying it. Or perhaps I jump into my pool head first and see what happens. Both experiences provide learning in different ways.

So the question is: what type of learning do you want for any given experience? Do you want to pause and understand, or just dive in?