The 20 Minute Rule
There’s a website called Let Me Google That For You.
It is a by-product of the way that many people solve problems. Specifically, that people are quick to assume that when they don’t have answers, the obstacles that need to be overcome in order to get answers are insurmountable.
Whenever someone asks you a question that can be easily googled, you’d go to LMGTFY, type in the search query and send the resulting link to your stumped friend. The friend will click on the link and watch animated instructions on how to google their question. It’s as insulting as it is clever.
When I was an IT Consultant, I used to answer Level 2 (more advanced) help desk calls. When someone would call too frequently, I would sometimes pick up the phone and say “Hey! I’m actually running into a meeting right now for about 20 minutes. Could you call me back in 20?” This, of course, was a lie.
95% of the time, the user had solved their own problem after 20 mins and either never called me back or sent me an email telling me everything was fixed. I dubbed this the 20 minute rule.
LMGTFY is probably more shaming than it is educational. But with the 20 minute rule, I like to think that I had taught the client more about how to solve tech problems than I would have if I walked them through the solution (only to have them waste their own time and call me back later).
Because it’s not about Google. It’s about humans. Exploration, playing, iterating, creating, destroying… it’s inherent to how we’ve always operated as a species. It is these fundamental actions that have allowed us to even have Google in the first place.
When instinct says to call a friend the minute your printer dies, you may end up living a life of relying on others to solve problems with solutions that lie within your own mind. Like when an actor goes off script, or when you get lost without a cell phone signal.
Think of it as exercise for your intuition. The more you do it, the stronger your intuition becomes.
What is resourcefulness if it isn’t just overdeveloped intuition?