I don’t read instructions for a few reasons: I love mysteries, puzzles, and problem-solving, I enjoy figuring things out and learning how things work, and I have pride in being able to reverse engineer what took a Fortune 100 company, like 3M (maker of the Post-it® Note), thirty-five years to develop. I confess, I only read the manual or instructions when it is absolutely necessary.
Early this morning, my husband and I were stumped by a brand new package of 100 Post-it® Notes. It was still dark when he needed a few supplies for his conference call. Wanting to dial in on time, he handed me the glossy package and requested my assistance. I was just pulling a hot mug out of the microwave. I was also thinking exactly what he was thinking, “How could it be that hard to open a silly package of sticky notes?”
Using the light from the open microwave, I strained for a loose tab to pull. Nothing! Getting my thumbnail under the folded plastic wrapper also proved futile. Brute force? Nope, that failed, too! A feeling of surprise rushed over me as I realized I was going to have to read the instructions.
BEND TO OPEN was printed in bold capital letters and centered over a very helpful drawing of two hands bending the package along seam running from pole to pole.
I followed the directions and immediately freed all 100 sticky notes– just as the picture predicted! There are two groups of people: those who immediately seek help and those who don’t. I usually belong to the latter. Here are a few characteristics exhibited by me and others on the Skip the Manual team:
- Curious: too inquisitive to spoil the quest of discovery.
- Prideful: too smug to admit the need for help.
- Hasty: too rushed to take things step by step.
- Brilliant: too smart to rely on someone else’s expertise (or at least we think).
- Adventuresome: too excited by taking chances and testing intuition.
Why did my husband ask me for help? Because he already knows about 1 – 5 from above. He knows I will figure it out regardless of the effort, time, or frustration required. Though it sounds ridiculous, I read the manual only when all else fails– just because it is more fun and challenging. So, are you like me? Or like my husband– who finds someone else to eventually read the instructions?
- Ask me if I read the manual for my new phone and why!
- Read the full story behind Post-it® Notes (a short and interesting read)
- Inspired by Reda Dillon’s Some Assembly Required presentation to the Christian Business Women’s Organization. Dillon is a visionary leader and founder of Queen’s Purpose (LinkedIn)
— Join a Synergy Group where we will discuss what the
Bible says about Instructions. —
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle Sugerman (PMP, PCC) is a speaker, author, and leadership coach with Leading Synergies. She hosts global masterminds, called Synergy Groups, for REALLY BUSY Christians leading with powerful confidence and humble hearts. She works with high-performing leaders focused on organizational effectiveness by refining strategy, inspiring teams, and delighting clients. Michelle specializes in the areas of information technology, project management, franchise management, and business as mission. Michelle lives in Colorado where she hikes fourteeners and enjoys gourmet meals with her loving husband of 22 years.