The Real Google Failure

Transformative: causing a radical and typically positive change in outlook, character, form, or condition.

I've been thinking about whether our training can transform your life. "Transform" is such a powerful word. I felt it should apply to something more, well, transformative - like plastic surgery. But change doesn't have to be big to be real.

This week I had a practical revelation of how knowledge can transform.

The giant online self-help book

I heard an interesting statement this week:

"If all the videos on YouTube were the answer, people would be having success. Their lives would be changed."

There is so much information on the web. You can get an answer to any question. More than one answer, in fact, but it may not be the right or the best answer for you. And it can take an awfully long time to find what you need.

Google and YouTube and StackOverflow are like self-help books. You feel motivated when you buy the book. But that's not enough. Even if you read that book on better eating habits, it doesn't mean you will eat better. You need more to change your life.

The wrong way

As I mentioned last week, I decided on a CMS for our revamped website. Aaaagh! I was beyond frustrated by the bizarre interactions between different plug-ins!

So I did what most of us do: I searched Google. But I wanted to get the work done now, so I did what most of us do. I flitted from answer to answer. I skimmed the surface, but didn't delve deep into the formal documentation.

I wanted a quick solution. What I got was a lot of time wasted without success. And then I resorted to my own work-around until I find the answer.

Please note: this is not my recommended approach to any problem.

The right way

I was dreading the second task. I had to write a complex query to extract data. I didn't know anything about the (rather bizarre) structure of the database. And I didn't know what data would give me the information I needed. Because there really is a difference between data and information.

But I do know how to write queries. As I should, because I wrote our SQL course. I didn't use Google for answers. Instead, I tackled the problem calmly and systematically. (My state of mind with the CMS issue was more like irked, agitated and ranting.) Voila! It wasn't trivial, but I got it right without wasting time.

The difference is the transformation

The difference in my ability to do the tasks depended my level of knowledge. The difference in the result, however, was so much more. I feel good about the query: it works and I can already re-use it. The plug-in fiasco is still unresolved.

That difference is truly transformative.

A eureka moment

A few years ago, a delegate wrote this on his course evaluation form: "I had so many 'Eureka!' moments."

If one of our courses gave you a eureka moment or a transformation, however small, I'd love to hear about it.

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