If you drive a lot, maybe as part of your job, or just because you like to go places, you probably use a satellite navigation tool like TomTom or Garvin or Via Michelin or any number of others and you will know that if you rely on total navigation by computer generated voice you will get where you are going but you will need it to find your way back. (Free tip here: Look at a map and only program in the last few miles of your journey)
There are several theories as to why this is the case but I’m not going into that because I am using this example to highlight the problem with asking a direct question and getting a finite answer. Now the answer could be correct or not but the problem is that you didn’t think of it yourself. It was handed to you on a plate and that makes it instantly forgettable so you could find yourself in the exact same dilemma at some future point and having to ask someone the exact same question again. Being given a solution to a problem only helps you at a future time if you keep repeating the answer to yourself over and over again like a mantra or if you can remember that far back learning your times table by rote. The sing song “once two is two, two twos are four,” made you remember that forever and while there are still some educators who think this unnecessary it remains the only way your brain can instantly give you the answer to seven times six without reaching for a calculator.
The same problem with a provided solution repeated after a short passage of time renders most people’s ability to solve a dilemma or puzzle for themselves inoperative.
Signposting doesn’t give you the answer but merely helps you to find the way to a solution you arrive at by yourself which will be all the more helpful because of that fact. Trying to find answers to questions on the net, for example, gets you lots of solutions or access to guides or even outright, in your face, the Answer below your query. This is great if you can access the net but if you are in the far north of Scotland unless you are fortunate or rich enough to own a satellite phone you will have to find another way to solve dilemmas.
I liken the process of signposting to getting you to turn around and see the signpost that was there all the time because when you get to really know there are signposts for everything you may need to solve in your life you begin to know where to look for them without any help. For some this is a short journey and for others the distance varies but be assured it is a journey and these always have an end. For most people the first problem to solve is to find the beginning.
© Rick Grain 29 May 2016