I think it is safe to assume that of all the knowledge in the world, I have less than 1% available of that knowledge in my brain. Fine, much less than 1%. But one of the things that is readily available to me is my ability to analyze a problem and figure out an appropriate means of hunting down the needed information. Sometimes this means asking my dad, or a friend, and more often it means asking Google. However, I have realized that there have been several times in the past couple of weeks where I skipped this analysis and just went with what I would consider to be the default source for a particular type of question. As you can see from the following examples, the default source did not give me optimum results.
First, my wife needed to go to the eye doctor but she is wasn’t happy with her current doctor. I suggested she ask family members who live in the area to find out which doctors they see. Once the names were found, she began checking to see if they were accepting new patients and if they accepted our insurance. After a doctor had been selected and the appointment had been set, a quick verification with our insurance company informed us that while the provider does accept our insurance, they are out of network. Good to know before the appointment. It wasn’t until that moment that I remembered that the company I work for subscribes to a service who will help you find a doctor based you any number of specifications. A quick call to the service resulted with three highly rated, in-network doctors in our area.
Second, the A/C in my car went out about two weeks ago. I got in the car after work and instead of feeling cold air blowing on me, the air was hot and the A/C indicator was blinking. So I went to my default source for mechanic advice and asked my dad who he takes his cars to for A/C work. He suggested that before taking it in, I buy a can of freon to make sure the system was properly charged. Given my propensity for yak shaving (subject of a future post), I began thinking about a can of freon versus getting a proper set of gauges, where to get the best deal, etc. Needless to say two weeks went by and I still had no cold air. So while sitting in traffic yesterday, sweating in the car with the windows down, I decided to search online for the gauge kit. As I pulled up the web browser on my phone I realized I had never asked Google about a blinking A/C light. I did a quick search (I was stopped in a long line of cars at a light, don’t worry) and I had a page full of links to forum posts describing my problem. It turns out there is a $15 dollar relay that controls the compressor clutch and it has a tendency to fail. I went to the auto parts store that evening, replaced the relay and once again had wonderfully cold air blowing in my car.
Now what is my point in all of this? No, I’m not saying Google holds all the answers. I am saying that we need to make sure we are taking advantage of all the tools in our toolbox. Just because one tool fits, doesn’t mean we might not have a better tool available to us. So go ahead and take a moment to assess the tools at your disposal. Life can be busy but that is not a reason to ignore some of the tools in the box. And don’t forget, Google is free and wi-fi is prevalent, so don’t forget to google it!
P.S. I’m sorry for the use of google as a verb but it is in the dictionary now. I am not sorry for using Google, I just can’t bring my self to “Bing it”.