How To Become Self-Sufficient Knowledge Wise – A Rant

These past few weeks have been rough and I’ll shortly describe why.  As they say, you are your own worst enemy and in this case I believe it is true.  These last few weeks when I am not here posting an article, I am away at my computer conjuring new things in mind, and a lot of it recently has been involvement with Tunngle tutorials.

To those who don’t know what Tunngle is it is essentially another VPN solution.  Think of it as a mix between Steam, Garena, and Hamachi all rolled into one and its great for playing LAN games over the Internet easily without trouble. This article is not to talk about Tunngle, but merely to express where most of my time has been lately.

Anyway, if anyone is familiar with Youtube, you can upload your own videos and if your videos are something that is important to people, you will bound to get questions.  No tutorial or video I have seen is question free.  There is always and I mean always that one guy in the crowd who needs clarification on something, even if it is obvious to the creator or to other people.

At the time of this writing, I have close to 100 Youtube uploaded videos, and approximately 95% of those videos are related to tutorials. Now I can go on and tell my long story of how crazy my online life is when I log on after work, but I don’t want to bore you with the details.  Let’s just say that it involves answering comments, emails, and IM messages (a lot of them).  Sometimes I dream if it is worth putting my instant messenger details online lol.

Nonetheless, after a certain amount of time I just became enamored at how many people keep on asking questions over and over.  A good example is I have created several videos revolving about how to patch games, using Garena, and playing online.  Almost everyday someone comes and asks why this one game isn’t working on his PC, or why he can’t see anybody hosting online and the list goes on and on.

Don’t people know how to research?  Is asking questions to me the easy way out?  Are these guys tools?

*God nods his head* Yes, a good portion of them are tools, but not all of them…

All right, I’m sorry! Don’t smite me!  The bottom line is that because of our technology, and how many of the younger generation is exposed to computers, you have almost a huge population of people who don’t have the art of researching and know how to learn for themselves like the generation before them did.

When I was young in school, I didn’t have a computer at the library. If you wanted to find a book, you had to use a card catalog!  Remember what that was?  It is a card that has the books title and call number on it, and you had to know what the Dewey Decimal system was to use it.

What is the Dewey Decimal system?

*face palm*  You see what I mean?  I’m serious.  Ask any kid right now in elementary school and 6/10 will probably don’t know what it is, unless they have a good system there.  All the students now are exposed to computers, so whats the point of teaching the card catalog system?

When I was in high school, I had to do  a lot of research papers and it really tested your skills. Take a topic like “Prison Overcrowding” and make your case as to how you would handle the prison overcrowding situation.  Do you build new prisons?  Where are you going to get the money from?  Tax payers want to support using their dollars for helping criminals live a better life?  Yea right!

Now as I continue my digital journey, I have found hundreds if not thousands of people already asking me questions that go all over the place.  Sometimes I just have to put on my ear plugs and drown all the noise out.  The problem?  When I take out the ear plugs, the noise still remains!

So what to do?  Can people change for the better?

As hard as it is to imagine, yes and I have some true stories.  When I first met Voltaire, it was not here, but rather in a Halo clan for the PC. There you can say I truly developed what it felt like to be a leader of a clan for good five years before I said I had to move on and do my own thing.

I met Voltaire back then, and although at the time he seemed naive and didn’t know anything about managing people and about computers and technology, I took him under my wing and transferred some of my knowledge over to him.  Now he is one of my best buds I have met on the Internet, and it is the main reason why he is a proud member of the Underground staff here.

How about you?  Are there things in life you wish you knew more about?  Love cars but know squat about them?  Like to cook but afraid of making something terrible?  Guess what?  A lot of us have our hobbies that we do to not only pass the free time but to make life enjoyable and worth living.

Think about it. What makes you happy?  I know a friend who loves to skydive.  Sure, he was scared the first time around, but now he does it almost every single chance he can get because he loves the adrenaline rush and the feeling that he can do anything. If you jumped out of a plane and survived (figuratively), wouldn’t you feel like you were a God too? I know I would!

All right, so whats your point?

My point is a lot of people are not using the tools that are within their finger tips.  I kid you not, someone on MSN sent me an instant message and asked me if masturbating was harmful or not.  I’m not going to disclose who that person is, but isn’t that just a little too weird?

My immediate response?  You can’t use Google because why again? One time someone had told me he did not use Google because it was faster to just ask me what I thought the answer was.  In fact, he coined me as a “relative Google”.  LOL.  I’m honored to be referenced as such, but hell, even a search engine needs some programming and knowledge to continue functioning, let alone man hours to maintain such a system. *hint*

I don’t mind helping people, but there is a great saying:

Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach the man how to fish, and he eats forever.

So back to the beginning of this post, why do you think I post so many videos about Tunngle lately?  It is a lot of work to writing a text guide, and it is just so much easier to verbally articulate and visually show what to do, rather than use static text and images.  For a Tunngle video, it works beautifully.  The best part of it is?  The number of questions related to Tunngle and how to make game XYZ work has decreased by at least 70%!

What really makes me smile is someone asks how to use this game with Tunngle, and I say go watch that specific video.  No more questions because the video has all the answers.  Of course, you get guys that ask you a question that was in the video, and I tell them to re-watch the video over and over until it is crystal clear.

If I do my best to explain in a VIDEO what to do, how can I do any better through e-mail or an instant messenger conversation or through skype?  At that point, you just give up and move on without turning around.

Does age play a factor in learning?

You would think so, but I think the answer is no.  It is not about the age, but about how intelligent the person is.  Example: Youtube shows a 8 year old boy that can play Guitar Hero 3 on hardest difficulty without missing a beat!  How many teenagers can do that?  Exactly.  Now on the flip side, I have seen teenagers as dumb as a brick, but I have seen other people within that age bracket as sharp as a nail.  Age means nothing, and I try to not divulge it from my audience because it can play an indirect factor on how you perceive that individual.

It’s hard to imagine this, but I treat everyone I meet with the same respect (I try too, seriously) as I do with my own friends.  Is it hard?  Yes, it can be. Especially with the younger crowd because they know absolutely nothing about the subject I may talk about, and it takes longer to do a certain task or explain a certain concept.

Yet, there are those people you meet and you say something once and they know enough to understand exactly what you are talking about.  Those are the real blessings in life!

Of course, you may also interact with people older than yourself, and how do you treat them without being like a snob or some “kid”?  Simple. Treat the person the same as you treat anyone else. The minute you start treating someone differently because they are a girl, or a different age, or have different tastes in music is just making you close minded and just plain inflexible.

How do I learn to be flexible?

Have you ever heard of Yoga?  :)  Seriously, its all about being flexible in the mind and being open-minded.  I’m sure a lot of us were raised a certain way, or perhaps followed a certain religion because your parents “forced” you or raised you this way which serves  hopefully as a foundation for your knowledge.

Being flexible does help you on your journey to be self-sufficient.  Don’t get me wrong, learning how to be self-sufficient is not easy. You must be willing to be patient, and learn how to ask questions and do research on your own.  What is even harder is  learn how to ask for help, but not become dependent on others or appear to needy because once you are perceived as such, no one wants to help you.  Time is precious.  We all have the same 24 hours.  How are you spending them?  Is the majority of it asking questions, or is the majority of it learning and having people ask you questions?

Wouldn’t it be great if you became the mentor to someone and they asked you for help instead of you asking them for help?  How would you feel if in your circle of friends you were the “know it all”?  The person your friends consult for help and advice?  Isn’t that a great trait to develop?  Sure it is!

How can I get there?  I want to be self sufficient! I don’t want to be a tool any longer.




Wait? You don’t like being a tool of sorts?  Me neither!  First of all, what do you want to learn and get better at?  What do you wish you knew more about?

Hypothetically, let’s say you want to know about computers in general.  How do you accomplish this goal?  Let’s start off with the easy tasks.  Check out books at the libraries about computers.  Maybe you want to learn more about Microsoft Windows the operating system?  When I was younger, I just checked out lots of books about Windows, even Windows for Dummies.  Well, who is the dummy now? >_>

Maybe you want to become more proficient at being a better computer typer.  Next time you are at the library, borrow a copy of a typing program and use it!  Want to learn how to use Microsoft Office?  Check out a book!

As you get more comfortable, you can start surfing the Internet and use the search engines to help you learn what you need to know.  There are literally tons of computer forums and websites online that you can learn from and ask your questions.  Maybe you know the answer to someone else’s question so you just write what you know.

Over the course of time, your brain is like a sponge and you just start to soak in all this random knowledge.  Before you know it, you are building PCs and downloading software and you might turn into your own Versatile! >_>

Becoming self-sufficient sounds so easy, but in practice its not.  Don’t trust me?  The next time you ask someone a question, listen to what you just asked.  You asked a question because you didn’t know the answer to it.  What does that mean?  It means you are not self-sufficient in that subject area!

See?  It’s not easy, even I am not self-sufficient.  However, I am self-sufficient enough to know how to use search engines to find the information that I need.

It maybe even smarter for you as a computer user to Google how to become a better searcher of information on the Internet.  One time someone had trouble finding a particular tutorial because he typed the words in the wrong order on Google. I typed the same words but in a different order, and I got my tutorial in the first link!

So as you can see, even searching Google or any other search engine requires some rudimentary knowledge to make your searches more efficient.  If you can’t find the information that you are looking for, then you are already not self-sufficient enough to say to yourself you are ready.

The funny part of this all is that you can never ever be ready because there will always be things you don’t know.  However, that doesn’t mean you can be a bit smarter and still don’t know anything.

So for the love of God, before you send me a question, search the blog, google, youtube, anything before sending me that instant message and use up my time because I need my time to be self-sufficient too! Thanks!

Posted on October 14, 2009, in Advice, Life and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. “I kid you not, someone on MSN sent me an instant message and asked me if masturbating was harmful or not.”

    – I really wanna know who that is!

  2. that was me…

  3. “Yet, there are those people you meet and you say something once and they know enough to understand exactly what you are talking about. Those are the real blessings in life!”

    I think that you might have been thinking a bit about me? Maybe? It’s ok if you say no.

    Oh, and also, I loved the article, it inspired me, and it made me into a better person overall.

  4. hey, it’s claim culture nowadays.

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