We met a student who said he couldn’t see the purpose in discovering solutions for himself with all the information technology he had at his fingertips. If the answer was there, why waste the time to go through the discovery process?

In these days of Googling and You Tubing, it’s easier than ever to find the answers. The speed of the internet certainly panders to our penchant for impatience. We want instant answers – and we get them fast. So, what could be wrong with that?

No longer do we have to stumble and bumble until we finally have the answer. No longer do we have to go through trial and error, research, or any reasoning process. We just get it on line. But did we miss something important by shortcutting the discovery process? Did we miss the principles behind the answer? Did we miss an opportunity to challenge our brains to learn a new principle?

Apparently, we have gotten to a point where we actually don’t want to learn the very principles that can equip us to discover the answers in our own way. In the name of efficiency, we become more dependent on these instant answer resources, and we are losing our ability to solve problems on our own. The internet – the source of all answers – has made us lazy.

Before these resources, folks had to use principles, experience, and trial and error to discover the answers and solutions. In that process of discovery, they learned how to apply principles in a variety of ways. One of those ways might solve the problem and yield the answer. But the process didn’t end there. Now the individual understood the principle behind the answer and could apply that principle to other challenges. They didn’t need an example for everything.

The temptation today for many students is to drop out of formal education and just try to learn everything they need on line. It may be everything they think they need, but is that really everything? We think not. We think they need to learn principles and apply those principles to discover answers and solutions for themselves. This is called problem solving, and it stimulates our brains to be more creative and question the results we find. This is a wider framework which can help solve problems as they occur. If this sounds like an ad for a classical education, it is!

Learning and applying principles to discover solutions gives us appreciation for this invaluable process. It also gives us a fundamental understanding that behind every answer, solution, or process there is a set of principles. We can then look for those principles, and add them to our problem-solving tool box to apply to the next applicable situation.

Sure, you can Google the answer and You Tube the process, but if you don’t look for and understand the underlying principles, you are destined to develop a “copy-and-paste” mentality. Your critical thinking facilities will atrophy and you will become dependent on technology for all your answers.

When you discover solutions on your own, you learn from your mistakes and successes.  You force your brain to look at the situation from differ perspectives. You stimulate your intellect! So, students, stay in school, and learn the principles that will enable you to discover solutions for yourself! Don’t be a copycat. Be an independent thinker and come up with new ideas!  Discover for yourself the joys of noodling out a solution to your challenge using creative thinking instead of limiting your ideas to what others have already said and done. Be resourceful, and realize that your greatest resource is the power of your own brain.

Who Are We.

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse in 1986, to the board room of E&J Gallo, where they successfully sold their brand in 2005. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful and help corporations achieve entrepreneurial cultures to engage and empower their people.

Currently they travel the world keynoting at universities, corporations, conferences and symposiums. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals; along with being FOX News Radio Network’s Workplace Culture Experts. They are also the recipients of the 2014 Distinguished Entrepreneur Speaker Award from the Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Bradley University. Visit their popular brand building site at www.thebrandauthority.net. To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact info@thebarefootspirit.com.

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey
-Barefoot Wine Founders