Why Fold & Stuff Doesn’t Work Anymore

My sweet little eight year old came to me with a very frustrating problem today.

He couldn’t figure out where to put his coins and his wallet was too fat to close.  The wallet was basically useless.  He couldn’t figure out how it was supposed to be a better option than his piggy bank that everything fits in easily.

I can look at the wallet and see the benefits for him: easier to carry than a piggy bank and no risk of breaking it.  So of course I’d been encouraging him to give the wallet a chance.

The “too fat” wallet seems like a great thing to me, not a problem.  But back to his issues…

As I opened his wallet up I discovered he’d just smashed all of his dollar bills into it — each one folded up into an impressive feat of curious origami.  The result, of course, was that they all bunched up on top of each other and made his wallet difficult to close.

Simple fix, right?

It took me about two minutes to show him how to flatten and then place his dollar bills into the dollar spot, and then to show him what the little pockets were for.

“Wow, thanks Mom!”

He’s a bright little guy.  But he hadn’t taken time to really LOOK at his wallet and figure out how it worked.  He was in a hurry and used what had worked best for his piggy bank — fold and stuff.

Sometimes we forget how the simple things can be really helpful.

We forget just how much we know that others might not as they’re moving through phases in their businesses and growing into new tools and strategies.  We can share over and over “this works!” but without demonstrating how and why, it can be frustrating for those just learning it.

You’ve got knowledge that can help your readers and clients–even the simple things that seem so obvious, others haven’t taken time to figure out and you can help them and there’s tremendous value in that.

Remember to share the simple lessons, too.

Your turn!  What events in your life remind you of little lessons like this?  What simple things might be perfect for you to share next on your blog?

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24 Comments

  1. So true Michelle!

    I loved the example you put up, and this happens with most of us too I’m sure. :)

    More than your words and matter that we read, it’s the way we demonstrate things that matters. More so with kid’s, we shouldn’t expect them to know it all, and that’s where the role of parents fits in – isn’t it?

    I’m sure once your boy was told how to do things, he would do so the right way the next time. Similarly, if we know something – we ought to share it with our readers and others too because to share is to care and you never know whom you’d really be helping in what way.

    Thanks for sharing. :)
    Harleena Singh recently posted… Why Can’t Men and Women Be FriendsMy Profile

  2. So true. It does no good to tell people what to do and never tell them how to do it! I’m going to do a little demo on how to create and upload a PDF file to a WordPress blog. It was terrible when I tried to learn it, but I’ve been putting it off because I was getting questions from people on how to do it on Google Blogger and Weebly. I was worried that people were going to be mad if I didn’t show how to do it on each and every platform, so I finally came up with a solution: Step 1. Get a self-hosted WordPress site. Step 2. Create the document you want to turn into a PDF… ;-)
    Amethyst Mahoney recently posted… How to Build a Better BusinessMy Profile

  3. An article after my own heart. This is a wonderful post Michelle. What a great reminder. All of my work these days has to be simple and I’m loving it for myself as well. Thank you for sharing.
    Julia Neiman recently posted… Who is My Competition?My Profile

  4. Cute story and so applicable to many situations.

    Once we’ve learned how to do something, we forget what it was like to be a complete beginner. The beginner in any field needs simple, step-by-step and sometimes slow guidance and reassurance. When we share our expertise we must remember that.

    In addition to sharing steps in a process, it’s also important to explain why you are doing something a certain way and what to expect. When a learner understands the reason behind your way of doing something, they are more likely to comply and master the skill. They can always put their own twist on it later.

    When I mentor aspiring authors, I tell them that their first writing will be C- level or worse, (actually it will suck) and that not only is it okay and common, but it’s inevitable. If they try to edit and polish as they go, they’ll never finish that rough draft. One client (who is a copyeditor) said that she was so relieved when I told her this. It freed her to get her first draft book written without sabotaging herself by trying to edit along the way.

    No matter how expert we are in one field, when we set out to learn a new skill we are back in kindergarten needing patient, step-by-step help. I was in tears trying to create a document for the very first time on a computer, with my teenage son as my impatient teacher. It’s laughable now, but it was not funny to me then.
    Flora Morris Brown, Ph.D. recently posted… Are You a Lunatic to Think Your Headlines Should Be Tweet-Worthy?My Profile

  5. Kids are the best for making sure we look at things the simple way. It amazes me how they try to do stuff, very complicated little people!
    Ashley recently posted… Day 25: 100 Blogs, 100 DogsMy Profile

  6. That’s a cute story. I can just see your son folding hill bills, really squashing them down to fit them in his wallet – and the frustration when they won’t!
    Of course, there’s the very valid message – what is simple to us isn’t simple to everyone. Just taking the time to explain this stuff works wonders
    Jan recently posted… Are You A Kindle Author? Kindlegraph It!My Profile

  7. Great post – a similar lesson occurred with our eight-year old who is responsible for feeding our cats. We recently started buying a larger bag of kitty kibble.

    The first time she tried to pour from the bigger bag it in the bowl – it went all over the floor because the bag was just too big. So we talked about what might be a better idea and agreed on a mid-size paper cup to leave in the bag and use as a scoop for the food.

    The lesson learned? Right tool for the job! Thanks for the opportunity to share!
    Tor Constantino, MBA recently posted… The $5.37 “Caption This” Contest: Vol. 12My Profile

  8. Leave it to the little guys, like yours, to open our eyes. Sometimes we assume others should know things that they just don’t. All it takes it a simple step to show them and they have an “aha” moment.
    If he has the entrepreneurial spirit like his mom, he’ll still need that piggy bank to hold the overflow his wallet won’t accommodate over time. Thanks. ~Debra
    Debra Jason recently posted… Are Your Blog Posts Inviting?My Profile

  9. So true Michelle, I think what is challenging for some, is presenting what they know in such a way that it’s attractive to those who can benefit the most.And finding them as well.
    P.S Your son is adorable, it takes me down memory lane to a time when my children were his age.
    Adalia John recently posted… Affirmation Friday: 10 Determination AffirmationsMy Profile

  10. You’re so right, often I find myself having problems with things that if I actually take just 5 minutes to focus on that without any other distractions, I would have figured out. Instead I spend an hour half-focused on making it work “my way”.
    Sofia recently posted… The 4 Best Festivals In AustraliaMy Profile

  11. Great story. I had an issue with one of my prescriptions where, when I was through with it, I had trouble pulling the tape off so I could remove my personal information. I showed my wife my issue and she just ripped the top off and handed it back to me; ugh. I still haven’t lived that one down but it also highlights simplicity. lol
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted… Do Other People Know Who You Are On Social Media?My Profile

    1. So often the simplest approach works. :) Thanks for commenting and sharing your story, Mitch!

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