It Helps to Understand Instructions

October 18, 2010
Notice what happens when our initial understanding of a topic gets stored in the wrong place in the brain, or when we ignore information because we thought the information wasn’t accurate.

Three signs along Arizona's historic route 66I had expected that by today I would have finished my latest video, “Historic Route 66 From Seligman to Peach Springs, Arizona.”

Using photos and movies I took during our vacation in July with two of our grandchildren, I want to learn the Sony Vegas Movie Studio program to create a number of videos for the blog, as well as for Support4Change.

A stumbling block that’s kept me working on this particular video much longer than I should have has been my failure to follow instructions. Actually, it was my failure to understand what the instructions mean when they describe “Bezier Masks.” This is a technique that allows me to create a screen shot like the composite above. Part of one picture shows through two others with a border between them.

This I can do easily with Macromedia Fireworks that I’ve used for several years (and which I used to create this illustration). Unfortunately, when I started reading the instructions for the video editing program, I made an assumption that turned out to be wrong. Since I didn’t realize I was wrong, I created a folder (metaphorically speaking) which I “thought” I was filing in the right place in my brain. Then I kept adding new files with new information in the same “folder.”

Consequently, because that folder was filed incorrectly, every new bit of information was also wrong. Couldn’t figure out why it didn’t add up the way the instructions said it should.

It took some serious analysis and watching the video instructions carefully several times before I could see my error.

This kind of misinterpretation of new information trips me up lots of time. Sometimes resolving the issues is a matter of just stepping back and starting over. Other times I get stuck because my brain THINKS it knows what is going on. My ego stubbornly assumes that the fault lies with the instructions. Sometimes that is true, of course, but in this case I know my understanding of spacial relationships is limited.

Another part of the problem lies with the fact that I don’t always trust instructions. Certainly my ego doesn’t. This summer, for example, I was taking a lot of pictures and the camera’s LCD screen would say WARNING! MEMORY UNABLE TO BE READ. Nonsense, I told myself. The camera has given false warnings before, saying there wasn’t enough memory, when clearly there was. So I knew the camera was wrong and continued taking pictures — which I then could not retrieve!

Symbol of elevator door openFunny how our brains so often get off track. In any case, whether caused by my ego or just a poorly-functioning brain, for a long time I’ve had problems  with elevators. For years. Yes, for years I hadn’t been able figure out the symbol on the control panel  in elevators that tells you when to keep the door open for someone running to get on. For some reason, I interpreted the two arrows when facing out, as being doors going into the center. In other words, closing.

I hate to admit how many people expected me to hold the door for them, only to see it close on their face. Finally, the other day I stood in an elevator (I was the only one onboard) and pushed the buttons several times trying to see how I could change my interpretation of the symbols. Then it struck me. The point of the arrow is facing where the doors will go when that button is pushed. Seeing it as arrows now works for me.

Too bad all these years I’d had it wrong.

What simple things do you have trouble understanding, or accepting without understanding?

Did you enjoy this post?
Here are a some related posts from this blog, and articles from the Support4Change website:


2 thoughts on “It Helps to Understand Instructions

  1. I’ve found that a lot of my assumptions have to do with what I call “marital instructions.” I can’t figure out how, if we’re both know what we think the other person is talking about, there could be any friction. Ha!


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