The Value of an Outsider's Perspective

In my last article, I discussed the 15 minute rule. This is a simple little rule I use to help determine when it is time to either step away or ask for help.

But do you just step away or do you get input from others?

Typically if I know of someone who could possibly have an answer or see things from another useful perspective and I know they have the time, I go get their input. Coming back to something later can really help, but other people have additional insight they can bring to the table, insight that you cannot get by just looking at it yourself.

Other people see things differently

When you get assistance from another person, you gain a fresh perspective. They bring a different background and way of seeing the world. They have tried things before you have not and have a slightly different approach. Helping you turn the topic on its side and seeing it from a different angle helps you expand your point of view as well.

Other people have knowledge you don't

There is so much to know that we never learn but a fraction of the information out there. When we work with other people, they bring knowledge with them and expand the capabilities of those they work with. Yes, you could Google it, but many times other people bring in knowledge you didn't even know was out there to search for. And the internet doesn't have everything.

We are blind to our own mistakes

We see what we meant to put there and often skim right over mistakes because our brains correct errors for us. This is a big problem for writers and programmers. We type in words or code and then, when reviewing the information we typed in, we gloss right over typos, grammar mistakes, logic errors, etc. Our eyeballs see the truth but our brains filter it to show us what it expected to find. This is a powerful filter as it helps us turn what could be mangled gibberish into intelligible information but it hinders us when reviewing our own work. Getting an outsider to do the review helps overcome this limitation as they don't know what you mean before going over your work.

Other people add spice to your recipe

Other people's styles are different and can add spice to your routine. What I am talking about here is the right brain or creative side of our mind. It is our creativity that brings out new and innovative ideas or ingenuitive approaches to solving problems. It helps with what we call "thinking out of the box." Combine your creative juices and some very amazing results can surface.

You can inspire those who help you

When you work with others, the benefit goes both ways. I have taught students on a variety of subjects over the last couple decades. And no matter what subject I teach or who I teach it to, I always gain a deeper understanding of what I already know. Also, the questions the students ask get me thinking of new aspects of the topic at hand. But the best learning is when the student challenges you with questions you hadn't even considered before. I have found that I actually learn more as the teacher than I do as a student. It is one reason I love to help others.

So go ahead, get that assistance from others that you trust and respect. Expand your horizons and know that you will both benefit from the experience.