Do You Have Your Own User Manual?

I strongly believe that we, as humans, should come with our own custom user manual. Just like any other device in our lives, you know? Why having a user manual for your dishwasher, for your toaster, for your TV set, and not one for yourself? What if people misuse you? What if they push the wrong buttons on you? What if, and that’s the most common situation I encountered, they don’t know exactly what your purpose in their lives is? They think you’re a washing machine, and treat you like this, whereas, alas, you’re just a cab, taking them from point A to point B, then leaving them alone at their destination…

Modern Day Slavery

Truth is that, today, everybody is using everybody. We just don’t wrap up this usage in a standard transaction. We don’t pay real money and we don’t give receipts. But we do use everybody in our lives, sometimes with good intentions, sometimes with evil intentions (yes, admit it) and sometimes without any intentions at all, just because we can. And because that’s the widely accepted norm.

We use our friends to have a good time, we use our clients to get money in exchange of the value we provide to them, we use our partners to get stability and I can go on like this forever. But that’s not what bothers me. Using other people is just a choice. What really bothers me is that we use other people in the wrong way. We don’t read their users manuals. Oh, wait, they don’t have a user manual…

How To Build Your Own User Manual

I can easily imagine situations in which you interact with another person, and, because you don’t know exactly who that person is, you just ask him candidly to present his user manual. You read it, get the point and then the entire meeting goes on smoothly as silk. It’s all in the user manual, you know…

Not to be mistaken with the socially accepted introduction. “Hi,, I’m Dragos and I’m a digital nomad”, that’s not a user manual paragraph. That’s a socially accepted introduction. “Hi, I’m Dragos Roua and I can be used for motivation, business partnerships, world traveling and story telling”, that’s more like a user manual page.

So, the other day I took half an hour and started to design my own user manual. It’s a real one, each and every part of it is designed to give you a clear impression of what I can do, what I can’t do and what I’m not even designed to do. Being mistaken for somebody I’m not was a way too common situation in my life. Maybe I should have done this earlier…

1. Caution: You May Get Hurt

If you use me in the wrong way, you may get hit. I can be very useful to you, just like the electricity powering your computer or TV set, bring light, entertainment and warmth. But if you stick your fingers in the power outlet, you’ll get the shake of your life. I’m not kidding.

2. Feed Me With Trash And You’ll Get Trashy Results

Ever tried to put shit in the cleaning compartment of the washing machine? No? It’s interesting, go ahead and do it right now. Then come back and tell me the results in the comments. Just because I can act like a washing machine, it doesn’t mean I can clean up every problem in your life. It’s up to you to use me correctly.

3. I Can Only Do What’s In My User Manual

Don’t expect me to be a dual core proc if my user manual says I’m a pentium II at 66 MHz. In other words, I have limits and I’m not afraid to display them. In some areas I do perform like a quad proc, while in others I can barely move. For instance, I can create, build and maintain businesses for years, while having evening conversations gossiping the hell out of neighbors, well, that’s something I’m simply unable to do in a sustainable way.

4. Accept And Evaluate My Input

In other words: listen to me. If you don’t do that, you won’t get any feedback and I can behave completely erratically. Let’s say you put a piece of metal in your toaster and then fire it up. And then you leave the kitchen for some innocent chores. The toaster will heat rapidly and, at some point, it will explode, while burning your electrical wiring entirely. Well, you weren’t there for feedback. If you were, you could’ve evaluate the first signs of heat and act accordingly. But you didn’t evaluate the consequences of your actions. If you do start something with me, then be there for feedback and get it in the early stages. Otherwise, you will most likely notice a huge explosion.

5. Handle With Care

I’m not made of glass, so you can’t break me. But I’m also not steel, so I can’t take anything. People are usually misled by the appearance of a business man able to take anything and then they try to use the maximum of my time, my support, my patience. I’m only human, just like you. I’m not gonna break if you touch me, but I’m not gonna last forever either. So be gentle, if you want gentle feedback.

6. Use Me For The Designated – And Agreed – Purpose

If I’m your boss then you should use me as a boss. If I’m a friend, don’t take me as a business partner. Unless I publicly and honestly display this function to you. If you’re a woman and I come to you as a friend, don’t take me as a lover. Unless, of course, I publicly and honestly display this function to you. I can function in many ways, but in our interaction I can only display a limited set of functions. Be sure to use only those, because otherwise you may get (highly) unexpected results.

7. Read This Fucking Manual

Again and again, until you get it. It’s not rocket science. Oh, and build your own. It will make my job so much easier. Start in the comments below, or do it on your own blog, Facebook or Tumblr account. Just leave a link back to this post, so I know who you are.

As I told you, it’s not rocket science.

8 thoughts on “Do You Have Your Own User Manual?”

  1. I like the concept and already shared it with a few friends who may appreciate it.

    My first indications are:
    1- R.T.F.M.
    2- I’m direct, speak my mind and bend over for no one.
    3- My intentions are always positive. Remember this!
    4- I expect to be treated the same way.

    These are the basics.

  2. You’d nned version control and good distribution channels so everyone gets the updates? During my irrational moments (or extra wise moments) I can imagine the manual coming back to bite me!

    • Yeap, totally agree with that version control thing. I can see myself quickly tapping a “git push” after a serious breakthrough. As for biting back, it will bite back regardless of the version control. Life’s not fair. But it’s beautiful. 🙂

  3. what if everyones user manual would be out there.. Working together, meeting new people, approaching new potential business partners, everything would be much easier.


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