Give Me The Fish (GMTF): Your time is one of the most valuable things you have, don’t let people waste it because they suck at teaching or they are trying to show off. No need to sugar coat it, don’t hesitate to be blunt and tell them to cut to the chase.
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Is There A Point?
“God Dammit! Give me the fish”. It was my first week or so in the Marine Corps and a fellow Lieutenant had just launched on a diatribe about how the Marine Corps supply chain works. What caused this onslaught of soul-crushing wasted words of B.S I didn’t care about. I had just asked what I needed to do to buy some gear for my Marines.
The Supply Officer, after stammering something about the importance of understanding the system, succinctly summarized the answer. “I’ll email you this form, fill it out, send it back, and you will have your stuff in a couple of weeks, and it will be just down the hall”.
Boom. What was the rest of that?!?!! Instead of just having cut to the chase and told me the answer. For some reason, he felt the need to waste 15 minutes of my life.
Cut To The Chase And Be Blunt
I joke you not, he had just spent the last 15 minutes filling up three separate whiteboards with organizational charts and bullet points. All to explain how to send an email and pick up some gear two doors over.
He finished a 15-minute conversation in 15 seconds. And, a simple blunt comment given to a dude wanting to show off his knowledge was all it took. And guess what? I still remember how to order gear, and I literally remember nothing of what the Supply Officer said in the first 15 minutes.
The savior of the day was a smart-alec comment backed by a lot of honesty and some blunt talk. Sometimes being able to tell someone to cut to the chase and having the willingness to say what needs to be said can save us all some time.
People Are More Then Capable of Asking More Information If They Need It
There are times we need to understand an entire system, but not always, and often, especially for new people, they don’t understand enough for it really to sink in anyway. The funny thing is, we all know that. Even the guy rambling on for 15 minutes about things that are borderline gibberish.
We have all suffered through some boring lecture. Most likely, with a powerpoint in front of us and some dude (or girl) monotoning on in front of us. Probably, explaining a large amount of knowledge that none of us even faintly understood or cared about.
It’s not that we’re stupid and it’s not that we can’t learn what’s being taught. We are just not ready for that much information. And, most of us are more then capable of asking for an explanation if we need it.
Don’t Tacitly Lie to People About Their Skill Or Let People Waste Your Time For Their Own Gain By Showing Off
So, the question we have to ask, is why? Why do people feel the need to fully explain things when they are asked a simple question? Why can’t they cut to the chase? There are two reasons for this:
- They explain everything because they want to help. If this is the case, they are either naive or have forgotten what it is like to be new (essentially, they suck at teaching).
- To be blunt, they want to show off.
Both of these options are not only wasting your time but theirs as well. Now, there is nothing run with wanting to show off. People have the right to peacock. I actually think people should show off more often. But people also have the right to bluntly tell people to shut up and say “give me the fish”.
Regardless of why this person feels the need to waste everyone’s time. Yes, there are times, you may need to say this tactfully, but that doesn’t let you off the hook.
By not saying anything, not only is that robbing everyone of their time, but it’s by default lying. Faking interest and artificially making someone feel better than they are, is leaving no room for them to improve.
Cut To The Chase and Be Straightforward
I have since lived by the motto “Give Me The Fish”. The simple comment changed my life, and has saved myself not only time but has improved my reputation with those around me.
I have learned that there are times when you do need to tactfully tell people to “Give Me The Fish”, but there has never been a need to sugar coat any of it. You can be blunt without being a jerk
Telling your boss “I don’t know enough about this to understand what you’re saying”, or telling them, “I need to take care of this and I just need (blank) to get it done” works just fine.
Better yet, people start seeing you as a no-nonsense guy. And, as long as you are consistent, it will gain you respect. You will find that people appreciate the honesty and straightforwardness.
For this, I will start every one of my articles here on out with a GMTF (Give Me The Fish) summary. I don’t want my time wasted, so, I won’t waste yours.
If you teach a man to fish he can fish forever, but if he doesn’t care, he won’t retain it in the first place. So, cut to the chase and be better for it. If it’s somebody else, tell them to give you the God Damn fish.
Save yourself some time and ave the other guy some time. And let him ask for more info if he wants it. And, if you don’t want to hear someone show off their knowledge, don’t let them, you control your life. Otherwise, cut down on the crap, cut to the chase, and save your breath for something else. #GiveMeTheFish