The Sharing Information Secret
Following the sharing information principle, I tell this story to finally let my secret out and show how you can creatively solve problems and work smarter not harder.
I stumbled upon this powerful idea while at university. I was taking a difficult course in Financial Management. Most of the grade for the course was based on doing a booklet of solving 30 financial projects. We divided into teams of three or four people and had to solve all the problems by the end of the semester. Each problem could take between a day and a week to solve.
My team was me and two girls. A month into the course one girl told us she would drop the course as it was too hard. The second girl came to me next week and said she would also drop the course because it was already difficult and looked even harder for just two people when other groups had four people. This was almost halfway into the course and just before the deadline so it wouldn’t go on their academic record as a fail.
However, I had to take this course now if I wanted to graduate on time. My professor had no sympathy and said I guess you have to do all the projects on your own!
Working Smarter and not Harder
I didn’t have time to do the normal way, so I had to come up with a better way. I saw one group collaborating with another group secretly and sharing an answer to one of the projects. There were six groups in the class, so if I solve a few of the projects I can trade these with the other groups.
I secretly talked to each group separately and found out which projects they were struggling with and agreed to solve these in exchange for answers to other projects.
Don’t Follow the Crowd
All the groups started with project no.1 and then no.2 and skipping the ones they couldn’t solve.
Halfway through the term even the most advanced group had only started no.17, this made me decide to do no.18 and then start working from no.30 backwards. This way I would have the most valuable projects solved and ready to trade, while the other groups would have the same projects complete. This gave me a better position to negotiate from.
I traded no.18 with all six groups and got answers to 10 projects! No. 18 was harder than the early projects, so I got a two for one deal with some groups. In 10 project answers, I got two of the trickier projects that I could also trade with other groups.
I then did projects 30-25 and with these was able to trade for all the other projects I needed.
The Eureka moment I had was information is not like a physical product that can only be shared with one person at a time. Information can be shared with multiple people simultaneously and the info I get back can also be traded.
The Timing of Information is Everything
Information is time relevant, people couldn’t think about project no.30 when they were only on no.17.
We need information in a timely manner, getting info before you need it is not helpful and getting it after is worthless.
I made all the groups swear to secrecy which wasn’t hard. I also had the added secret of not being able to tell anyone else about my master plan for fear that someone would get jealous and the professor would find out.
In conclusion, I did six of the 30 projects. If my original group of three divided the projects evenly I would have had 10 to do.
Admittedly I did the more difficult projects but by working smarter I saved time on the others. I feel that I deserved my A in the course.
The other lesson here is that people skills will get you further in life than just hard work. See my article about people skills tips.
First, they will ask: Why? Then How did you do it?
The two girls that dropped out on me were so surprised when I carried on as they assumed no normal person would continue and even more stunned when I got an A!
The sharing information principle can also benefit you. This is why I share so much good free information on my website. Reciprocity in learning rocks, the more I share the more other people share with me. Good things come to those who share!
Sharing Information vs Knowledge Hoarding
I heard in a study from the TED Radio Podcast that scientists found educating young men in a rural tribal community largely had no effect as they kept all the information they learned to themselves and didn’t share it with their families or communities.
However, when the scientists instead educated the grandmothers in the community, these grandmothers taught their families and communities. Now I try to be more like a grandmother and share what I learn.
See this article for great Podcasts that will change your life.
I hope you enjoyed this article and share it with people in your world.