social mediaMy children had a school assignment the other day. They needed to read a passage and then determine if the sentences describe an opinion or a fact. They looked for clues in the sentences, for phrases like “I think dogs are cute” (opinion) and “cats have four paws” (fact).

I think that makes them better than 80% of the folks using the internet today. <– [WARNING! OPINION JUST USED!]

Let me step back a bit first, perhaps this will make more sense to you afterwards.

I learned at an early enough age that you should never try to be exactly like someone else. If you did then you would always feel like you were second best, and that would always leave you frustrated. Instead of trying to be like one person, you should find the bits and pieces of many persons that resonated deep within yourself. When you pull them together those bits and pieces define you, and you can stop worrying about being like someone else and focus on being yourself.

OK, back to why I am writing this post. This is what I want you to take away after reading:

Don’t listen to me

The things I write here on this blog are my experiences based upon facts I aggregated from other sources and opinions I’ve formed after more than a decade of managing data and databases in the real world.

These experiences are just that: mine. They aren’t yours. You should have your own.

If you blindly take everything I write here, all the scripts I share as “facts” without discovering for yourself what works best for you then you are stopping short of being a complete “you”.

Seriously, don’t listen to me.

Take what you find here and discover for yourself what works best for you.

I read a lot of books and blogs. I see a lot of advice out there. I see lots of “facts” that are just opinions in disguise.

What I also see are people who blindly listen. People who follow someone because they have lots of opinions and a blog. People who assume that all vendor documentation is perfect. People who assume that what was best for one situation is best for all other possible situations. People that assume what works well on one version of a product works well on others. People who trust that opinions are really facts. People that never take the time to verify if the facts are true. People that don’t understand there could be something better if they only looked a little bit deeper.

Opinions are not facts, and having a blog like this doesn’t make my opinions and experiences better than yours.

When surfing the internet looking for advice on something don’t stop at the first source you find. Try these methods that I have found to serve me well:

Find more than one website with unique content about your topic or questions – Lots of times websites and blog posts are “borrowed”, which leads to the proliferation of bad advice. It also means that Page 1 of the Google can return nothing but links that are essentially a cut and paste of each other. You need to find original sources.

Do a “reverse search” – Whatever it is you were searching for, and found, do another search but for the contrary point of view. See if anyone has written about the same topic but their experiences have led them to a different conclusion. For example, if you searched for “drinking milk is good” (which is TOTALLY an opinion, trust me on that) do another search for “drinking milk is bad”.

Take your time – Don’t rush your research. It can take some time for you to gather details. It seems these days everyone wants an answer within three minutes (or less) and as a result we don’t bother taking the time or making the effort to learn a bit more or ask a few probing questions.

Now, go and find out what works best for you.