Have you ever had trouble finding something and needed assistance?
I have. Let me share a discovery about finding things that I made last week.
I was shopping at Target* for some last minute items before taking an eleven mile hike to an alpine lake. I needed Ibuprofen and a Cliff Bar. I was able to locate the Ibuprofen quickly. It was in the aisle labeled pain relievers. But I couldn’t find the Cliff Bar.
I only had a few minutes and Target is a large store so I asked a clerk named Eugene, “Would you help me locate Cliff bars, please?”
Eugene said, They are in the the middle of aisle 6A.”
He started walking toward the aisle, which was 100 feet from where we were standing, “Thank you, Eugene. Please keep doing whatever you were doing. I’ll find it.”
Eugene replied, “Thank you. If you need more help, please come back.”
I went to aisle 6A and the Cliff bars were exactly in the middle of the aisle. “Bingo,” I thought to myself.
I was ahead of schedule. That relief may have caused my mind to access a couple more items that I wanted. I spotted my new buddy Eugene and glided over and asked him, “Eugene, where can I find Backwoods Off?”
He said, “It’s nearby, let me walk you over.”
I followed him over a few aisles and there it was on the top shelf. I quickly grabbed it thinking about the mosquito bites that I wouldn’t have to endure when I reached the lake.
“Thank you. One more item, Eugene, and I’m good to go. Someone told me about a trail mix that you carry. Where would I find it?”
“I’m not sure. It might be near sporting goods. Let’s walk over there.”
We walked about 50 feet. Eugene pointed me at a large display of plastic bags loaded with various nuts, chocolates and dried fruit concoctions and asked, “Is that what you are looking for?”
“That’s it, Eugene. Thank you. You’ve been a great help.”
“You are welcome,” Eugene said smiling as he turned and strolled away.
I headed toward the cash register feeling good because I was way ahead of schedule. I started thinking about the process.
When I knew exactly what I wanted, Eugene told me exactly where to find it. When I gave him a general idea of what I wanted, Eugene could get me in the general area. If I hadn’t have recalled that I wanted the trail mix, Eugene wouldn’t have been able to help me.
That’s when I had an epiphany —
The more precisely you can tell someone what you want, the more precisely they can tell you where to find it.
I started thinking about the implications. And I realized something even more important, which I’ll call the Target Law —
If you can’t tell someone what you want, no one can help you find it.
It behooves anyone who wants something added to their life to take the time to articulate as precisely as possible what it is that they want (the target). You are much closer to being able to find it yourself or finding someone, like Eugene, who can help you find it.
What happens if you can only poorly articulate your desires? You’ve learned something. You’ve uncovered the desire to better articulate what it is that you want. Someone can help you articulate your desires better when you ask for that kind of help.
*Target is a discount-store chain that has 1,600 stores in the U.S.