Making Friends with Technology

I am so addicted to my computer that I can’t imagine how anyone could live without it, so I’m constantly surprised at how many women over 50 don’t even read their email. I know you get a lot of trash in email but it really can be weeded out pretty well by the spam programs and it is nothing to be alarmed about – wary but not alarmed 😉

I think ignoring the computer age is like turning your back on reality; they are so pervasive in our lives now that we really can’t afford not to know how computers work.
It’s my point of view is that it’s always good to know how to do everything that you need to live alone comfortably, just in case you ever have to, or in my case, choose to.

I have to admit that when computers first came out I said that I was not going to play that game, I would let that one pass me by. But none of us knew back then that they would end up in every aspect of our lives. Pretty soon after that I decided to write a book and there was no way I would do that on a typewriter, remember those frustrating things? 

So I reluctantly learned just the Word program at first and got the book done. Then later I wanted to have a website selling things on the internet. That was a really major learning curve, extremely painful. I learned the Dreamweaver program to create my site and the Photoshop program to do the graphics, and, although it was often frustrating enough to make me want to jump off a cliff, it was also fascinating and pulled me in further and further. Now I wouldn’t want to live without my computer, and financially I couldn’t.

I’ve had women write to me and ask if the links in my newsletters were safe! There is a lot of worry and fear about the internet.
The thing is,
you have to make the decision on who is trustworthy on the net. Just like when you meet someone personally. That is often the tricky part. But by finding your way onto trusted sites owned by people with integrity you can gradually become more accustomed to searching the net to find out what you need to know. It’s worth the effort! 

Any time I have a question about anything, I don’t have to go to the library, I don’t have to look for someone I think might know, I don’t have to figure it out for myself – I just go to a search engine and type in my query.
Yesterday it was, how do I make coconut yogurt? 

Then the top few answers in the search engine are paid ads and are often irrelevant so I tend not to click on those. The next few are the ones that have been most successful at answering this question before. But sometimes I have to persist and keep searching through to the second page. But persistence pays off and I usually get the answers I am seeking.

And videos! They are amazing! There is nothing like being shown step by step how to do something new. And the astonishing thing is that most of them are made by people like you and me, just sharing their knowledge freely. I love that! That’s the way learning should always have been and now we have the technology to do it. I am thankful every day that I was born right when I was born.

So lets reframe your fear of technology

Fear and worry drain your vitality and life-force.

I watched a TED talk the other day about stress and almost all people find speaking in public stressful. So they had their test subjects do some public speaking with their present assumption that stress was a BAD thing and to be avoided if possible. Their arteries constricted.

Then they showed them some research that proved stress can be good for you, the extra oxygen from your beating heart is good for your brain, etc. etc. In fact if you called the emotion you were having excitement instead of fear you could actually realize that you were stretching yourself in new ways and getting bigger. In truth, excitement and fear reside in the same area of the brain and perhaps are different names for the same emotion.

So the subjects reframed their beliefs about stress as a positive thing and when they measured their arterial walls during the speech they stayed relaxed just as if they were not under stress at all.

What we can do is look at some of the negative beliefs you may have:

  • that technology is beyond your capacity,
  • that it makes you feel stupid,
  • that a ten year old knows it better than you,
  • that you just don’t get it and never will and
  • that you could do something dangerous messing with stuff you don’t understand,
  • that you might make an irreversible mistake…

and perhaps more I didn’t think of.

 All of those beliefs are actually misunderstandings of the nature of learning. Like riding a bike; few children get it the first time they get on. They start, they fall, they try again until they get it right. They may cry but they don’t beat themselves up.

My mum had some bad programming about looking stupid and she was as sharp as a tack. But when I tried to teach her anything new her eyes would go back to that place where she felt stupid and she couldn’t hear anything I was saying. I realized that we all have our favored ways of learning, some visual, some auditory and some tactile. Hers was visual, so I always tried to show her stuff instead of going on and on about it verbally.

The funny thing about that was that I got so hyper-sensitive to not repeating instructions in case it made people feel stupid that when I had employees I would just tell them once and expect them to get it and then wonder why they didn’t. You do need repetition and practice when learning any new skill.

If you have negative programming like that and negative beliefs about technology then it’s time to look at the good that is does that you are missing out on. When you want to learn something – like making coconut yogurt – and you know that you could learn it in 5 minutes on youtube, then you will be motivated to learn how to find the video.

Actually youtube is a great place to start playing online. Think of something you have always wanted to learn how to do and go to and put it in the search engine. At the end of the video they will show you similar things and you can just go from one to another and end up in a totally different place, perhaps learning how to deepsea dive in the Bahamas.

As my grandkids were learning gymnastics we went on youtube and found an amazing number of smart, outgoing, kind, young girls who were teaching the skills they themselves had just learned. With their iphones and the help of a friend they were putting together videos that really help other kids, including the ones who would never get to a paid class. I love it! It’s a way of opening learning opportunities to anyone with a web connection.

So listen to the negative voices in your head, if they say “You can’t do that.” Turn around in a half circle and say, “Yep, I sure can, technology is my friend and I don’t have to get it all right today!”

Most people reading this obviously found their way to my site so they probably know a lot more than they think already. Anyway what I would recommend is knowing enough to do research on something you are interested in, or something you need to find out, like the drugs your doctor is pushing.

Also knowing how to find interesting blogs written by women of like mind or similar interests is a great thing. No matter how isolated we women sometimes feel, we do all have a tribe or two of kindred spirits in the world and with an online connection you can always get support from someone who has walked in your shoes, or has the same obsession, like poodles or peonies. I have virtual friends all across the world now and not just Facebook friends. I do have to have a Facebook presence because of my business but I don’t like it at all and don’t spend any time there. I think it’s on the downward turn because it went public, so it’s all about making money now, like Google.

So there is no rush, learn at your own pace but the first step is to give up the belief that you can’t do this. You CAN! Anyone can learn the simple things that lead to exploring the online world. So that part is your first job. When your mental programming says you can’t do this, just remember all the things you’ve learned to do in your life and tell it to be quiet and leave you alone, you’re busy making friends with technology.

Final tip: Don’t have your husband teach you unless he’s very kind and loving and as patient as a librarian. It’s like driving lessons – it’s not worth the risk.