#1 Tech Tip: Don’t Be Afraid

I’ve always said that the key to using and beginning to understand technology is not to be afraid of it. And a reader named Doug agrees. He wrote this in response to an article breaking down the basics of wireless. “One thing I might add is that being afraid never gets us anywhere. I let wireless technology sneak up on me and I was left ignorant. What I’ve done is talk to people, get confused, and then go back with questions. I am not an expert, but I can navigate around my home network. As I built I talk to salesmen at Bestbuy, PC Connection, and others. I finally jumped in and did not drown. I am still green, but I did it. By the way, the 16-year-old smart-arse down the street was a big help once I overcame my fear of his ease with the lingo.”

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Doug – that is actually the best advice ever. I’m no teenager. I grew up with a rotary phone and black and white TV. I learned about tech because it was a requirement in my job. I learned more about tech because I learned not to fear it. I’ve seen a lot of highly-educated professionals simply refuse to learn things. They ended up being sorry about that later because tech is going to move on without you whether you choose to master it or not.

My number one rule for learning about new tech is not to fear it. And, believe me, I break this rule all the time myself and it’s always a bad idea.

I think the first thing to know is that, it’s not some form of mysterious magic. There’s zero need to be intimidated. In your lifetime, especially if you’re a bit older,  you’ve learned to do things way more complicated than using a smartphone.

You don’t actually have to understand how it all works to use it. You don’t need to know how to take an engine apart to drive a car. You don’t need a deep understanding of the ins and outs of heating and air conditioning to use your furnace. You don’t have to understand how your power is generated to switch on a light. All you need to do is get a basic understanding of what the parts are called and which ones you’re supposed to touch. For a care, you need to know terms like ignition, steering, brakes, speedometer, wipers, and gas gauge. For a PC, it’s terms like wireless, browser, updates, mouse, and settings.  To drive, you need to remember basic rules like what the traffic lights mean and what side of the road to drive on. For your PC, you’ll need to understand some basic rules of web safety.

It helps to find a friend who understands the lingo. Never be afraid to ask to have an explanation simplified.

I have a couple of questions for our readers. How comfortable are you with new technology? Do you make an effort to understand the lingo or do you just consider it over your head? If you’re comfortable with tech, tell us the steps you take to learn new things. Let us know in the comments.

~ Cynthia

7 thoughts on “#1 Tech Tip: Don’t Be Afraid

  1. I use a lot of trial-and-error and Google. I’m pretty much self-taught on computer stuff. Newsletters also help a lot. But I wish I had a glossary of simple, basic

  2. terms. Like what is that little thingy in the system tray called that looks like panpipes and tells you how strong your Wi-Fi signal is? I’ve been wondering for years!

  3. Such good advice!! I just turned 70 (in my head though I am still somewhere around 50!!) and love technology. Do I understand it all, of course not, but I am pretty good at using it and embrace everything as it comes along. I get so frustrated with friends my age and much younger who are so not tech savvy, who do not embrace it nor in some cases, even use it. They sound like a bunch of curmudgeons sometimes. I try to explain the best way to understand any of it is to give it a try as, for the most part, it makes their life more interesting and easier. And if they have grands, what better way to join their world cause for sure it is the only way to stay in touch with them any more. Oh well, I do try and I have taught my husband a lot since he retired and if he can learn, most anyone can!!

  4. I am always fearful of ‘new’ things. But thought if ‘they’ can learn it, so can I. There’s still so much I want to know and learn a lot from Tech Tips. But I’ve learned & taught myself so much about handling photos, photography, & multiple editing programs just by clicking on something ‘just to see what it does’. I’m a senior senior, so come on seniors, we can outshine those youngsters yet!! Trish

  5. I turned 80 last year; my husband is 86, and we have had a computer in our home since the early 90s. We are in no way experts in the use of a computer, but we can use it and would not be without one. We just got a new one with Win 10 and Office 2016 and are doing quite well with it – learning Outlook for email and Edge for internet browsing, although I still prefer IE 11 to Edge. I have been a subscriber to Steve’s Tips for years and have found a lot of help there. Thank you so much for continuing to offer such good advice and information free to those of us who desperately need it!

  6. Sorry for the mistake of using the word “free” regarding your advice, but it might as well be considering the small charge. Thanks again!

  7. My comment is that I need it to learn computers because my job required that part.
    I went to school for some part, but for other stuff I taught myself most of the things that I know now and always asking who really knows about the stuff.
    One can stay behind on time or technology, you have to always go with the flow.

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