My husband walked into the kitchen last week and announced, “My toothbrush is smarter than I am!”
He may be right. Elmer’s new electric toothbrush has five brushing modes, a pressure sensor to tell him if he’s brushing too hard, Advanced Triple Zone Cleaning Technology, a digital wireless Smart Guide that acts as a clock when not in use, 8,800 side-to-side oscillations and 40,000 up-and-down pulsations. As a reward for doing a good job brushing, a smiley face pops up on the digital screen. Good grief!
Elmer’s toothbrush makes him feel like an even older fogey than he actually is. It makes him feel like he doesn’t understand the ways of the world anymore and, secretly, most of the time he doesn’t even want to try.
If this sounds familiar don’t feel like the Lone Ranger. Even when you like technology and enjoy playing with it, you can still feel a little overwhelmed by how fast it changes.
Here are six tips to help make technology more approachable and more fun.
1. Don’t Hide Behind Excuses
- “I’m too old.”
- “I’m too young.”
- “I’ve never studied computers before.”
- “I don’t have time to learn anything new.”
- “Who needs email when you can just pick up a phone or write a letter?”
There are lots of excuses for why you avoid technology, but technology is now our way of life and excuses won’t get you any closer to actually understanding and using it. Let go of the excuses. You don’t have to cling to them.
2- Don’t Make Your Ignorance Your Identity
“You know me; I’m an idiot when it comes to computers! Ha Ha!”
“I’m not a techie-type person.”
Once you identify with your own ignorance of technology, it’s hard to learn about technology. Your identity becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Rather than talk about your ignorance, acknowledge your ability to learn. Focus on what to learn and how to learn it–without judging yourself.
3- Admit You Don’t Know
One of the biggest reasons we avoid learning something new is because we hate to admit what we don’t know. It’s embarrassing to admit that you don’t know what an iPad is, or how to create your own email account when everyone is communicating via email and drooling over the iPad.
If you don’t admit your ignorance, however, you miss out on the opportunity to learn. Most people are more than happy to explain.
4- Ask Those Who Know
You are probably surrounded by people who can help you understand technology. So don’t be shy—ask.
Don’t overlook your children or grandchildren for help with technology. They’ve grown up with smartphones, iPads, iPods and the internet. And you’ll make their day by asking.
Ask for definitions. Ask for explanations. Ask for suggestions. Ask for resources. Ask for recommendations.
Get smart fast with the “…. For Dummies” books. There’s one for just about every digital device –and they’re sooooo easy to read and understand.
5- Learn the Terminology
The most intimidating thing about technology isn’t technology–it’s the terminology. The solution? Learn what the words mean.
There’s no escaping the fact that you need to learn what technical words mean to understand technology. You’ll be surprised how much you can accelerate your learning by simply looking up the words you don’t know.
6- Adjust Your Expectations
If someone handed you a smart phone and you’d never used a touchscreen before, don’t expect that you’ll know exactly how to use it from the get-go. Expect to make lots of mistakes at the beginning, and expect to take a long time doing simple tasks at first. But know that you will get better.
Like Elmer has learned with his toothbrush, time and practice makes a once-daunting experience much easier.
So go out and buy that smart phone that everyone seems to have. Learn to use an iPad (or get your local 14 year-old to teach you). It wouldn’t surprise me that in a few short weeks you’ll be much more technologically comfortable and savvy.
Enjoy the journey!