Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
This is Leo Notenboom for askleo.info.
As you might expect, I hear a lot of things as people ask me questions. I get lots of different scenarios, problems and complaints, as well as excuses and justifications.
There's one statement that stands out as the most frustrating. I just shake my head when I hear it, and it sometimes makes me wonder if there would be any point in answering whatever question is being asked.
I'm stupid when it comes to computers.
Why does this bother me so much? Because the folks who say it have already been defeated - by themselves. Their "I can't" attitude will get in the way of everything they might try. They'll stop trying to learn, because they don't believe they can. They'll give up trying to do things, because they don't believe that they're capable.
What a waste. What a terrible waste.
The secret that they won't accept is simply that it's likely that it's only their attitude that's stopping them. If that weren't in the way, they could learn, and they could do.
Computers can be damned complicated, and yes, they often are very frustrating, but that's not your fault.
Sadly, it's when problems arise I see person after person giving up, and putting the blame on themselves.
Unfortunately our fast-paced society has set up some really high standards: if you don't "get" this stuff instantly, you must be stupid. That couldn't be more wrong, particularly when it comes to computers. In fact, there's a good chance that the faster you think you're getting it, the more likely you are to be getting it wrong.
Stepping back and calmly and patiently taking a little time to understand what was happening, how things work, and how things interrelate is a worthwhile investment. Particularly if spending some time understanding some basic concepts can save you hours of frustration later on. In fact, it's one of the reasons I rarely give "just the answer" without a little gentle education as to why something might be the way it is. That little bit of knowledge might help you figure out similar situations on your own, and with less frustration, in the future.
One of the most rewarding comments I get from time to time are from senior citizens who've resolved an issue and have gotten themselves online, perhaps enabling a new level of communication between the generations.
One of the saddest thoughts are all those out there who think that they're "too dumb when it comes to computers" who could have been doing the same if not for that attitude in the way.
Please, don't let that be you.
I'd love to hear what you think. Visit askleo.info and enter 11721 in the go to article number box to access the show notes, the transcript and to leave me a comment. While you're there, browse over 1,200 technical questions and answers on the site.
Till next time, I'm Leo Notenboom, for askleo.info.
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