Many people, of all ages, feel that our fast-changing world is leaving them behind. And this is especially true when it comes to technology, computer skills and social media.
Before we begin to discuss solutions, though, I have a confession.
I love computers and the internet, a fascination that began in the early 1990s. Before Internet Explorer and before Google, the most popular program to access the internet was Netscape Navigator. Many of you may remember this innovative software.
I went to download Netscape one day and my computer asked me whether I wanted to get the program from Canada, the United States or Norway. I chose Norway and 15 minutes later it arrived. Imagine, straight from Norway into my computer. I was amazed and have been hooked ever since.
Next, a reality check.
Our world is moving fast. Way faster than it has for most of our lives. The speed can feel overwhelming. We can feel left behind, feel older and feel that maybe we aren’t really needed in this new world.
This kind of feeling is not healthy and not an enjoyable way to spend your retirement years. But you are not alone. The world is changing so fast that no one is caught up. Most people are winging it throughout each day. If you are not winging it, at least some of the time, you may be falling even further behind. We all need challenges to keep from deteriorating.
This requires a lot of patience and sometimes more than we have at hand. But it helps to remember that we are all in the same boat. And that our very helpful friend Google is there to help.
Here are some ideas to help you keep moving forward.
No one is able to avoid the inevitable frustrations of using a computer, not even young people.
One of the main reasons is that computers and software are very literal and totally unreasonable. Keep reminding yourself that your computer is the unreasonable one, not you.
Your computer will never compromise. It will never let you off with a minor mistake. If you don’t know the exact right answer, your efforts will fail. Your computer doesn’t care if you are a beginner, expert or Nobel Prize winner.
For me, the secret to living with my computer has been to admit that I need help, at every step of the way. When I am stuck, I try not to blame myself or to try and figure out a solution on my own. I immediately go to Google or YouTube and start asking questions.
You can always start by asking Google or YouTube. There are no stupid questions when you are asking a computer. Besides, the computer answering your questions has no feelings or judgments.
Whenever I want to explore a new topic or learn how to do something, I always ask Google for examples of how others have done what I want to start doing. And don’t restrict your searches to the use of keywords – use full sentence questions. The more specific your questions, the better.
Sometimes, I don’t like the answers I get. I always want the simplest solution I can find. So, I try asking my question in a different way. This strategy usually helps with my immediate problem, and I learn new things along the way.
Many articles on retirement recommend adding new technology and social media skills. This can help sharpen your memory and your mind. By learning even a few things, you can avoid the feeling of being out of step with the modern world.
Millions of people, of all ages now, use social media regularly – everyone from actors, musicians, athletes, politicians, religious leaders and your neighbor next door. You can read about and follow specific people you like and add your own thoughts and opinions whenever you feel like chiming in.
For me, confidence comes from learning by doing. In fact, I find it much easier than learning from a book or manual. YouTube videos are often a good way to get an overview of any new topic or skill I want to take on. I like to get started, run into problems, find a solution and keep learning.
An interesting part of my work with A Warm Heart has been learning how to promote my writing with Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn. I am learning more each day and loving it – with Google’s help of course.
It is easy and free to get yourself started. You can pick any one platform to begin. It’s quite a bit of fun, really.
What scares you the most about technology? Do you often think that only you can’t keep up with all the new things that come out each year? Where do you seek help when you don’t know how to do something?