Be Not Afraid

Back in the 90s, I had a hard time convincing some people1 that there wasn’t some special button or combination of keystrokes that would cause them to lose everything on the computer. Times have changed.

Or have they? I still see a lot of fear. I see people who are afraid to try something for fear of what might happen.

What I tell people is this: if you want to do real damage to your computer, damage beyond what I can repair, you’ll have to really, really try2. It’s not going to happen by accident3.

Within reason, if you poke around within a program like Microsoft Word or whatever it may be, you’re not going to cause any serious problems. In most cases, hitting the “undo” button will get you right back where you were.

We have all seen people who seem to possess some innate ability to use technology of any sort. In most cases, it’s simply a lack of fear. They’re not afraid to poke icons and push buttons and see what happens.

There are times where restraint is warranted, of course. Downloading and running every program you find on the Internet is like rolling out the red carpet for malware and viruses. Ditto for clicking random pop-ups and advertisements.

Fear is a funny thing. I see people who are extremely bright, but it’s as though their common sense and intelligence are inversely linked to the computer’s power switch – turning on the computer turns off their common sense and intelligence.

When you walk into a dark room and you would like it to be lit up, what is your first thought? Probably “flip the light switch” or “turn on the lamp”4. When it comes to technology, fear causes many people to abandon logic. When they encounter the computer equivalent of a darkened room, rather than trying the easy stuff first, they start knocking holes in the walls looking for problems with the wiring, or blaming it on lupus5.

Fear drives us to do things that we would otherwise find ridiculous, even in ourselves.

As we wrap up technology month, if you get nothing else out of this, please heed this one piece of advice: STOP BEING AFRAID. Believe me, I know it’s easier said than done. If we could dismiss our phobias that easily, I wouldn’t be afraid of heights6. Technology is here to make our lives easier, not more difficult7. Sometimes, though, that means doing something that is temporarily more difficult, but makes life much easier in the long run. And often times, it means getting past our fears, and trying something new and scary.

Go forth and use technology. Be not afraid.

Check out the infographic:   Thanks for reading my weekly posts this month. I hope you got something out of them.


1 Don’t worry, Aunt Sherry, your secret is safe with me.
2 This isn’t an invitation.
3 Unless you spill something. Then all bets are off.
4 Maybe you shout “Let there be light!” Nothing wrong with that. (Come on, I can’t be the only one.)
5 It’s never lupus.
6 My fear of falling is perfectly rational, thank you.
7 Stop laughing!

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