You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.” ― Bruce Lee
On the phone the other day, my mom described the ongoing difficulty she had been having with her laptop. Faced with a computer that would not turn on, she had no idea what was wrong, nor the vaguest idea how to fix it.
Apparently my father took a shot at “repairing” it, albeit without a manual or technical advice of any sort. Hours later, my mother checked in on him only to find the computer – wires splayed and beeping sounds filling the room – worse off than it was before. Exasperated, she would bring the computer to Rogers for the third time in two weeks, fingers crossed for a lasting solution.
My parents are in their 70s. I appreciate how difficult it is for them to manage the technology that has appeared so late in their life, and become so crucial to communication. I know because of the challenges I have faced over the years taking on this relentless learning curve – be it to build websites, implement SEO programs, manage Intranets, learn HTML code, or simply create spreadsheets.
Typically I thrive on learning and overcoming challenges, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit the frustration I’ve felt faced with technical difficulties – slow connections, lack of specialized knowledge, outdated systems – compounded by the pressure of needing to get the job done ASAP.
But I wouldn’t be alone. It’s a funny situation we all find ourselves in – using and managing tools we are wholly reliant on with only a limited understanding of their functioning and capability. Nevertheless, the expectation (however implicit or overt) is that we just figure it out (what’s Google for after all, right?).
It’s unusual to see this in other specialties. Owning a camera makes someone a photographer no more than owning scissors makes him/her a hairstylist. But, armed with a computer, each one of us must become a technical expert to some extent, if not for any other reason but because we simply cannot function without them.
This is compounded by another certainty – that is that the technologies and systems we depend on will continue to evolve. And despite our natural strengths and skills, we all must evolve with it.
So, the sooner we embrace the technical lessons we will forever be faced with, the better off we will be. And with any luck, we actually enjoy it along the way.
Michelle Di Rocco is a Adventure traveler, photography/cycling enthusiast, cupcake eater, PR pro, lover of life.