As someone who has worked with computers for more than three-quarters of my life, I can say without boasting that I have a decent proficiency with them. Where I don’t know everything about every piece of hardware or software out there, I can usually get my way around with some analysis and troubleshooting.
The longstanding line, “computers are supposed to make our loves easier” seems more like a fleeting goal for many people. Due to my technical experience, I am often held in a higher regard by those who are more tech novices, namely when something they may not understand or are having trouble with comes more naturally to me.
Don’t get me wrong – ego stroking every once in a while is a good thing! But in all reality it mostly isn’t warranted. Whenever I get a large abundance of praise or witness someone denigrate themselves over their lack of technical knowledge, I usually look at them and smile, then I explain to them the reason why I am smiling.
Why? We all have our place.
My skill and ability with computers overshadow things I can’t and mostly don’t want to do. I can’t iron a shirt without making it look worse than what I started with, I can’t lay tile, I can’t bake, I can’t ice skate, I can’t use a SLR or DSLR camera… and the list goes on. But do I care about these things I can’t do? No. Why? Because others can do them, do them well and I look to them for those tasks and services.
Years ago I was at a friend’s business, an auto body shop. When I was there, he couldn’t figure out how to do something on his computer and asked for my help. I don’t recall exactly what the task was but I do recall figuring it out rather quickly. When I showed him what I did, he was flabbergasted and expressed how stupid he felt that he couldn’t have figured it out for himself.
Then it was my turn. I smiled and said something like, “dude, we all have our place. I know computers, and you know cars. You can take a twisted hunk of metal and turn it back into a Mercedes. So when you have a computer question you call me, and when I get into a car accident I call you.” He’s a smart guy and he agreed with my logic.
So the next time you feel frustrated over something you don’t know, think about what you do know and what your place is in helping others. Plus I have to admit – I get baffled with a lot of technology issues I run into and completely sympathize with you that many things are not more intuitive.
This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.
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