Old Dogs and New Tricks
Photo: No matter our age, we can all learn new tricks...just like old dogs.
I find that it is very easy to get stuck in the familiar. It doesn’t require much effort to get through the day and the familiar offers a level of safety that is quite reassuring on some days. While everything around us appears to be changing or upgrading or even just disappearing, the familiar has, well, a familiar ring to it.
The technology available to us is a case in point. I believe that the capabilities of my current little Blackberry are far greater than the capabilities of my first large desktop computer. Learning to use this handheld smartphone was not all that difficult, some functions are even intuitive and don’t require much help to figure out. Even now I am sure I only use a fraction of what is possible; there are so many applications (apps) available that it makes my head spin. And honestly who wants to do all that stuff on a small handheld device (formerly called a phone)! But my Blackberry has made my work and personal life quite a bit easier, particularly when I travel.
I think what makes learning new things worth the effort or even new technologies worth the upgrading and the “learning of new tricks” is how it makes your life easier or richer. My mother is in her 80’s and in the last 10 years has become a great email correspondent. Her sister lives in California, and over the years they have developed an email pattern that serves them well. Perhaps texting is their next move. My husband, who is someone whose livelihood is very dependent on the phone and who personally loves phone conversations, says he is not all that comfortable with using technology. Yet, he reads his home town paper online almost daily. He checks sports scores regularly and even now has figured out how to do the whole sports thing on his mobile phone. While he doesn’t think of himself as using technology very much, he in fact does.
For anything new, something that is going to propel you out of the familiar and into new and unchartered territory there has to be some big payoff at the end. Life will need to be a bit easier or more organized, or the richness of the new unfamiliar has to outweigh the comfort of staying with the old. As you push yourself forward, or as you urge someone else to move forward, figure out what will be different. That may be just the thing to help you move ahead or decide to stay where you are.