Conquer Your Fear of Tech

Conquer Your Fear of Tech

In this day and age, technology is everywhere, from the ubiquitous smartphone, to different cloud computing platforms that host most of the applications we rely on for work. Given the pervasiveness of technology in our daily lives, it’s understandable that we may not want to admit to a fear of learning new technologies, but don’t worry, we won’t judge. 

If you have been tech curious but were afraid to ask, now’s the time to dive in. Don’t be intimidated by new technologies or run from them.  It’s never too late, and ignoring tech won’t help your odds of finding a job or starting a business.

Here are some great resources to help you conquer your fear of new tech, whether you just want to understand what all the acronyms actually mean, or if you’re looking for an easy way to sharpen your tech skills.

Technology Resources

Grow with Google is a great place to start. Google has been quietly building out this online learning hub since 2017. It focuses on a wide range of topics, from basic free training to more specialized topics like learning technology in education, or training for veterans and military families.

Do you come from a traditional media and marketing background and want to sharpen your digital skills? Grow with Google also offers certifications like this one in the Fundamentals of digital marketing.

Through its EdX site, Microsoft also offers free online courses from a range of over 140 different institutions spanning topics like software development, data science, and engineering.

LinkedIn Learning also provides a broad range of content, some free, some paid. For example, here’s a good one on collaboration in the modern workplace. It provides a nice survey of different tools around file management, collaborative editing, and communication.

Want to go a bit deeper and learn about cloud computing and what you can do to start building and testing your own cloud services? Check out our post on the promise of ‘no code’, and then look at some of the training resources from the major cloud providers:

Cloud Computing and Amazon Web Services

AWS free training

Azure Training on LinkedIn Learning

There are tons of free courses on LinkedIn Learning (now owned by Microsoft).

Just looking to understand more about the different tools that can help you work remotely? Check out this article from Skillcrush.

There’s a world of options out there, but this should give you a good place to start and make your journey into new technology less intimidating.

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On a related note, here’s a great Ted Talk on myths about the future of work and the impact technology will have through increased automation. It covers fear of substitution, and the positive benefits through what Daniel Susskind calls the “complementarities” of new technologies.

Editing in the Second Half

Editing in the Second Half

Chip Conley, Author of “Wisdom @Work” said, “Accumulation is for the first half of life, editing is for the second half.”  Looking at all the things I don’t need or use has been eye opening.  Why on earth did I purchase so many shoes?  And dresses?  And jackets?  Since there’s nowhere to go wearing all those items, it was time to re-think (and stare at) my stuff.  

In his book Stumbling on Happiness,” psychologist Daniel Gilbert says that satisfaction and joy from owning an object quickly wanes.  It’s what psychologists call habituation and economists call it “declining marginal utility.”  As you accumulate more, one’s happiness quotient declines over time. So why do some of us develop strong materialistic values and others don't?  Research indicates that financial and emotional insecurity--lies at the heart of consumeristic cravings. If you care a ton about what others think of you, you might be suscestible to buying more. In addition to that, it’s not money but rather the striving for it, that's linked to unhappiness.

The decluttering process is something many of us avoid - only making it worse.  That might be because it forces us to take a closer look at ourselves. According to Marie Kondo, author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, she wrote, "The process of facing and selecting our possessions can be quite painful. It forces us to confront our imperfections and inadequacies and the foolish choices we made in the past." 

Visually Disturbing

One study by Princeton researchers found that physical clutter in our surroundings competes for our attention, resulting in decreased productivity and increased stress. 

Piles of paper stacked in a corner may not seem like a big deal but research shows cluttered areas have a cumulative effect on our brains. Our brains like order, and visual reminders of clutter drain our cognitive resources, reducing our ability to focus. The visual distraction of clutter increases cognitive overload and can reduce our working memory.  I’ve often said that if something was out of place or a complete mess that it was “visually disturbing.” I didn’t realize how true that statement was and how we can control it which helps reduce our anxiety and depression.  

When we store too much and hold onto things we no longer want or need, it’s another thing to think about and focus on rather than more important things like relationships.  

Tips for Editing Possessions:

  1. Set your timer for 10-20 minutes, and begin "a speed elimination." Move through your home tossing or recycling anything that you no longer want or need. 
  2. If #1 is too severe, give yourself a month and hit it room by room or closet by closet.  After 30 days, the burden of owning too much stuff will be lifted. 
  3. Choose quality over quantity.
  4. Divide your things into four boxes: donate, throw away, keep, and things to sell. If you don’t love it, get rid of it.  Do NOT change your mind and pluck it from the get rid of it pile. 
  5. Consider gifting things on a neighborhood “Free Stuff” post - you never know how you might impact another person’s life.
  6. Envision your end goal - what will it look like and feel like to get rid of loads of unwanted items and clutter?  As a result of your self imposed “cleanse” how much more accomplished will you feel?

“A dramatic reorganization of the home causes correspondingly dramatic changes in lifestyle and perspective. It is life-transforming.” 

-Marie Kondo

Our world has been overwhelmed by consumer pursuits for a long time. Home sizes are growing, but happiness and mental health are not. Too much purchasing has proven detrimental and causes more stress, anxiety, fatigue, and regret in people’s lives.   Changing that dynamic can be life changing (according to Marie Kondo) which is why I’m living by this quote.

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