How I overcame my fear of technology

With me being a software engineer, you might think “duh, you’re not scared of technology.” But actually, being scared of technology is partially why I majored in Computer Science. In fact, growing up I let others handle all my computer problems. Whenever I caught viruses on my computer (I was adventurous!), I would hand the computer to my dad. If the TV wires weren’t connected, I would ask my younger brother to fix it. Anything technical, I wouldn’t trust myself…until I asked myself why not.

My first epiphany was when I was sleeping over at my cousin’s house. My cousins and brother would wire together video game consoles to play games while I would usually look away disinterestedly. But this time, I noticed that they just used trial-and-error to fit wires into the TV and the console, without Googling anything. That was the first time I thought “hmm, I actually never tried to wire this myself.”

In the next sleepover when my cousins were unavailable to help me, I found the old Nintendo GameCube. After half an hour of carefully connecting the wires where I thought they belonged, I successfully turned on the GameCube to the game Paper Mario Thousand Year Door. My little sister cheering for me was music to my ears.

It wasn’t that hard. I just assumed it was too hard because the wires looked too messy for my organized brain. There were too many ports and unknowns. But that situation of wanting to play a video game without any help available made me jump into confusing technology and make it not so confusing.

From then on, I started sticking with minor technology hardships to see how far I can go with fixing basic technology. If the TV was in the wrong mode, I spent a while on the remote playing with settings. If the car GPS wasn’t working, I would spend an extra half an hour to figure it out rather than giving up. If I didn’t know the basic features of any software or hardware I was using (e.g. Microsoft Word, Excel, keyboard shortcuts), I would Google things and improve my knowledge. I went from a technology scaredy-cat to a technology jumper.

Over time, figuring out basic technology blips took less and less time, which boosted my confidence. Now when something non-critical is wrong with technology, my default reaction is no longer “oh no. I need help” but rather “okay…let’s see what I can do.” And if I can’t figure something out, it’s not “wow, I’m dumb” but rather “okay, this is not an intuitive thing.”

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