Last week for my Grandpa’s 95th birthday he received an iPad 2.
While talking about the iPad 2 and all of it’s capabilities along with the new technology, his wife said, “But what if I make a mistake?”
Most people between the ages of 15-40 have dealt with this as some point. A parent who can’t open their email, who buys a new printer because they couldn’t figure out the old one, or is hesitant to try anything new because they don’t “get it.” I’m sure she’ll figure it out, but that’s generally the first reaction I notice from the 60+ crowd.
You come to realize that your parents have a general fear of new technology.
But being technologically savvy has very little to do with age. It’s a mindset.
The baby boomer and greatest generation were raised on the factory mindset.
The factory mindset says that things are done a certain way. That if you make a mistake, it’s costly and the factory has to shutdown and stop production. To not try anything unless you’re certain it will work and someone has done it before you. In the factory, initiating is scarce while compliance with the encouragement of “doing the same thing faster” is rewarded.
The factory mindset has to be taught.
Children love to experiment, to try things, and aren’t afraid to break something. It isn’t until they go to school, which is a factory, that their sense of curiosity is drained out of them (more on this).
They go from finger painting, molding clay, experimentation, and being outside with an active imagination to bubble tests, one certain way to do things, repetitive note taking, and assimilating with everyone else. We are taught there is one answer and one way to arrive at that answer.
With the factory mindset, you don’t initiate because it can be costly. Failure is viewed as expensive. As a kid, if you want to do something, you do it. You’ll act without your parents permission first, lie about it, and then ask for forgiveness later. As adults, we hesitate. The fear of “What if I’m wrong?” or “What if I make a mistake?” takes over. Initiative slowly drains out of most people as they grow older. Which is exactly why initiative is so valuable – most people won’t take it.
Your parents aren’t slow to learn technology because of their age. There are plenty of people who are older and excel with technology. It’s the mindset.
If you can keep that sense of “How does this work?” “What happens when I push this button and click this link?” “Why does this do that?” there will always be a part of you that remains young.
Don’t blame being poor with technology on your age.
It’s the factory mindset that is holding you back from embracing technology.
Realize that you can grow if you want to.
Drop the factory mindset of “I have to do this because others are” and realize this is an opportunity to be seized upon.
No one was born with the natural ability to drive a car.
We learned it because we saw the opportunity and freedom it provided.
Anyone can learn to embrace technology, but it often involves unlearning a mindset developed in school.
Steve Jobs had it right when he adopted the mindset “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”
Connect with me on Twitter: @BenNesvig