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Are You Middle-Aged and Resisting Technology?

This post probably isn't for the young whippersnappers who were playing with a smartphone while nursing on mama's tit, but rather for us middle-agers who loved carbon paper, IBM Selectric typewriters, and answering machines.  We resisted television remote controls, transitioning from LPs to CDs was traumatic, Facebook and the internet were alien, and we came late to set up email accounts. If this sounds familiar, please read on.

A neighbor once said when they started construction on the Barclays Center stadium just three blocks from my apartment in Brooklyn, "We're watching it go up, but we're never going to see it come down so we better make friends with it."

Technology is the same deal. It ain't going away and continues to morph at warp speed.

So here we are in 2016, a strange and exciting time when one of our most intimate relationships is with our phone. It's with us all the time. We sleep with it within arms reach, in same cases it's actually in our beds.  We take it to the bathroom. It's the first and last thing we look at each day. It holds all of our life in its clutches. 

For years, I refused to upgrade from my flip phone to a smart phone until one day a dear friend said that people knew I was older every time my flip phone was visible.  The next day I upgraded to my darling Samsung Galaxy with which I continue to have a fabulous love affair even after all these years.

But seriously, what the fuck? We no longer walk observing the world, smiling at others, appreciating beauty, but rather nose to screen, hands engaged, looking down all the time. We're losing the ability to have meaningful conversations in real life face-to-face.....

The world is literally passing us by as we develop more and more dependence on our phone.  The desktop and laptop will soon be a thing of the past, with everything transiting to mobile..  A friend gave his 12-year-old daughter a fully loaded, almost $5K Mac computer, and she said, "No thanks, I don't need it.  I've got my phone." And she turned it down.

According to an article in Wired magazine last year, in less than two years, a smartphone or tablet could be our only computer. 

I was resistant big time and resentful at the idea of giving stuff away for free, of the time needed to create original content, and then the additional time needed to spend on social media pumping it out.  A hard lesson to learn initially was that engaging in conversations so people could get to know had to come first before expecting anyone to read my blogs or hire me. Consider it digital foreplay.

But I finally drank the Kool Aid and understood.

Clearly, it's a brave new world. So when I decided it was time to kick some middle-aged technology ass, the four mindset shifts I made in order to embrace this were:

  • Accepting that this would be an ongoing education process and that I didn't have to know how to do everything technologically right away.
  • Remembering that knowledge is power, and the more I continue to learn about the digital ways of the world today, the more informed, better decisions I could make for my business and brand.
  • Understanding that this is, in part, generational, yet doesn't mean that I'm old in my middle age.  
  • Recognizing that I have a wealth of business and life experience that the generations after me will never have because they live life in front of a screen, and they are experiencing the world in ways that I'll never know even as I continue to learn. It is first nature to them and about fifth nature to me.

So, my advice is:  Get over your fears, insecurities, and resistance. Deal with it, see a shrink, or hire a coach.  If you want to make it in the world of business, it's time to jump onto the high-speed technology train. Make mistakes, have fun, take risks, maintain a sense of humor, and each time it'll get a little better.  Just do it.