These are frustrating times, with much to be frustrated about. Politicians failing us at every turn, rampant fraud in government services and relief funds, even essential services, like power, water, and internet - in February, it seems so much broke and failed.
Adding insult to injury, in February my computers and personal technology wrought a more-than-usual dose of frustration too. You might know what I mean - that special tech-induced variety of frustration that borders on anger. Here's a partial list of my battles for the month:
- The streaming apps on my Apple TV stopped working one-by-one, including Prime, Netflix, and Hulu.
- On my iPhone, the voicemail icon completely disappeared. How does that happen? A torturous call to AT&T and a restart of the iPhone fixed it, but WTF?
- After updating my iPhone to Apple's latest iOS 14.4, my Freedome VPN subscription said it was no longer valid. An uninstall and reinstall finally fixed it.
- I lost my home Xfinity internet service three times over just three weeks during February.
Here's a guy so frustrated with his internet technology that he bought a quarter-page ad in the Wall Street Journal:
Aren't the battles of everyday life in 2021 enough already? Considering my personal experience and working with others in February, I get the sense I'm not alone in my frustration.
Change and Complexity
Much of the frustration and dysfunctions of our age are caused by change. Change, while always at the root of pain, is quite different now than in times past.
In the Digital Age, change happens faster, and rates of change accelerate continually. In turn, this phenomenon is driving complexity, and for many, stressing their ability to adapt.
“If you don’t take change by the hand, it will take you by the throat.”
— Winston Churchill
✓ We must learn to cope with change and complexity on digital terms.
The thing about digital; it drives change so fast we encounter new things all the time. We need skills to cope with that, skills we've probably not developed so much before.
At the risk of corporate-speak, 'critical thinking' is the best term I know to describe how to cope with change and complexity.
✓ Critical thinking is life-skill #1 for coping and succeeding in the digital age.
Here is the best definition I know of critical thinking:
"Critical thinking means successfully dealing with something you've never seen before."
That's a hallmark of the Digital Age; always confronting things we've not seen before. And I believe the best way to build critical thinking skills to cope with digital technology is through curiosity and creativity.
#1 - Be curious
First, try putting frustration and anger aside and replacing them with a state of curiosity. The ' curious and interested approach' counters the negative emotions and frustration we naturally feel when we can't figure something out.
#2 -Be creative
Think of technology glitches as solving a puzzle. There are different parts that need to fit and link together. Imagine these parts, and the whole, and explore each to see what could be wrong. Be curious to discover and figure it out for yourself.
Also, while technology regularly presents us with something we've never seen before, someone else probably has, and they put it on the internet. The answers for 99% of our questions are out there, and with some imagination, you will search and find it for yourself.
Using the curious and creative approach you will find that your ability to think about and troubleshoot technology will develop quickly. New complex challenges will not be quite as intolerable and daunting, and you'll feel pride in your ability to solve things as they come along.
Finally, learning to think critically requires working and developing new muscles, so it's painful, like the first few trips to the gym. But also like developing and making progress in the gym, or any other skill, it's gratifying in the end.
✓ The best way to develop critical thinking skills with technology is with the curious and creative approach.
For Our Clients
At TDS, we live where the rubber hits the road; at the intersection of people, their personal technology, and the new risks and challenges at hand.
We learn every day and document many of our findings on our website to share with and help others. Also, we invite you to contact us if we can help with anything related to privacy, cybersecurity, and the use of our products and services.
Contact Total Digital Security for information about home and home office cybersecurity.