August 6, 2019
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Every skill we ever learn starts with a single decision to “go for it.” When it comes to improving technology skills, the decision to jump in the deep end can be terrifying. The good news is, the courage to overcome that fear is already within us, and we just have to trust our instincts to let it out.
When I was young, my mother enrolled me in swimming lessons. At the time, I was terrified of the water and refused to go in. Nothing could change my mind. It wasn’t until years later, long after other kids had already been swimming for most of their lives, I decided it was time to catch up. After making sure I understood all of the basics, I took my instructor’s advice that the best way to learn was to jump in the deep end. The fear hit me immediately. Fortunately, I had prepared myself by learning what I needed to do before jumping in, and before I knew it, I was treading water. I had done it. I had made the decision to “go for it” and learned a new skill.
It’s no revelation that the Library is a valuable source of skill-building knowledge— from informative resources to helpful librarians who can assist with a variety of subjects. This is especially true when it comes to technology skills. Not only are there numerous instructor-led courses covering basic digital literacy skills, many branches also offer one-on-one sessions that personalize the learning experience. For those with an interest in more advanced subjects, the Library even offers access to a variety of self-paced online learning resources, including Lynda.com and Universal Class.
Learning any new skill takes time. It also takes practice. Samuel Beckett, one of the most successful playwrights, poets, and authors of the modern era, said, “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Beckett’s first novel was passed on by numerous publishers until it was eventually abandoned. It can be extremely frustrating to fail, but every attempt is a step toward success with a bit more information than the last.
Sometimes the most challenging thing about learning something new can be attempting it alone. Support from others can be invaluable to overcoming early setbacks in the learning process. Whether your support comes from a studious family member, a helpful librarian, or a peer at a Library program, having accountability and encouragement can help.
So, what do you do now that you’ve decided to jump in the deep end? The knowledge you’ll need to gather can be found in Library resources, through friends and family, and even on the internet. If you need help, ask a librarian! Then, practice until you’re comfortable and skilled, making sure to lean on your support systems along the way. You’re a practiced expert at overcoming fear. You’ve been doing it all of your life. The only thing left for you to do now is to “go for it.”
Lee’s Summit Branch