Technology / Business technology

The age of the eternal novice

A while back I was sure my growing anxiety over the speed of change was the onset of middle age. But as 50 is clearly the new 25, I realised it really isn’t an age thing. Well, not in terms of “years old”, that is.


Feeling overwhelmed is a symptom of the age we live in.

You may be an expert in your field, but in most others you’re as much a beginner as the rest of us.

Here are three ways to live more comfortably with the speed of change.

1. Stop trying to be an early adopter

I love people who jump on things immediately, because it means I don’t have to. Not all over Google + yet? Haven’t moved everything to the cloud? Big whoop. Neither of these are going anywhere; they’ll still be around in December. Stay on track and choose your time. Don’t react to the urgency of others.

"Don’t be intimidated by the speed of change; instead, move your focus to a change of speed."

2. Treat learning like a trip to the zoo

When something does appeal and you’d like to learn more, treat it as you would a visit to the zoo and not a dash to the corner shop. Set aside some time to really immerse yourself. Initially, an hour or two without interruption should be ample and is far more satisfying than fifteen minutes of knee-jerk confusion. If once you’re under the hood you’re unclear or uncertain, take a break and reach out for help.

Want more articles like this? Check out the business technology section.

3. Know that you’re not the first

Help will come from those early adopters – the crash-test dummies who just love to share their knowledge. There’s nothing you’re struggling with that someone else hasn’t wrestled with before. Whether you discover a detailed how-to movie on YouTube, a step-by-step blog post, or a lively forum discussion, just google your problem and I guarantee your path has been well trodden.

In the Flying Solo forums we’re always seeing newbies diving in with a raft of questions and concerns, and it never ceases to amaze us how speedily reassurance and help is at hand.

Don’t be intimidated by the speed of change; instead, move your focus to a change of speed. Keeping up with the times is possible; just remember to take it at your own pace.

What new things would you like to better understand? Post a comment below or start a discussion in the forums.

Robert Gerrish

is the founder of Flying Solo and helps soloists stay upbeat and energised. He’s recently published The 1-Minute Commute, is a presenter and facilitator and works one-on-one with those needing a refresh. Find out more about his skills and services and his Olympus Trip 35 camera side hustle or connect on LinkedIn.


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