A comment I often hear from my clients when helping them with their computers is that they are afraid they are going to break something. Usually, they have figured out how to turn the computer on and off but beyond that, they are afraid to touch it.
These are the same people that get into a 1 or 2-ton hunk of metal (they of course call it their “car”) every day to get to work. And they drive this 1 or 2-ton hunk of metal 70 MPH on the Interstate just a few feet from hundreds of other people doing the same. I can’t be sure but I’m betting that most of these people don’t know how their car works. They just happily turn the key in the ignition and go about their business.
For the Record, Here’s the Risk of Driving Your Car
There were nearly 6,420,000 auto accidents in the United States in 2005. The financial cost of these crashes is more than 230 Billion dollars. 2.9 million people were injured and 42,636 people killed. About 115 people die every day in vehicle crashes in the United States — one death every 13 minutes. This is based on data collected by the Federal Highway Administration.
Now, I couldn’t find any official statistics on the risks of using your computer but I’m pretty sure they aren’t nearly as sobering as the ones above.
What’s the Worst That Could Happen?
My over-exaggerated point is this. If you can get in your car every day without thinking about or worrying about how it works or what is going to happen when you use it then why are you afraid to use your computer? What’s the worst that could happen? You delete a couple of letters you wrote to Uncle John last year? You lose your financial data? Smoke comes out of the computer? I think all of these consequences easily trump the ones mentioned earlier.
So get out there and experiment with your computer. Try new things and don’t be afraid. If it helps any I’ll leave you with one last parting thought. When my clients ask me how I know so much about computers I look at them, smile and reply, “Because I’ve already made every mistake you’re worried about making.”