Voice of Real Australia: Don't let fear hold you back and embrace technology

Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from ACM, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend.

My father was the king of quirky sayings and one, in particular, has stayed with me and helped shaped my motivation throughout life.

"Don't let fear hold you back."

First I would like to point out that living by this special message from my father does not mean I have jumped out of planes, bungee-jumped or even gone on a roller coaster. That type of fear is something I have no interest in facing. When it comes to heights and fast moving vehicles I am a total wimp.

However, this message has shaped my ability to survive and cope in an ever-changing world. I think it is a saying that we could all embrace from time to time.

The reason for my musings on this matter has be prompted by my thoughts about our more senior generation and the many changes they have encountered through their life. Much of these have been foisted upon them in the form of technology.

I remember back in the early 1990s when I had to take my grandmother to the bank to withdraw some money. She didn't drive and my grandfather had only recently passed away, so she was learning to manage on her own. It would have been a scary time for her.

Anyway I took her to the nearest branch where her money was kept. She started to panic and told me that it was no good. "This is not where poppy would bank," she quickly informed me.

I proceeded to explain to her that she could do her banking at any of the branches held by her particular bank of choice. She took on my words - reluctantly - and was relieved to find that her money could be withdrawn and her account balance properly reflected the transaction. (I believe the 21stt Century banking over the internet, or from an automatic teller on the side of a building may well have been more change than she could have handled.)

Continuing with those changes into the 21st century - and there have been many - I understand how much of what we do today would be daunting for those who learned their survival skills in the early 20th century.

Computers and the internet didn't exist, banking was done within the branch and all the staff knew you - and your business. Distance communication was done through mail services, or on the phone - if you were lucky. Financial transactions were done with cash...and in person. Yes things was very different and this is just a glimpse of life in a bygone era.

I also note there will come a time when we may all be sitting in our twilight years, wondering how we can cope in a strange new world. A time when the things that seem so familiar and easy to us will have been left behind. Worse still will be that the younger generation will expect us to embrace that new world order.

Change is a fact of life and one person in there lifetime will see many. But it is not surprising that such change can be at times daunting. Just when you think you are on target, the goalposts move.

No doubt there comes a time in life when you are sick of readjusting your approach. I've felt that way. Quite frankly I get tired of people telling me my three-year-old computer is out-of-date and it's time for a new one. It still does the job and even if I can access money from any bank without leaving my home, the funds total is not unlimited.

But I have embraced technology and the constant changes ... so far. I won't say I'm an expert, but I survive. I have not let fear hold me back ... yet.

For all those who were almost born with a computer in front of them, this technology and the cyber world can be daunting at times. I stick to what I have been taught by people I trust. However, I concede that the more I learn, the more I want to learn.

Despite my technological bravery, I don't for a second dismiss the doubts and concerns that may be held by those who have so far managed to avoid using this life-invading form of survival in the 21st century.

It seems that very little in life these days can be done without the use of computers or the internet. Even the way we deliver the news has an online priority. Some may protest and fight the change, but it is inevitable.

Once you accept technological changes, you also realise the benefits.

  • More time on your hands quickly springs to mind - for example there is no need to drive to the bank branch of choice, search for a parking spot or stand in line to make a transaction.
  • More options at your finger tips - I refer to something I know well as an example. The delivery of the news. There are no space constraints in the cyber world so the news doesn't stop when you turn the last page - there is no last page. Better still that news can be delivered as it happens. You don't have to wait for the next print edition.
  • More immediate accessibility - Having had several loved ones spend extensive time overseas I truly appreciate the immediacy and sense of proximity that comes from a Facetime call. I can't imagine how I would have coped if my only form of contact had been through hand written letters and an occasional phone call.

Perhaps the greatest advantages of technology in the 21st century have been driven home during the COVID-19 pandemic. People have been able to stay in jobs because they can work from home, families may be physically separated but they can still connect online, even grocery shopping has been done online.

Yes we may live in an ever-changing world and it can be daunting at times - but don't let fear hold you back.

In case you are interested in filtering your pandemic coverage down to just twice a day, why not sign up for The Informer newsletter?

More stuff happening around Australia ...

Sign up to get our Voice of Real Australia updates straight to your inbox