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Flatten the PC Learning Curve

Using a computer can be challenging, to say the least, but despite outward appearances, flattening the learning curve is within your grasp. Trust me.

Not a week goes by that I don't receive email prefaced with the words, "I'm so frustrated..." or “My computer is driving me crazy…” or “Where’s that $20 I loaned you in 1972?” I feel the pain, as the learning process is indeed frustrating at times. Frustration, however, is a state of mind and nothing else.

The most important thing to remember about frustration as it relates to computing is that it’s normal, it's to be expected, and it affects every computer user at one time or another. The key to frustration management is recognizing when you've crossed the threshold from frustration that motivates you to accomplish a particular task or resolve a problem, to frustration that's immobilizing -- the type of frustration usually accompanied by the words "I’d like to throw this thing out the window.”

When you reach that point, you not only need to recognize that it’s time to walk away, but even more importantly, you must have the discipline to actually walk away. If you continue to try to resolve a problem when your blood pressure is escalating as rapidly as your level of frustration, there’s a good chance you're going to make things worse than they already are. As a world-renowned philosopher once observed, “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em; know when to fold ‘em. And have some chicken while you’re at it.” Well, something like that.

Once you engage in a self-imposed time-out from your computer, you can then return to any daunting task or perplexing problem in a few hours, when you're in a better mental place to deal with the challenge at hand. You’ll be amazed how much easier things are when you don't permit frustration to be your partner in the problem-solving process.

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