Two demons have bugged me through all of my days.
1) CAN'T-ITIS is the demon of all our many Can'ts: I can't live like a king without working at a conventional job...I can't find a find a hot starlet by Christmas...I can't write a bestselling novel...I can't afford to travel all year-round on trains, first class...
2) TOO-TOO is the demon of all our many Too's: I'm too old...I'm too slow...I'm too technically challenged...I'm too poor...I'm too unconnected...
Alone, each one is hell on earth. But in the autumn of my life I found that Can't-Itis and Too-Too had joined. And the new odds against me seemed hopeless.
Speed forward before we all burst into tears. I was wandering the Seattle streets, muttering over and over, "I can't do that! I can't do this! I'm too-too and I always will be!"--when I took out the flip phone that symbolized my entire sad, sorry existence. And I bawled in anguish: "I hate you!"
A beautiful, young tattooed woman came over to give me a hug. She shook her head and said, "Poor dude. That is so sad and so nasty!" She reached in her handbag, retrieving a card. "Go here and ask for YeahBaby. Now, honey, I'm telling you that's his real name and make sure you pronounce it as one word, not two--with a cap Y and cap B. Tell him GoGo sent you." She shivered and then scurried off, answering a call on her smartphone: "Oh, Yumi YumYum, is that youuuuu!"
I went to the TMobile store on the card. And after enough of my negative blather, YeahBaby silenced me to ask: "Imagine you did have the money required and the technical savvy to use it...what sort of smartphone would be right for you?" Well, this was only fantasy, so I described my dream phone. Minutes later, he returned with with a model that looked very much as I'd dreamed...and a price tag higher than I'd feared. "Relax," he said, "let's talk some more, looking into plans and financing." An hour later, I left with a partly financed prepaid plan...and a Samsung Galaxy Note 4:
I'd barely stepped outside when the demons went to town: "You idiot! You can't afford this and you'll never learn how to use it!" Still, I took the phone to Starbucks, where I sat for two hours and futilely tried to make sense of the thing.
Decision: the battle depended on my ability to learn.
Strategy: On my laptop I Googled best manuals for the Note 4. I found a wealth of choices. but only one survived my preview of the first pages. I ordered.
Meanwhile, with three days till the manual came, my learning curve needed an edge.
Step one: I returned to the store and asked to see the manager. Could he spare me ten minutes? He gave me an hour. At the end of our session: he'd customized my menu, shown me how to make and answer calls, set up voice mail, add gmail, text, and use the internet both in and out of free WiFi...
Step two: Still waiting for the book, I started to play with the phone on my own. I began adding Contacts and texting, then sent a small flurry of emails. I learned how to block calls for the deadbeat who'd last had my number. I learned to set screen brightness and change ringtones to vibrate or mute. These and other unglamorous things were done by Reb MacRath.
Victory already? Not hardly. But already I'd started believing I could win this fight with the right mindset. And my game plan could not have been simpler:
Each day I would try one new thing that seemed beyond my reach. Or something that just didn't seem quite like Me. And in the next weeks, with the book's help, I did exactly that. To an accomplished techie, my progress would seem pitiful. My concern, though, is winning the battle and I forged on to win these skirmishes...
Two Week Mastery Checklist:
--Added the Starbucks app and then my gold card.
--Set up the TMobile Account Data app
--Further customized my main menu
--Added apps for Moovit, Seattle Yellow Cab, my bank and Weather Channel
--Added S-Note for use with the stylus
--Added Visual Voicemail to screen VMs without listening
--Ordered my first cab with the app
--Began exploring the Maps app, learaning that it can recommend nearby ATMs, restaurants, etc.
--Added home and work addresses to Maps
--Learned how to set up Events and Tasks
--Added Lookout virus protection
--Added the Amazon App store
--Began to master Google Now, the phone's voice-activated personal assistant
--Established fingerprint access for security
--Added facial recognition: the phone doesn't go dark while I'm watching (After all, it would be hurtful to think my mug had put the phone to sleep)
The Real and Mighty Mojo
May your own mojo never desert you. And it will always desert you if you cave to Can't-Itis or Too-Too. The real payoff of a battle such as the one that I'm waging is the daily growth in the sense of Yes, I Can.
Right now, I may be tapping 5% of my Note 4's potential. But that number's rising daily. And in the coming reports, I'll look closely at tricks done by others that I too will nail. There's an exhilarating sense of wickedness about this as I set out to master things it seemed I was never intended to know.
Sometimes there's nothing sexier...not even a night with a beauty like this: