I Can Do It By Myself – Push Your Limits
Anybody miss me last week? My apologies for vanishing. We ran our fantastic event ‘Cocktails and Consciousness’ on Thursday – recording should be available soon – and suffice it to say that preparing for it occupied so much of my non-family time that I didn’t get to change my clothes for 3 days prior. Ugh I know, but that’s dedication for you! I just worked till I fell asleep each day, then got up at 4am and worked some more. Then I had a shower, stepped out, got my hair done and looking gorgeous did my best to entertain and educate – see how much I love my ‘job’?
And my computer died. Astonishing how much a part of life these little purring electronic beasties have become, isn’t it? This happened an hour before I had to leave for the event, which was a real pain and also put paid to any thoughts of me putting out my blog on Thursday evening. So now you know.
Well anyway I had to replace the thing. Now generally I’m pretty good at traditional boys stuff – I can hang light fittings, confidently and usefully handle a variety of power tools and singlehandedly monkey strap 4 fencing panels to my roof rack if the situation calls for it. I once even changed the points in my car. Back in my student days I drove a succession of ‘old bangers’ which broke down with such frequency that I got warned I was using the AA too much (that’s AAA to the Americans) and would have to pay next time I was rescued. I even got to know the local AA rescue guys! I would stand with them as they tinkered under the bonnet and annoyingly ask question after question, so that over time I got pretty familiar with the workings of my various vehicles. When one of these vehicles took longer and longer to start and eventually wouldn’t start at all, I reluctantly called a local mechanic. They wanted £50 just to tow it to the garage and couldn’t tell me how long they would have it or how much it would cost to fix it. “It might be something really simple” I said “couldn’t you just take a look?” “Oh it could be anything” said Mr Know-It-All Mechanic Man “It could be the engine, the tyres, the brakes … we’d have to bring it in and take a proper look”. This comment incensed me so much I just said thank you and hung up. How thick did he think I was that I would buy the idea the car might not be starting because the tyres or brakes were faulty! Steaming, I stomped over to the local auto spares shop, described the situation and what I had done so far and said that I wanted to have a go at fixing it myself. Did he know what the problem was? “Well it could be your points” he said. He told me where the distributor cap was, described what the points looked like and sold me a new set for £4.34. “It might or might not work” he said. Well it wasn’t working at the moment and I wasn’t going to pay the con-artists down the road several months budget to fleece me, so I would have to have a go. It took me an hour and a half under the bonnet and the car sprung to life. Hah!
So as I say I’m generally pretty good at boys stuff. One of the exceptions is computers though. I’m not talking about using them – I’m great at that. But once you start talking specifications my eyes glaze over. You say “500 Megabytes of RAM with a Pentium Dual-Core Processor” and I hear “nya nya nya ga ga ga ga ga”. I go to my happy place. If you could see inside my head I’d be sitting by a lake watching the swans. If you keep talking about it, eventually the top of my head creaks open, and a bird boings out on a spring saying “coo coo, coo coo”!
Which is why I decided that I would have to do this myself. Armed with the information that I currently had 4 Gig of one thing and 250 Gig of another, off I toddled to Costco, 3 kids in tow. Costco was ridiculously busy, so much so that I had to approach someone who was leaving just to get a trolley, in which I safely installed the kids. They gave me the coupon book and leafing through I noticed that there was an offer on an Acer. I had to visit the membership desk first because I’d lost my membership card and (after an hour’s wait) happened to get a computer geek as an assistant. In chatting I told him I had come for a laptop. “Oh are you getting the Acer?” he said “I just got one for my mum”.
Card sorted, we plunged through the crowds to the computer section. There were two in my price range. The cheaper one was barely better than what I had in that it also had 4 Gig of whatever and about 350 Gig of whatever else. A little beyond my budget, the Acer was the next one up and crowds were buzzing round it like flies. There were so many people there I couldn’t even get my hands on the thing. By now my son had worked out that you can pull up the wall of one side of the trolley from the bottom and was masterminding the escape of all three children. I plunked them back in, gave them sweets to keep them quiet (yes, I do it too) and looked at the specifications again. Nya nya nya. But it looked a lot better than the other one. To stop any further escapes and give me a little thinking time I set off ‘around the block’ of printers, DVD players etc. What to do?
Well, computer geek at the front had bought the Acer. The crowds were buzzing round it which meant it had to be worth considering (read ‘The Wisdom of Crowds’ by James Surowiecki) and Costco have a habit of finding something great and discounting it so that they’re far cheaper than anyone else. I chose the Acer.
Later that evening computer geek hubby, who had desperately wanted to help me make the purchase, asked me what I’d got. I showed him, saying “I think you’ll find I’ve done well!” with a lot more confidence than I felt. He looked and was actually impressed. “Do you know it has a nya nya nya processor?” He said. “I don’t know what that means” I smiled “I bought on psychological principals, you know.” It took him several hours of research to find a comparable Dell computer at the same price, online. Bare-faced cheek and a little right-brained thinking won the day!
The moral of the story? Well sometimes I think it’s good to get out of your comfort zone and do something you previously thought you couldn’t. If you can’t do it the conventional way, just do what it takes. It’s very easy to get stuck in your beliefs about what you can and can’t do, but where’s the fun in that? Pushing your limits isn’t always easy or comfortable, but in the words of Peter Mc Williams, a self help author:
Be willing to be uncomfortable. Be comfortable being uncomfortable. It may get tough, but it’s a small price to pay for living a dream.
You never know what you can achieve till you give it a go, so this week push some boundaries!
Posted on February 15, 2012, in Inspiration and tagged children, computing, Creativity, embrace uncertainity, family, Inspiration, life, motivation, push your boundaries, push your limits. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.