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How Many Times Should You Try?
Old 04-15-2016, 10:48 AM   #1
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How Many Times Should You Try?

I've been trying to help someone learn basic PC/app skills, but it's become very frustrating. He constantly asks for help, and I give it, but he is asking the same questions over and over and over. I'll spare the details, you get the idea...

So I Googled for how many times before I should just politely give up. Guess I need to be a LOT more patient, maybe...

How Many Times Should You Try Before Succeeding - Infographic


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Old 04-15-2016, 10:59 AM   #2
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My dad used to say, "people won't change unless it is too painful NOT to change."

It's too easy. Every time he asks the question, you give an great answer - where's the incentive to learn?
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Old 04-15-2016, 11:07 AM   #3
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I am in the thousands of times on that chart about trying to conceive. Probably doesn't help that I have a vasectomy but I keep giving it the ole college try!
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Old 04-15-2016, 11:19 AM   #4
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I am in the thousands of times on that chart about trying to conceive. Probably doesn't help that I have a vasectomy but I keep giving it the ole college try!
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Old 04-15-2016, 11:27 AM   #5
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My dad used to say, "people won't change unless it is too painful NOT to change."



It's too easy. Every time he asks the question, you give an great answer - where's the incentive to learn?

This. DH used to ask the same PC questions over and over. I would get frustrated...it's not as if I was born knowing how to do it, I learned by trial and error. Finally I started "being too busy to help right now" when he asked something I had repeatedly answered. I would encourage him to try to figure it out in the meantime.

He's gotten much better. In fact, he even uses a cloud drive now. He doesn't understand how it works, but he uses one.
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Old 04-15-2016, 11:32 AM   #6
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I had the same situation once, and when I got tired of it I started answering this way:

Whoa, that's not completely straightforward, is it? I'd be afraid of giving you the wrong advice, so I think you should
  • make an appointment at the Apple Genius Bar
  • call the Geek Squad
  • other similar avenues as needed

After a relatively short time, he started learning how to DIY.
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Old 04-15-2016, 11:45 AM   #7
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Nope. After years of learning the hard way, I refuse to put myself in those situations anymore.

Perhaps it's my "karma" in life, but people have solicited advice from me on just about everything since I was a teenager (and I've come to realize it will probably always be that way). It's fulfilling when they "get it", but for decades I would literally keep telling some people the same thing over and over, only to see them doing whatever they wanted anyway (with poor results).

I have now put a complete stop to any frustrating advice/help solicitations with anyone that won't/doesn't get it. Diet and exercise are two such areas which I refuse to discuss/help anyone with. In some areas, people just like to talk and then are going to keep doing what they're doing regardless.

It's true what they say: retirement changes everything, even your mindset. At least it did for me. After years of paying dues, I just don't "do" BS of any kind anymore. I call it the "instant walk away" technique.
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Old 04-15-2016, 02:56 PM   #8
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If your a glutton for punishment, they say it takes 21 days to make a habit, so maybe 21 attempts.
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Old 04-15-2016, 05:22 PM   #9
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Offer to help once more, then stick to it.
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Old 04-15-2016, 05:53 PM   #10
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It's tough to know when someone wants to learn and isn't picking it up yet. Or they just want someone to do it for them. I enjoyed helping others with some of my skills in IT, there were unfortunately some who really wanted me to do their job. I recall one guy I swear he had to look at a map every time he left his cube! I swear the man got lost on the floor he worked on for years, imagine what his code looked like.
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Old 04-15-2016, 06:52 PM   #11
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I'm in a similar situation. I don't mind helping people if they really appreciate the effort. Plus, I don't mind refreshing some of my computer tinkering skills. But, yes, there are those who ask the same question again and probably shouldn't be using a computer .

In my case, tomorrow I may be trying to remotely upgrade by brother's laptop from Win 7 to Win 10. Will be interesting. But my goal is to try and set up his laptop for unintended connection via teamviewer so he can mostly just watch .
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Old 04-15-2016, 06:54 PM   #12
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I'm in a similar situation. I don't mind helping people if they really appreciate the effort. Plus, I don't mind refreshing some of my computer tinkering skills. But, yes, there are those who ask the same question again and probably shouldn't be using a computer .

In my case, tomorrow I may be trying to remotely upgrade by brother's laptop from Win 7 to Win 10. Will be interesting. But my goal is to try and set up his laptop for unintended connection via teamviewer so he can mostly just watch .
I use Teamviewer a lot with my Mom. Works great.
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Old 04-15-2016, 06:57 PM   #13
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The guy I am talking about us an accomplished retired surgeon. He is the most technically illiterate person I know, he can't even manage email, and I am trying to teach him more complex PC/apps, at his request of course. I've even printed out step by step instructions with pictures tailored for him - which he can't seem to find. Next time he asks, I may tell him that it's obvious I'm not a good teacher, maybe he should try someone else...
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Old 04-15-2016, 07:04 PM   #14
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Knowledge never comes for free. Some people just do not have the drive to learn on their own when they know they have a crutch nearby. I help people out when they need it, but I do not want to be taken advantage of either. My time is valuable to me, too.
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Old 04-15-2016, 07:36 PM   #15
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Old 04-15-2016, 07:55 PM   #16
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I have suggested that they take notes in the past. I have also wiped everything and have them redo it in front of me right after I showed them how to do it. If they couldn't get to the end product without my help, I would wipe everything out again, and have them do it on their own at least once before I conclude that they got it. I tell my DH to use TeamViewer (free remote desktop) with his folks, but he rarely does. If you are helping someone remotely with PC's, TeamViewer is a great tool.
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Old 04-15-2016, 08:28 PM   #17
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I tell them how to do it and watch while they do it. I will not do it for them. The smart ones take notes. I have one older friend that I can't teach. He won't follow what I'm telling him to do. He wants me to wait while he reads every window and stares at every screen along the way. Sorry but if you want to read everything, do it on your own, don't waste my time. He made no notes and called several times about the same thing. Now I tell him I don't know/remember.
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Old 04-15-2016, 10:05 PM   #18
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I have suggested that they take notes in the past. I have also wiped everything and have them redo it in front of me right after I showed them how to do it. If they couldn't get to the end product without my help, I would wipe everything out again, and have them do it on their own at least once before I conclude that they got it. ....
And make them write their own notes, and then watch them perform the task from their notes (maybe come back to it after doing some other things, to see they retained it).

This shows that they can do it w/o you there. Showing/telling someone over and over is not the same as them learning it.

My Mom did OK with email, spreadsheets (that I set up for her), web browsing, even managed to scan some things and email them. But I don't think she ever 'got' the idea of folders and files in folders and folders in folders. I never knew where I might find a file, sometimes they would be buried in the 'temp' folder that the email program used (she'd open it from email, edit and save it again). TeamViewer helped in those cases.

-ERD50
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Old 04-15-2016, 10:34 PM   #19
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The guy I am talking about us an accomplished retired surgeon. He is the most technically illiterate person I know, he can't even manage email, and I am trying to teach him more complex PC/apps, at his request of course. I've even printed out step by step instructions with pictures tailored for him - which he can't seem to find. Next time he asks, I may tell him that it's obvious I'm not a good teacher, maybe he should try someone else...
Are you charging him for your help?

When you are teaching someone and they are paying for it, it is amazing how quickly they start learning.
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Old 04-15-2016, 10:58 PM   #20
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Are you charging him for your help?

When you are teaching someone and they are paying for it, it is amazing how quickly they start learning.
When the time is on their dime, they may start saying you aren't teaching them enough and too slow .
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