Tip #699: Overlooking the Simple Answer

“It’s very satisfying to take a problem we thought difficult and find a simple solution.”  Ivan Sutherland

I could kick myself. I love to do Sudoku, particularly the jigsaw puzzles. To complete them, I have to look at each section from every possible perspective. It is always a joy when the missing numbers are right there, in front of my eyes.

The reason I could just kick myself is because my life would be so much easier and much less stressful if I only looked at every situation the same way. I would save myself so much wasted time and energy if I just realized that there is probably a simple answer.

Technological issues are the worst, because I always assume that the underlying causes are much too complex for me to determine. I offer a recent example as a case in point. I could no longer paginate any of my documents! Since I make my living creating documents that need tables of contents and, therefore, actual page numbers, I was beside myself.

So, I called in the computer cavalry. Over a period of three days, I spent a total of 8 hours on the phone with six different software technicians.

One technician had me delete my entire Microsoft Office 2016 software and reinstall it- three times!! (Since Microsoft Word 2016 is in a package, I couldn’t just reinstall Word). Each subsequent technician had me do more deletes and reinstalls. (What is it they say about getting the same result if you keep doing the same thing?) None of the reinstalls brought the page numbers back. What they did was mess with my Outlook so that I couldn’t access my mail, so now I had an additional problem.

One very sincere technician promised that he would try to recreate the problem and email me the answer. He was completely stumped.

And then I called a different computer call center and the technician saw the cause immediately. She noticed that I had the focus for my documents set at 197%! (I zoom in when my eyes are tired). She predicted that if I brought the focus back to 100%, I would see that the page numbers were actually there- and had been all the time. She was absolutely right, bless her heart.

There is something about technology that scares me to pieces. I automatically assume that, if there is a problem, it must be very complicated- and I get all rattled. As is obvious from this most recent snafu, I don’t look at the problem, expect that there is a simple answer, and then look for it. Neither did the other technicians, who were so primed to handle complex issues that they didn’t even consider looking for the most logical explanation.

It’s possible that I can find simple answers to some of my computer problems if I just stay calm and trust myself. That’s not to say that there won’t be computer issues that will be beyond my ken. But I don’t have to automatically jump to the conclusion that I need someone else to figure out how to fix them.

I did, in fact, set up a wireless printer/scanner/copier/fax machine entirely on my own- and all of its functions work just fine. There may be hope for me yet.

May your learning be sweet.


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