Saturday, April 03, 2010

Too Old to Revit?

Excuses come in all shapes and sizes. Many are derived from our age. He can't learn Revit...he's too old. You can't teach an old dog new tricks or so it goes. Sorry folks it isn't true. I know some old dogs who are using Revit quite comfortably. I've also met some youngsters who just don't get it.

I accept that there are learning issues associated with age in some cases. It certainly can be harder for someone to get used to using a computer AND Revit when they don't have a lifetime of using the technology. Most often it just comes down to attitude. Do you want to? I bet you can do it. Don't want to? I bet you'll find a way to make that come true.

My mother went back to school a few times in her life. After each of us (four kids) were completely immersed in school all day she took a part time job and enrolled at SUNY Binghamton. She studied language among other things. Years later she went back to school to get her MSW (Master of Social Work). Someone pointed out to her that she wouldn't be finished until she was in her 50's. She just replied, "So? I'll be 50 anyway?!?" Love my Mom, not ashamed to say it. She's always learning and age just isn't a reason not to do something.

As a wise old Jedi Knight told us years ago, "Do! or Do not! There is no try!" Even Nike ads pointed us in the right direction..."Just Do IT"! What are you waiting for? Haven't got around to it yet?

My boss at U-Haul, when I was a senior in high school, fixed that problem for me. He asked me if I finished something that I hadn't even started yet, my actual words were, "I didn't get around to it yet." He disappeared and came back a few minutes later and tossed me a little cardboard disc that looked something like this.

Consider this one go!


Jake Boen said...

Thanks for sharing your story. This is only something one gets from a good mentor or grandfather.

Unknown said...

Cool story Steve,
The oldest guy I have trained on Revit was 86. He didn't even know how a computer worked. He was fascinated by the mouse moving in his hand and the little arrow moving on his screen in the same direction. I sent him off with 2 computer games to install and finish on his own and return to finish his training. He was back a year later with a beaming smile ready for his course. He completed it very competently and is using Revit to draw past projects to keep himself busy.
Although I could appreciate rather sitting back and realxing in my twilight years, I found his passion very inspiring.



Unknown said...

Good story Steve!
Advice you could apply to Revit or life, I like it.

iyyy69 said...

As someone who first sat down at a personal computer at thirteen and has twenty-five years of informal experience training people of all ages on the computer, I most certainly agree that "attitude" plays the biggest part of success or failure. However, regardless of attitude, the older they are, the more they tend to struggle (there are always exceptions of course).

The somewhat tired saying "it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks" does have some science behind it. I do not claim to be an expert in cognitive neuroscience or anything, but I think I understand enough to know that as you become older, it becomes more difficult to "rewire" your brain for new things. The under 30 crowd pretty much grew up with computers, while their brains were still developing. The 30 to 50 crowd maybe started using them in high school, college, or their first office job. 50+ generally were introduced to computers as an adult with a life that existed before computers.

But learning to use a computer is not just learning something “new” that is based on a similar understanding of something “old”. Those of us who grew up with computers (or were introduced to them fairly early on) may take for granted the huge cognitive leap that the computer represents.

Steve said...

I didn't claim it is easy. Need to be sure that we don't make it an excuse to do nothing.

Seychellian said...

IM 41 and have been trying to learn Revit for the past 2yrs. I have to say its a really painful exercise for me. I am constantly reaching dead ends and getting frustrated. I am an architect and a creative person first and foremost and I am and starting to think that my mind just isn't configured to see things in Revit's database format with all its hierarchies and relationships (and the complex iterations of how they interact with one another. I am waiting for my Neo moment when everything suddenly becomes clear but with each passing year of struggle I am beginning to think it may never arrive.

Steve said...

Seychellian - I was 38 when I started with Revit. I definitely don't see design in "rows and columns" or in databases either. We all visualize things a bit differently. I tend to think of using Revit to build real things. All the tools let me build different parts of the building. I spent many years building things so it feels pretty natural for me to think of the software this way too.

Stick with it, you'll get there. This isn't a race or a task you finish, it's a career...and also call it an architectural practice right?