Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Doing It VS Doing It "Well"

Our society has developed to the point where everyone doesn't need to know how to do a little bit of everything, anymore. Some might argue that we're at the point where most people are afraid to do something outside of their expertise because they think it's too hard to learn how to do. After all, someone else spent their entire life learning how to do it so how can it be so easy? Or maybe it's something that professionals normally use a team of people to do so how can one person accomplish the task? Then there are the things that you just don't need to learn how to do because we've got an infrastructure in place that removes the necessity. It might not be all that hard to learn how to do but it's not worth our time.
Some things that seem like they may be too hard to do yourself aren't. On the other hand some things that seem like they'd be pretty easy to do turn out to be pretty difficult without experience.

It seems to me like when I get the idea to do something myself I end up finding instructions that make the job overly complicated or so in depth that it might not be worth the time. The people writing these instructions want so badly to convince you that they're experts or that they're capable of doing something extraordinary that they add unnecessary steps or unusual ways of doing things and it becomes hard to follow. It's even more fun when they try to remind you of "how easy it is" the whole time. Sometimes the job really is that complicated but the key is to not let how difficult it seems discourage you. Sometimes it's best to just find out for yourself how doable it is. You can always find other ways to do the same thing or even figure out how to cut a few corners yourself once you get a basic understanding of the fundamentals involved in the project. Then there are just some skills that really do take a long time to develop.

A lot of times the pros have a team of people working on a job. Most of the time they're just using groups to do the job to finish faster. Sometimes you really do need a lot of people (all the more reason to have a SHTF group) but other times, with a little bit of ingenuity, you can figure out ways to do it yourself. Then there are the jobs that are dangerous to attempt alone. Use a little bit of common sense and you should be able to differentiate between the jobs that can be done solo but that might take a while, need a team to be completed safely and outright cannot be accomplished by one person. Just make sure that if you deem a job that requires a group important that everyone else in your group knows how to do the job before the job needs to be done. Sometimes you might be able to get by with barking orders but sometimes everyone really does need to know what they're doing.

The most easily overlooked skills are the simple ones. These are also the ones that you'll wish that you'd learned how to do yourself if things really get ugly. Things like gardening, canning, baking bread, making a fire and all of the other little things that we take for granted will suddenly be pretty important if the grocery stores shelves aren't restocked. Just take a look around and try to figure out what you use every day. Do you like music? Learn to play an instrument. Do you like beer? Learn to brew your own. Spend some time learning basic outdoor skills like making one match fires, making a shelter when you don't have anything with you, what plants are safe to eat, how to catch game and other stuff like that.

You don't have to be really good at anything. Just having tried it and knowing enough about it to have the right supplies ahead of time or knowing where to get the necessary supplies will put you far ahead of the guy that's completely clueless. You might think you know how to make a shelter out of pine needles because you watched survivorman do it but have you tried it and spent the night in one yourself? You might have read a bread recipe but have you actually baked a few loafs to see how it turns out? Do you want to rely on that book on gardening that's been collecting dust on your bookshelf for years or do you want to rely on first hand experience that you've gotten from actually gardening when it wasn't necessary? Learning how to do things and practicing them will teach you a lot of valuable lessons that you can't get from reading a book.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very well said. There is no substitute for actual experience. Good Job. Now I need to learn a few more things.

Staying Alive said...

I remember last year when I said I was going to make a loaf of French farm bread. I knew I could do it and got all the right ingredients. I went to work with all due determination. Seven hours later I had a loaf of French farm bread. Good stuff, and that is no joke. But the labor and time was simply enormous. I don't make French farm bread anymore. But I have done it and could help someone else. Experience has shown me that I like the Handmaiden's Irish Soda Bread and her Banana Bread just fine. And a helluva lot less work.

Michael

The Urban Survivalist said...

Stuff like that is exactly what I'm talking about. If you know nothing about baking bread and you decide to try some in depth, complicated bread recipe then you probably won't take much away from it because you don't really understand what you're doing. If you know what all of the ingredients do and how they react together because you've already got a good understanding of how to bake bread then you'll be able to make changes as needed. This applies to everything from baking bread to building a house.