June 23, 2019 Eric Blauer

Overcoming the Fear of Doing Something Wrong

“The pioneers cleared the forests from Jamestown to the Mississippi with fewer tools than are stored in the modern garage.” -unknown; but attributed to Dwayne Laws

One of my goals in buying a home and some land out in the woods and hills was to become more competent at the type of skills needed to improve, sustain and repair such a place.

A ‘homestead’ is the goal but it’s pretty pretentious to call what we have anything near such a word. In my mind ‘homestead’ implies a level of sustainability, competency and productivity, right now, it’s a vision but there’s a big learning curve in it all and that takes time and action.

But there’s one element that has been a surprising crucible for me. This whole endeavor challenges a certain type of mindset that I think is cultivated within our culture: It’s the fear of doing something wrong.

The ‘analysis paralysis’ can keep me stuck in neutral. It comes from many things but too much knowledge is part of it for sure. Things like Youtube are amazing tools to learn almost anything but it can also overwhelm one with conflicting concerns of doing it just right.

I am all for wanting to do something correctly but you don’t need to do something perfectly. There was life before YouTube. It’s the process that develops skills, not the acquisition or assumption of qualifying competencies before doing anything.

Thankfully we have access to information in an age when many of these skills are not passed down. Not many people need to know how to do much in a world where you pay people to do what everyone used to have to do for themselves.

Don’t get punked by the Instagramation of everything out there. If you get stuck in comparing or being concerned by the looks of everything, you will never start or finish

Just figure it out.

Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect.

Stop getting hung up in the anxiety of it all.

Just do something.

Learn from your mistakes.

Accept that you don’t know how and learn it.

One other thing that has been surprising to me is just how many times the phrase I used to bark out in math classes comes back to whack me on the head.

“How will I ever use this in the real world?”

Things like math, algebra and geometry are directly linked to homesteading and homemaking skills.

Numbers and Nature go hand in hand, you can’t do anything without these skills, especially in woodworking. There’s a whole conceptualization skill that has to do with seeing the way things connect that baffles me at times. Woodworking is a step into a multi-dimensional world of digits, lines, circumferences and angles it’s fascinating and frustrating, it’s pure wizardry.

Listen to the pathetic prophet: “Math Matters”.

Here’s a few books I plan on adding to my library to develop and improve some of these skills:

-Practical Shop Math: Simple Solutions to Workshop Fractions, Formulas + Geometric Shapes Paperback by Tom Begnal https://amzn.to/2N4A6Nr

-Woodworking: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Skills, Techniques, and Projects (Fox Chapel Publishing) Over 1,200 Photos & Illustrations, 41 Complete Plans, Easy-to-Follow Diagrams & Expert Guidance Paperback by Tom Carpenter https://amzn.to/2X2bb1o

-Essential Guide to the Steel Square: How to Figure Everything Out with One Simple Tool, No Batteries Required (Fox Chapel Publishing) Unlock the Secrets of This Invaluable, Time-Honored Hand ToolPaperback by Ken Horner https://amzn.to/2Y8P3Px

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About the Author

Eric Blauer I am barbarian, sage, saint, bard, husband and father. Bow my knee to only One, serve all, ruled by none.

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