There are many skills that have largely fallen into disuse over the past three hundred years. Some because we’ve outsourced them to technology, others have been delegated, and still others are unnecessary most of the time. You’ll notice that two of these reasons can also be described as laziness. The third isn’t always relevant. So, I’m going to give you some compelling reasons to learn a few of these skills.
When you really think about it, the biggest difference between adults and children is the skills they possess. Adults have the skills they need to live independently, children do not. So why couldn’t learning more skills increase our independence further? Well, it easily could. If you know how to fix your car you don’t need to rely on a mechanic, if you know how to take care of your yard you don’t need to rely on a gardener, and if you know how to cook you don’t need to rely on your wife or restaurants. Many of our modern conveniences accomplish the same things older skills can, but require other people to help you.
If you’ve ever seen a bill from a contractor or mechanic you probably noticed a line item called “labour” or something to that effect. Obviously, you wouldn’t have to pay for that part if you do the work yourself. Mechanics charge upwards of $100 per labour hour, so that can add up fast especially since they usually round up. A job that would cost you $200 and take your car out of commission for three hours when you don’t need it, if you do it yourself, could easily cost $500 and take your car away all day when you need it most if you take it to a mechanic. This logic applies to everything. No matter what the job is the professionals need the same supplies, but they’re also looking to make some money off it. The only time it’s more economical to outsource work is when you need equipment that you can never save enough to justify paying for.
I’m not talking about the prepper mentality that society is inevitably going to collapse soon. I mean being prepared for the sort of disasters we see all the time. You never know when something will happen that will sever your access to modern conveniences. Many old-fashioned skills will help you get through these emergencies much more easily, they may even turn them into an adventure. Practicing some of these skills regularly, like gardening, can also make you more prepared for disaster.
Many old-fashioned skills are very satisfying to use. You usually feel very manly afterwards, and they can give you a real sense of accomplishment, especially with the very abstract jobs many of us have these days. Most of them can even grow into hobbies or make other hobbies more enjoyable. Just think of camping, it’s much more fun to chop your own wood for the campfire than to rely on precut firewood.
These days there’s a long list of skills that most people don’t have. So having them really sets you apart. There’ll probably be boys that look up to you, even if they don’t know you very well. You’re more likely to be viewed as irreplaceable because their are so few people around that can do what you do.
On top of that, if you do work for yourself, the product will likely be one of a kind. If you build your own furniture it’ll give guests to your home a wonderful first impression, and you’ll have a story to tell, not just talking about where you bought it.
When you have a skill, you inevitably learn the principles behind it and many of the tools it uses. So, when you find yourself in need of a skill but lack the necessary resources you can improvise a solution. We all know how a hammer works so we can all improvise one if need be. This extends to so many other situations. A while back I needed to work underneath my car but didn’t have any axle stands and couldn’t get traction on the ramps, so my dad and I improvised a solution using floor jacks. It wasn’t optimal but it got the job done.
Many people these days have a disposable mindset. So many people now would rather replace things than fix them, or upgrade rather than make do. Corporations have embraced and even encourage this, reducing the quality of their products so they don’t last and people can just replace them. However, if you build things yourself you don’t have to be like this, only your skill, materials, and design limit the quality of your work. You can have a beautiful oak table with exquisitely carved legs, instead of a basic and flimsy IKEA special.
Now go forth, learn some skills and become a better man. I’ll be here to help you out, just see what you can learn from me.