Sunday, May 19, 2013

Why Skill Development Is So Important


If you have read any of my posts you realize that I am all about personal responsibility, self resiliency, and stretching  your resources as far as possible. In my opinion skill development is the best possible way to do all of the above. There have been several ad campaigns in the past few years like "Knowledge is Power" and "The More You Know". These are not just catchy phrases, they are absolutely true.

Last week I got a phone call at work. My wife, trying to take the children to school and go to school herself, walked out to find a flat tire. I offer to come home and try to fix the situation but my wife says no she would figure it out. About 2 months ago I taught my step-son how to change a tire. I placed the jack, showed him where it should be placed. We took turns jacking up the car. I showed him how to loosen the lug nuts. I would remove one then he would. I let him remove the tire. We put the new tire on and again we took turns putting the lug nuts back. Lastly, I showed him how to tighten the lug nuts. This time I was not around to be able to do anything, but he was. He was able to do the whole job by himself. I was so proud of him. He has taken another important step toward being an adult.

As a general rule I am always either trying to learn something I did not know at all before, develop something I have a basic knowledge of or teach a skill to someone else. I love to be creative. The things I create however must be functional. I am not a frilly person at all.

I believe every time a person gains proficiency in a skill they gain confidence in every aspect of their lives. A confidence that has been rightfully earned. All skills teach problem solving techniques. Every basic skill has application in higher skills. If you know how to cook, you can apply to same basic principles to beginning chemistry. There are certain ingredients that you do not combine. Mechanical skills are the same way. If you can change a tire, you can change your oil, if you can change your oil you can do all your own basic maintenance. Back last summer I changed the oil pan gasket on my 88 Bronco. If I would have paid someone to do it, just the labor would have been $275. That is a pretty good return.

Just knowledge is not enough. My wife just graduated from Respiratory Therapy. I have helped her study a good bit. We can carry on conversations about what she is doing at work and school. Just because I have a basic knowledge of Respiratory Therapy and can work many of the equations that are required. I wouldn't have a clue what to do in application. You cannot truly know a skill until you have had hands on application.

I think everyone will agree that we are still in economic turmoil. Jobs are lost everyday. On every job application that I have ever filled out has an area on it for hobbies or interests. It doesn't matter what your interests or hobbies are they say something about you. If you knit that means you are good with you hands. If you cross stitch or needle point, you pay attention to detail. If you carve wood you are creative. If you do mechanic work you are not afraid of things that are difficult. You see, the more skills you have, the more you develop these abilities. Not to mention there have been several times that a hobby has become an occupation.

Skills save you money. Skills make you more independent. Skills make you more confident. Many times skills can not only save you money, but make you money in tough times. It does not matter what the skills are. Learn how to develop a smart phone application. Learn to build websites. Learn to carve wood. Learn to start a fire without matches or a lighter. Learn to camp. Learn anything and everything that interests you. It does not have to cost you any money. Just get out there and learn.

If this has inspired you to learn something new consider joining the 13 skills in 2013 challenge at 13skills.com. You can do anything you decide to try.

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