I’ve Got Skills…

It seems to me that when it comes to skills, people either severely overestimate or underestimate the skills they have. I’m counting skills in baking, cooking, using tools, electrical, etc. There are a lot of areas where people are lacking skills they should have.

The issue is that a lot of people don’t realize they are lacking in a certain skillset. Case in point – my FIL is not great with technology. His brother stopped by the other afternoon with his computer – it was taking forever to shut down and he could not access the MSN solitaire game he plays every day. I was downstairs with Little Man for naptime, and Squatch was in the shower. When he came up half an hour later, he found my FIL trying to “fix” the computer, not having any clue what he was doing. Squatch found the two of them squabbling over what was wrong and how to fix it. He quickly moved them out of the way and set up a virus scan. It turns out FIL’s brother had a tiny virus, and he was shutting down his computer without updating it, just doing a forced shut down. He also had not ever updated his flashplayer for the solitaire game, so that had to be taken care of. He also likes to click on the random ads that pop up on the side of the screen, thinking they are a reputable news story, when they are not. Also, who uses MSN games anymore? When I got upstairs, I asked what the computer is used for, and it was confirmed he only uses it to access the games. Squatch and I suggested he switch to a tablet where he can download a solitaire game and still be able to access his email, etc. Squatch fixed in less than 5 minutes what the other two had been working at for about 45 minutes, not really knowing what they should and should not be clicking on.

Technology is an area where I have some basic knowledge, but, not wanting to make any mistakes, I turn to the professionals to handle for me. I am good in the kitchen – baking is my superior skill, but I am getting better at cooking; Squatch is a better chef than baker, so we equal each other out. I am able to use a lot of tools and do basic electric work as well, thanks to my dad. I’m not afraid to pull out the power tools and do minor repairs around the house. This is something I have noticed a lot of people my age are unable to do. As I watched my friends purchase homes, I would just sit back and watch as they threw money away at all of the repairmen for simple things they could fix themselves; they just did not know how, or did not want to learn how to do it.

Where am I going with this? When you are overconfident in an area you actually have zero skill in, you are likely to make mistakes and make things even worse. If I have a problem with my car, I can pop the hood and check fluid levels and make sure nothing is smoking, but I don’t know anything else about the car; I will call a mechanic, or ask my FIL to show me what is wrong and how I can fix it. I know when to call in the pros, and am willing to pay a bit more for quality service and tools as opposed to getting the cheapest guy to do the work. If I started playing around under my SUV, and was tightening and loosening stuff, taking things out and trying to put them back in the correct place, I could potentially put my life, and anyone else who happens to be in the vehicle with me, at risk. If you know nothing about electrical work and try to fix a light or an outlet, you could start a fire, or electrocute yourself, if you don’t know to shut off the power to the area you are working in. Did a tree fall down on your house? Do you know how to use that chainsaw? Is the chainsaw in the proper state to be used? If you’re not maintaining your tools, that could be quite dangerous as well.

Squatch and I have been enjoying these past few weeks while he is looking for work, and spending time out in the polebarn with the FIL. He has let us help while he’s been working on his projects, and we’ve gotten to use different tools, resulting in us being more confident and skilled. I’ve been getting in the kitchen more this past week, and am feeling better about cooking and baking; the same with my crocheting (that blanket is 3/4 of the way done!). The more we get to use these skills, the more we learn, the better we feel about doing them on our own, and also knowing our limits. Do you have skills you need to improve? What are you doing to improve them? What skills are you overconfident in?

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