Not long ago I was getting ready to move to a new house within the Kansas City limits and on a whim of random inspiration, I decided that I was going to give away and sell all the furniture that I currently had not made myself in my bedroom. The reason for this was I desired to create an atmosphere of immediate need for furniture. Why did I intentionally want this pressure? I knew myself all to well that is why. As the old mechanics say "A squeaky wheel gets fixed."
I had created for myself this lacking lifestyle to force my hand. I was clueless to the amount of impact this fascinating decision would have on me. The first thing I had to build was a bedframe. Then a dresser. Then a million other things, but those were the first two immediate noises in my head.
I decided to go the hipster route of working with reclaimed wood from pallets I had harvested from local small businesses and disassembled them like a butcher with my handy Sawzall. From start to finish the process taught me some valuable lessons about life. There are times in my life when I get all hippy about letting my surroundings and life teach me things. I wanted to share these simple life lessons I learned.
1) I can do it. I know this might seem simple, and the matter of fact is that it is. Yet, the belief that I was able to accomplish the simple goal of building a piece of furniture was not a conviction which had solidified yet in my life. If you look at the picture below of the dresser which I built; the angles were on the verge of destroying my problem-solving brain and motivation to finish. I pressed through it, though. I needed a dresser, and my somewhat intricate design I had sketched up was not going to stop me dang-it. Taking a concept from my imagination to creating a real article sitting in my bedroom gave me the confidence to believe in myself that "I can do it." I can work through the problems of life that hold me back from accomplishing that which I feared I could not conquer. Whether it's attempting to build a piece of furniture, or it is going for a dream that seems so far out. I now have the belief deep within me that if I take it one day at a time and break it down into baby steps, I can do it!
2) The level of quality produced in life is directly related to the amount of patience invested. I could not count the number of times I thought I measured boards correctly before cutting them, and was wrong. If I allowed myself to be patient, learn from my mistakes, and go back to make the right cut the final product not only looked better but functioned on the level which it was created for. I realized the more patient I became and did not attempt to rush the process the outcome was a thousand times better. Having the epiphany of patience influencing quality has slowly started to flood into other areas of my life, for example, my job or relationships with people close to me. When I have consciously chosen to be patient, the result has been delightful. Putting in my time and patiently waiting for the final outcome when doing woodworking is something I would have to work hard to forget.
3) Building something tangible with my hands gives me a sense of self-confidence. It may seem odd, but when I come home at night and look at the work of my hands, even if I am not in love with how they look, I feel empowered by the fact that I fabricated this unique thing. There is an impactful aura emanating from these artifacts which I crafted with my amateur hands. As my bedroom started to fill with wooden sculptures, they seemed to serve as relics from my personal journey and reminded me of the small accomplishments I had made and where I had come from. Build something that you need or use all the time and I would wager you might feel the same subtle influence. This picture below is of a table I built for my dining room.
These three things are basic I know, but they impacted me. I could probably write a whole book on why people should build things with their own hands but for now these three points will suffice.
What has your experience been? Have you built something that influenced your life in ways you didn't expect? Please take time to share your thoughts!