The Secret Benefit to DIY: Embracing Your Screw-Ups


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Restoring a Victorian home from the ground up, DIY-style with no prior experience was an eye-opener for me. In the process, I got over a lot of the baggage I had regarding failure and mistakes. Now I can apply those lessons to other areas of my life, including work.

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  • The book that got me thinking about DIY’s real lasting benefits.\n
  • I’m going to talk about what DIY is, what my experience is with it, and what I’ve learned from it. I’m also going to talk about how it can benefit our work at Viget.\n
  • home repair, car repair, hacking electronics, sewing, etc.\n
  • I’ve always been afraid of failure. It makes me an unlikely DIY’er, but somehow I ended up here.\n
  • I’ve grown up with it.\n- My father is a DIY’er, as was my grandfather. Garages full of tools and junk. \n
  • I’m cheap. It’s (sometimes) a lot cheaper to buy materials and do your own labor.\n
  • I like to know what other people know, and I like to understand how things work. \n
  • Taking it to the extreme.\n- Married another DIY’er, even more extreme than me. At the time Teague wasn’t a contractor, just a regular guy who liked fixing things.\n- Bought a Victorian home in severe disrepair in 2001. It came with Christmas lights.\n
  • My favorite previous owner fix: manila folder and packing tape for a hole in the wall right by the front door.\n
  • We fixed everything in the house ourselves, with the help of some skilled friends and a lot of internet searches. Teague did the hardest stuff, but I had a hand in a lot of it.\n
  • DIY used to be something everyone did. Appliances came with manuals that showed you how to fix them. Things were easy to open and alter. It was expected and encouraged.\n\n
  • Chances are your grandparents had a garage full of tools and could fix just about anything. They made things from scratch and took great pride in doing so.\n
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  • We have a basic human desire to invent and improve. Right now we’re suppressing it thanks to mass produced products and a culture of wasteful consumption. \n
  • If it’s so natural, why do people avoid it?\n\n
  • screwing up sucks. When I ask around, it’s the main reason so many people avoid DIY. Especially over-achievers like the Viget team. I am absolutely one of those people. \n
  • We learn this in school. School teaches us that mistakes = stupidity.\nNo one wants to be stupid so we learn to avoid them at all costs. \nThis makes us shy away from challenges that might end in failure.\n
  • The truth is, smart people fail all the time. They just use it to their advantage.\n
  • Henry Ford forgot to put a reverse gear on his first automobile. \n
  • Thomas Edison failed hundreds of times while testing filaments for his improved light bulb. (Others beat him to it by almost 40 years, but he got the patent)\n
  • Simon Cowell was a high school dropout. In the late 80’s he even had to move back in with his parents, as his career wasn’t doing well.\n
  • Failing isn’t as negative as we have always been taught. Neuroscience has proven that making mistakes is one of the fastest ways to learn. Error is helpful and necessary. \n
  • Being able to accept and embrace mistakes lets us learn from them, which makes us more successful the next time.\n
  • Understanding that mistakes are ok is one thing. Living with them is another.\nIn the process of all that DIY on the house, I got over a lot of the baggage I had regarding failure and mistakes. \nI’m constantly thinking about these lessons learned when I stumble in day-to-day work/life.\n\n
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  • Perfection is a useless goal. If you can do something perfectly, you’re not stretching yourself. Let go of perfect and aim for good.\nFail better, fail faster. Practice failing. Once you experience (and find solutions for) a few failures you’re more willing to try other things. Give yourself permission to fail. Learn to roll with your mistakes and keep moving without a melt down. Don’t let your mistakes haunt you. Expect bumps in the road and you’ll be able to roll with them.\n\n
  • When you don’t fear mistakes, good things happen. \n
  • You realize there is nothing magic about things like home repair. There are no silver bullets. Most things are doable if broken down into smaller, more manageable steps. It demystifies things and makes them less overwhelming.\n
  • You practice practicing, allowing yourself to move outside your comfort zone and stretch your knowledge. Learning new things improves your problem solving skills and logic. Practice improves your skill at nearly everything. \n
  • You feel empowered. You are less reliant on others and get a sense of achievement when you accomplish something you didn’t know you could do. To put it simply, doing things yourself increases your self-worth. You feel good because you did it and you feel more capable because you know you can do it again.\n
  • You form a connection with the material world. You understand more about what you’re purchasing and paying for when you don’t DIY. You have a better appreciation for whatever it is you produce than if you just paid for it. It’s more custom, you’re more engaged. Win-win.\n
  • You get a chance to use your hands and your brain, and you’re not sitting in front of your computer.  It’s a change of scenery and can be a way of relieving stress. When people engage in DIY activities like knitting, their heart rate and blood pressure go down. We are tool-using animals and our bodies feel better when we’ve got tools in our hands.\n
  • How do these benefits relate to our day to day jobs?\n
  • DIY LETS US EXPERIENCE A DIFFERENT KIND OF LEARNING.\nViget is a culture of learning and we all love personal growth. Sometimes we limit it to things inside our computer screen, which is a pretty small part of the world around us. Not all of it needs to be on a computer. Taking a break from the computer to do something hands-on can be beneficial for both mind and body. We all want to maximize our time, but learning new things outside of our career paths can be relevant. \n\n
  • - Tackling DIY projects and surviving them, with results you can be proud of, makes you a more confident person. Confidence in one area seeps into all. \n\n
  • - We can encourage ourselves to try new things. Being more adventurous can make us better at our jobs.\n
  • Good resources to get started\n
  • Good resources to get started\n
  • The Secret Benefit to DIY: Embracing Your Screw-Ups

    1. 1. REALLY?
    2. 2. OVERVIEWWhat is DIY?My DIY backgroundWhat I learnedHow it applies to work
    3. 3. DO-IT-YOURSELF (DIY):building, modifying, or repairing of somethingwithout the aid of experts or professionals.
    4. 4. FAMILY
    5. 5. FRUGALITY
    6. 6. CURIOSITY
    8. 8. WE DIY’D:- Jacked up the foundation 1/2”- Rewired the whole house (no more knob andtube)- Put on a new roof- Removed a room that was falling apart- Remodeled the kitchen, added 12’- Remodeled the master bathroom, clawfoottub- and plenty more... upstairs, stairwell Gutted entire- Refinished hardwoods
    9. 9. DIYHISTORY
    10. 10. WHYAVOID?
    14. 14. NO MAGIC
    16. 16. EMPOWERED
    17. 17. CONNECTED
    18. 18. HANDS-ON
    20. 20. CONFIDENCE
    21. 21. ADVENTURE
    23. 23. QUESTIONS?