cant change a tireI have been thinking about the whole “doing it for yourself” thing recently.  Let me tell you what got me started.

  1. We recently moved and apart from the really big stuff, we did it all ourselves.  That mostly meant Dawn and I (with varying degrees of help from the boys) packing boxes, lifting boxes, loading trailers, transporting, unloading boxes, hiking up to the third floor, unloading boxes.  After four days of solid work, we discussed hiring movers next time.
  2. I saw a recent question online asking if when faced with a flat tire you change it yourself or call someone – the overwhelming response was that people called someone.
  3. I recently hired at my company to handle things that I don’t like to do.

You hear both sides of this story all the time.

You should outsource anything you don’t want to do.  It is more efficient for someone who does that item professionally than to be a jack of all trades.

You should be able to handle anything that comes up.  To let someone else change your tire means you are not a man.  What is wrong with society is that nobody has any work ethic anymore.

So what is my take?  What is the right answer?

As with most things, the truth lies somewhere in the middle – that gray zone the extremists always tend to avoid but in being slightly displeasing to both sides, pleases everyone.

I think you should be able to change your own tire (I’ve never had anyone else change a tire for me.)  You should be able to hook up a trailer.  You should be able to pack a moving box, load it in the car and haul it up some stairs.  You should be able to take a huge seemingly overwhelming task and break it down into actionable component parts.  You should be able to plant a garden.  You should be able to shoot and skin a deer.  You should be able to bait a book, take the fish off the hook and cook your dinner.  You should be able to connect your TV to the internet.  There are a ton of things you SHOULD be able to do.

You should not shy away from tasks just because they make you sweat.  You should not shy away from tasks just because it may seem beneath you.  You should not shy away from a task because you lack the knowledge.

Also though, once you know how to file and do accounting (which you should understand) it is perfectly acceptable to outsource that to someone who does is better, faster or at less expense than you would.  Just like moving… we know how to do it – but next time we are going to let someone better suited perform that task.

I harken back to a mindset I had as a young man – when asked if I could do something I had never tried (like riding a wheelie on a motorcycle) instead of saying, “No, I can’t,” I would always respond, “I don’t know yet – I haven’t tried.”  Then if it interested me, I would go figure it out.

by Chris Doelle