Life Coach Magazine

Don’t Sit On The Bench, BUILD The Bench; and Other Life Lessons In Motivation, Confidence and Construction From This Weekend

By Gjosefsberg @gjosefsberg

Don’t Sit On The Bench, BUILD The Bench; and Other Life Lessons In Motivation, Confidence and Construction From This WeekendCheck out this bench in the picture.  Looks like something a professional would make and charge an arm and a leg for.  (At least, it looks like that to me!)  Well, that bench was constructed by yours truly this weekend with the help of my beautiful wife, my brother and a friend.  It involved loading a ton (yes, we measured) of bricks onto a truck and then carrying them up the stairs and to our backyard.  It also involved repeated trips to the store to retrieve something we forgot.  And yes, there were a few glitches in the plan, like when we realized our concrete deck was a bit uneven or when we realized we didn’t buy enough bricks for the three columns we originally envisioned.  Still, it turned out great!

Now neither I nor my wife are construction workers, nor are my brother or the friend who came to help.  In fact, none of us had a clue of what to do when we first started this.  Luckily, there are plenty of people willing to help, from internet sites to the very helpful Home Depot garden manager who guided us along the way.  So while we never quite felt like professionals, we did feel like we could figure this thing out.  Besides, a big part of the fun was figuring things out along the way, something we were confident we could do when we jumped into this project.  Which is one part of the point I’m trying to make with this post.

Don’t Think, Just Jump

Too many people spend too much time holding themselves back.

  • What will happen if I try this?
  • How will I even know what to do?
  • What will happen if I fail?
  • What would I gain if I do this?

How many times have you given up on something without even trying because you thought yourself into doing nothing?  How many times have you let these questions hold you back from doing something really cool?  Now sure, there are some things you should think through.  I wouldn’t recommend trying to perform surgery without medical training, I think representing yourself in court is a foolish thing and yes, you should think about your career choices a bit before making a decision, but what about building a bench?

There’s no downside here, no cost of failure.  If we failed, all we lost out on were some hours of our life (not really a loss since we were having fun), some sweat and effort (not really a loss since I love living an active lifestyle), a bit of money (not much since all these materials were quite cheap) and that’s about it.  In return, even had we failed, we would have had fun, gotten a workout and learned a lot about construction.  How awesome is that?  How fantastic is this world where we can take a chance on something completely new without any risk?  I finished out this weekend with a great memory, a new skill (yes, at a very amateur level) and a wonderful new bench.

I think back at how things used to be when I held myself back with self doubt and I have no idea why I ever did that.  Why did I say no when that girl ask me to go to South America with her for two weeks?  (yes, that happened and I said no).  Why did I hold back when my friend offered to take me mountain climbing?  Why did I say no when those meetups would pile into my inbox, each with a cool new event to attend and interesting new people to meet?  The only answer I can come up is fear.  I was afraid of failing, I was afraid of looking bad.  Well, you know what?  Life is so much more gratifying when you get past that fear and start doing new stuff.  You collect all these great new memories, skills, friends and souvenirs.  Most precious of all, you collect experience, which is what life is all about.

Family, work and community may make life fulfilling, but new experiences make it memorable.

To quote a really bad Nicholas Cage movie I saw over the weekend, “no one ever went to their deathbed regretting that they had too much sex”.  Well, the same is true of trying new things.  No one ever went to their death bed regretting that they tried too many new things.  Sure, they may have regretted not planning things well enough, not taking the proper precautions or evaluating the risk properly, but new experiences (like sex) are what makes life interesting.  You can do them on a grand scale like trying to climb mt. Everest or you can do them on a smaller scale, like building a bench in your backyard, but they’re all cool.

Build Man, BUILD!

Which brings me to my second point in this post, and here I’m talking mostly to you white collar males in the audiance (this may apply to others, I honestly don’t know).  We’ve forgotten what it’s like to build something, to start from raw materials and end up with a finished product you can touch and hold.  We spend our days in front of a computer making money or constructing power point slides.  Well, that may pay the bills, but it doesn’t satisfy the man inside you who wants to build!

There’s something incredibly fulfilling in building something from scratch, something I’ve never felt in my work where I build software and spreadsheets.  It’s primal in nature and it’s hard to define but it’s a truly gratifying feeling to stand there and look at something you built from the ground up.  It’s even better when you show it off to others and you get to tell them, “I built this!  See this thing?  It didn’t exist before.  I made it from scratch.”  I get something like this feeling when I cook a great meal from scratch but it’s not the same.  It’s not the same as spending ten hours of labor and then sitting on the fruits of that labor admiring your handiwork.  If you’re stuck in an all day office job, I highly recommend you try this experience at least once.  It will reconnect you with that primal man inside you, the one that used his bare hands to provide for his family, and that’s a feeling no powerpoint will help you find.


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