Do you remember learning how to walk? Yeah…I don’t either. But if you’ve ever watched a 2 year old learn how to walk and witness the determination they go through as they fall down, immediately get back up, fall down again, failing over and over again until they get it, you suddenly realize…
Giving up is a learned behavior.
If we all gave up learning how to walk, we’d all be crawling off to work, to the grocery store, through the airport, to the bathroom…goodness, what a frightening hypothetical. Or, worse – we’d be driving ourselves around in a pod to do everything. Ever see Wall-E?
In our first moments of life, we are in a constant state of discovery and curiosity about our environments and our bodies. Parents ensure that kids don’t accidentally kill themselves, but for the most part, watch them interact with the world as they figure out how stick out their tongues, play with their toes, and clap their hands. They naturally reach out for help when faced with challenges, but for the most part, we let them find their own way.
Why do we stop discovering and experimenting as we get older?
We stop our experimental, trial-and-error ways and start listening to news stories, commercials, and celebrities, telling us what to buy, what to eat, and how to fit in. In our aggrandized “treat yo’self” millennial era, we’re bombarded with claims that some tool, some magic pill, or some personalized service are guaranteed to make us happier. We’re told that jetting ourselves off to exotic travel destinations and getting drunk with foreigners will help us become well-rounded individuals. We’re buying solutions to our problems.
Instead of fixing our bad eating or drinking habits, we handicap ourselves with a dependency on a meal-replacement-shake. Instead of figuring out the root cause of our inability to get a good night’s sleep, we take sleeping pills or buy expensive mattresses. Instead of experimenting in the kitchen, we sign up for meal-delivery services like Blue Apron and Plated to deliver “fresh ingredients” to us or “grab” dinner because we’re hungry and can’t be bothered to whip up something in our kitchens. We leave our behaviors and choices up to the “industry experts” because we are apparently too incapable and incompetent, claiming that our super-powered brains don’t have time and energy to waste on trivial matters like taking care of ourselves. We’re too self-sacrificing for that. We’ve got better things to worry about, like catching up on the latest (insert sport or TV show here).
I realize that my privilege means that DIY is a choice. Fortunately, no matter where you come from, DIY is meant to be a fun learning process, because you are a capable person and were meant from birth to be able to figure things out on your own. Cooking your own meals and savoring the taste of your own creations, creating a masterpiece greeting card for a friend using scraps, practicing math, making your own body scrub, training your body, writing code, building a website…there is a whole world of DIY possibilities out there, and you’ll definitely fail time and time again just like you did as a baby, but if you commit to it, you’ll be the one claiming that your one weird trick of DIY is save you dollars and building your personal toolbox of skills and abilities. Experts are there to guide you, but you are ultimately going to determine your success, and that is satisfying.
Happy Saturday, a perfect, DIY Day!