The Handiest Man Alive

There’s a story I’ve told myself for most of my life and it’s a story that has been validated from many failed attempts to put things together or fix items in general.

The story is: I’m just not handy.

From common household scenarios that pop up to random bits of furniture which need to be assembled, my track record of successfully putting things together or repairing what’s broken is abysmal.

My father, by comparison, was very handy. When I needed to put together all of the equipment for RevFit back in 2009, my father was by my side, helping me assemble pieces that I just couldn’t conceptualize working with.

Of course, I could blame shitty instructions, and perhaps I would have been right, but there was my Dad, being all methodical and patient and putting together items that I had just stared at for hours on end.

However, a few years ago, something changed.

When it came time to put together a bookshelf, I did what any reasonable human being should do.

I opened up the instructions, I laid all of the required parts out, I took my time, and lo and behold, I put something together…all by myself.

This probably sounds silly to you.

When I put together that bookshelf, it wasn’t that everything went perfectly. It didn’t.

I made mistakes. I had to backtrack a few times, unscrew parts that were not put together appropriately, reassemble things in their right place, and trudge forward again.

A far more competent person could have done the job faster.

But I was not competent, merely driven to accomplish what I set out to do: Build the stupid bookshelf.

And a small bulb went off, that maybe, just maybe, I was marginally more handy than I thought.

Since then, I’ve put together many more bookshelves, many more pieces of equipment at my studio, and, I have actually repaired some appliances in my home (Thank you, YouTube).

I won’t go into detail about the things I tried to repair that were less successful (Buh-bye, Mr. Oven and See you later, Ms. Dishwasher).

Most recently, my wife let me know that our bathtub wasn’t draining and, rather than default to calling a plumber, my kneejerk reaction was: Well, maybe I’ll take a look when I get home and see if I can do it.

Sure enough, I took apart what appeared to be faulty, went to the hardware store, got some assistance to make sure I had the right part, came home and I’ll be damned if I didn’t sort it out (with careful supervision by Drill Sergeant Sebastian).

And now the joke in my home is that I am The Handiest Man Alive.

Please read the sarcasm.

And also, please note, this is a story of confidence, not a reminder of failure.

I hope you see where I’m going with this.

When we try to improve our health, via fat loss, getting stronger, or making better dietary choices, it’s easy to screw up along the way. Each “screw up” can replay a tape in our minds that maybe we’re not competent of achieving the task we set for ourselves.

We forget that mistakes leave clues and if we pay attention, we can fix them. As in, very few choices we make are permanent. Nearly every “problem” can be solved.

However, confidence is huge.

As the adage goes (attributed to Henry Ford): Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.

If you believe you won’t succeed at something, you’re already setting a foundation for failure. It doesn’t mean you will fail, it means you’ve raised the potential.

You’re planting a seed that doesn’t foster optimism or success.

I hold no illusions that I will fix everything that breaks in my home. I also hold no illusions that anything I elect to put together will be done in record time.

There will be certain things I have to outsource to others and I’m okay with that.

The lesson I taught myself (and it took me a long time to learn it) is that, if I take my time and follow the instructions, I’m capable of a lot more than I ever gave myself credit for.

Take these quick lessons from my journey into handiness (LOL) and apply them to your journey.

Be patient.

Follow the rules.

Make sure you have the tools to do the job.

Expect mistakes.

Ask for help if you need it. (Don’t stay stuck).