“How do you know how to do this stuff?” My daughter asked as I was installing a new light switch in her room.
“I don’t know. I guess ’cause I’m old.” Groan. She hates when I make dad jokes about being old.
I told her that I taught myself over time, and I’d do my best to teach her all the things too.
I know it’s morbid but I immediately had this panicked thought, Oh no what if I end up dying young, and don’t get to teach her everything, and she has to live with this feeling that she’s missing out on some essential knowledge she needs but never got.
So I said, “But really, I only need to teach you 3 things…”
I told her the most important thing she needs in order to learn to do something, is the confidence that she can figure it out.
My confidence in trying new things and getting the job done verges on naive at times. But I always think, “Hey, other people can do that so I can probably figure it out too.” If you don’t have some level of confidence like that, you’ll be too intimidated to ever even try to learn.
2. Hard work
Confidence alone is not enough. You need the tenacity, the followthrough, the perseverance to seek out the knowledge, try new things out, and DO THE WORK… even when (especially when) things get tough. And then, when it inevitably doesn’t go as you expected on the first try, you need the willingness to adapt, learn from your mistakes, and KEEP GOING.
You can’t assume everything is going to be easy, usually it’s not. But if you’re willing to work hard, you’ll figure it out eventually.
Celebrate your hard work and accomplishments. The feeling of fulfillment is what inspires you to build on the knowledge and experience you gained and propels you to take on the next tough thing.
There’s very little that feels better than stepping back and admiring a job well done. Such as seeing the look on your daughter’s face when she flicks on her fancy new cat light switch and sees the room fill with light just as her face lights up as well.
“I’ll do my best to teach you everything I taught myself. But if you have confidence, work hard, and take pride in your accomplishments, you don’t need me or anyone else. You can teach yourself too.”
She looked up at me and said, “So you just watched videos on YouTube?”
YouTube helps too.