Sometimes new tasks can be daunting. I was in Hawaii trying to fix our minivan, and even though the steps involved in replacing spark plugs and wires looked quite easy, I wasn't particularly confident that the van would start when I turned the key.
I've noticed that a lot of people, including people who are incredibly competent within their own domains, are terrified of doing something new. Sometimes they're so paralyzed that they're not even willing to try it.
I may have been that way before too, but something I always remind myself is, "Dumber people than me have done this before."
That's not an insult to anyone else or a mechanism to inflate my own ego. It doesn't mean that I'm smarter than everyone who has ever attempted whatever it is that I'm up against. All it means is that at some point in history, someone with less ability than me has probably succeeded in doing whatever it is I want to do.
Has someone dumber than me ever replaced plugs and wires on an engine without any mechanical experience? Of course they have, which leaves me with no excuse.
The adjective can change, too. If I'm trying to rock climb a route, I might ask myself if anyone weaker or less experienced than me has ever successfully climbed it. They probably have.
I want to have as few excuses in my life as possible. This way of thinking doesn't guarantee that I will succeed at everything I do, but it can certainly make me try and succeed a lot more than I would otherwise.
Asking myself if anyone dumber has done whatever I want to do is a pretty easy way to shine the light of day on any flimsy excuses that might prevent me from executing my task.
Has a dumber person than me ever replaced plugs and wires? Yep.
It started raining.
Has anyone ever replaced plugs and wires when it was raining a little bit? Well, sure.
It was hard to reach the plugs in the back of the engine.
Has anyone ever been able to remove them with the same tool that I'm using? Yes, I'm sure.
As is often the case, doing my little mechanical task was far easier that it had originally seemed, the car started just fine, and I completed the work in half the time the shop wanted to bill me to do it.
There are very few phrases I repeat often to myself, but this is one of them. Any time I can tell that I'm balking when I maybe shouldn't be I say the phrase and realize I'm just making excuses.
Photo is the new wires in the van. I would love to learn more about mechanical stuff. The Bentley has a couple minor issues that I'm thinking of trying myself!
Whatever it is, I've had an itch to go check it out. I've been there a few times before but didn't explore much and certainly didn't see it through the eyes of a resident. So this time I'm heading that way in the RV.
This Thursday I'll head West from Austin, and hopefully drive 20 hours straight to Las Vegas. I love Las Vegas and have a few friends there, so it's hard to pass up an opportunity to visit. After Las Vegas I'll go to LA. I might stay for a few days, for a month, or something in between. I haven't decided yet.
Then from Los Angeles I'll go to San Francisco. I have a ton of friends there, some from middle school back in Boston, some from Austin, and a few from the old pick up days. I'm also hoping to make friends with some of the people involved in the tech community there. I've heard that parking won't be easy, but my friends have a couple ideas on places that might work.
As much as I want future children to actually be as smart as those in Ender's Game, I doubt that it will be a scenario that will happen to the human race as of the moment. At its rate, more and more children are getting "dumber" and "dumber". True, they are smarter in the sense that they know more. However, most of these children know little more than what is taught of them. In fact, most children are not as creative anymore, which begs me to consider if they still are just children!