2012: The Year of Skillbuilding

So on Tuesday we talked about being curious. Curiosity is an essential quality in life. Being successful in careers, and in life, means growing as a person and learning new things.

One of the key things to sustainability and living with less is doing it yourself. Self-reliance provides an element of certainty in uncertain times. By learning to be more self-reliant outside influences like gas and food prices have less of an impact on you – and that has been a tremendous help for us.

Sadly, Americans have forgotten basic home economics skills. According to The Center for the New American Dream in 1970, 71 percent of American men had basic home DIY project skills, compared to just 44 percent more recently. By 2030, it’s expected that only one in five men will be able to pick up DIY skills from their fathers.

So we have to take matters into our own hands and acquire new skills. These skills can make you more self-reliant, save you money and in the case of timebanking, make you a true asset.

So where to start? Friends and family are a good place. Next time someone has a big project, or even a small meal to do, offer to help. You’ll be amazed at how many things you will pick up.

Your next stop should be classes. But classes cost money right? Not necessarily.

For no cost options start with a timebank. There is a wealth of knowledge stored in timebank members. Another place is to check out Skillshare network – a timebank simply for skill exchange.

The library can also be a great resource. My library hosts knitting circles once a month which are absolutely free – lead by a local yarn shop owner (who happens to teach classes at her shop for $6 a piece). MeetUps can also be fruitful.

Finally, a surprising place to learn new skills could be your local grocery store, or even hardware store. These classes and demonstrations are nearly always free.

For paid options there are community colleges, community centers, specialty shops, art centers and restaurants. Look around, you may find classes in unlikely places.

I’ve signed up for a variety of classes including:

  • A cooking class and a class on organic vegetable gardening from the local community college.
  • A class on raising backyard chickens from the other local community college.
  • A composting class, and another on medicinal herbs from the world-famous Rodale Institute, which advocates for organic agriculture. (They basically wrote the book on organic agriculture.)
  • A three-part urban bee-keeping webinar.

Of course I will impart my newfound knowledge to you.

Investing in education is an investment in yourself that will pay off in dividends. Resolve that 2012 will be the year you build your skill set.

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