Do-It-Yourself Mentality Is Holding You Back
Dad, where is my laptop? — me
I’m fixing it. — Dad
2 weeks later.
Dad, where is my laptop? — me
Fixing it. Be patient. — dad
I never use that laptop anymore.
DIY activities are gaining popularity. The pandemic accelerates it. The global DIY tools market is expected to grow to USD13.9 Billion by 2021 — Technavio.
DIY mentality is an excellent skill. It forces us to be adaptable and resourceful. It also indicates independence and intelligence, as DIY enthusiasts often plunge into a totally new topic, guided by the mighty Google and YouTube. These people are inspiring.
However, like the short story above, the DIY mentality is not always good. If you do your DIY because you want to, do it. If you do your DIY because you only want to save money, don’t do it.
It often holds you back from something more worthwhile or meaningful
Unless people overcharge you for things you know how to do, don’t do it yourself. It absorbs your time and energy for no good reason.
You should spend more of your time and energy on the things you are good at. It is called leveraging. You pay people for the things you are not good at. It is a win-win solution.
I never cook. I don’t want to cook. Hence, I buy my food.
I am not saying that cooking is not a worthwhile activity; it is just not for me. I still live on campus, and I have a canteen nearby. The canteen sells affordable food for students. Therefore, I opt for the best choice with the most value: buying food instead of making them.
If I were to cook, I would need to channel my time and energy for cooking instead of studying (or watching Netflix). For me, it is not worth the trade.
The end product is worse than pro work
People charge money to do something because they are skillful in that area. They need experience and knowledge to make it look easy. Obviously, everyone can learn how to be anything nowadays, but a few youtube videos just won’t cut it.
Let's return to my cooking story. I used to cook. The food was horrible, sometimes okay, never good. My cooking was a fiasco. If I want to be good at cooking, I can. I can spend more time cooking.
Do I want to do it? No.
Do I need to cook? No.
What happens when you try to fix the leaking pipe under the sink? What happens when you try to install your own SSD on that new laptop? If you succeed, good for you. You have spent hours on something not very important to you, and you have saved a few bucks, good for you.
What happens if you fail to fix those pipes? You will have more pipes bursting. You will flood your entire kitchen. Things will get messy.
What happens if you fail to install that SSD? You will call the service center thinking the SSD is spoilt (true story). You will get your hardware damaged. You will lose your data. Things will get messy.
Let’s leave some work to the pro.
Some tasks aren’t as easy as it looks
Washing sneakers, installing SSD, setting up a PC. Those look easy. I tell you, it is not as easy as it looks like. Unless you are sneakers or PC enthusiasts, find help. You might get into a hot mess.
It is easy to look from the outside. Some people will always think what you do is easy. Some even say it is easy money. I once worked as a photographer, and my friend told me I was only capturing photos. I want to hit them on the head. When people look from the outside, they only know what you are currently doing.
You only know what they are doing. Nevertheless, problem-solving is a process, not an activity. One activity does not solve a problem; activities, combined, do.
People forget what is not visible to them. When cooking, for example, you forget the process where you need to buy groceries or to prepare ingredients before cooking starts.
When you see a photographer, you forget the camera preparation, maintenance, cleaning. You forget the editing process. You forget the backup process. You only see them taking pictures. You don’t understand the whole thing.
My two cents
Don’t get me wrong; I admire people with a DIY mentality. They can pull off something extraordinary from ordinary situations. It is amazing. However, not everything can be done by yourself.
Even if you can do something, it doesn’t mean you have to do it. Sometimes, the sacrifice outweighs the benefit.
Life is all about the tradeoff. You choose the best option that you think best.
Sometimes a DIY project is about having fun, spending time with people you love, or doing the thing you are passionate and enthusiastic about. If it is only about saving petty dollars, you need to change that way of thinking. It is likely to hold you back from great things.