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Thread: Rob's thought for the day.......Have you ever invested in yourself....

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada

    Rob's thought for the day.......Have you ever invested in yourself....

    Well today i got to thinking after a discussion with a friend of mine.

    There were two parts to this thought.

    a) On the assumption that one element of forum participation is to learn about our craft one can extrapolate that their is therefore a desire on the part of many of us to improve on our abilities.

    b) If we have the desire to improve on our abilities in woodworking what about improve our abilities in other areas.

    Bill Satko and i have chatted offline about the issue of woodworking classes hosted by expert woodworkers say like Garret Hack, and company my question is would you invest your hard earned loot in this kind of weekend warrior course to improve or not.

    Then have you ever given thought or invested in similar kinds of things but not neccessary in the field of woodworking and not neccessary a class.

    Thinking here about elements such as motivational talks or books that are committed to audio files to make them easy to listen to at suitable times.

    There are many of these self improvement courses out there.

    So have you ever parted with some loot for any of these.

    Also if you got value from a woodworkers course and have not ever invested in one of the more personal improvement courses what do you see as the obstacle stopping you outside of $$

    My thought is in some cases i think its pointless being taught some new method or technique if your fundamental approach and attitude needs adjustment to be able to derive the benefit of the class, what do you say.

    Last part is Woodworking in America is coming to Cincinnati in November this year. Given the long range heads up I did some checking and the three day "conference" costs around $400 or thereabouts.

    Seems to me it would make a great central point for a FWW meeting and learning session. I been tossing about the merits of this event and wonder if anyone that has been to one could comment on what they came away with outside of the fun and meeting woodworkers and participation.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Oceanside, So. Calif. 5 mi. to the ocean
    When I was in practice I had a fantastically good staff. One of the major reasons was that I picked up the tab for any courses that related to their job. They got time off with pay. I considered "Self Help" to be related to their job.

    If you do things to build yourself up, you are going to find that your interaction with the real world builds you up also.

    You build yourself up and you:

    Start to see the other person's side of the picture better. This makes you act/react in a better fashion.

    You build confidence. This makes it easier to charge a logical price and stop discounting.

    Your confidence makes it so you interact with the customer in a much more positive fashion.

    The confidence makes you want to "stretch," to do better things, to innovate, etc. To keep hunting until you find that perfect board for this piece (whatever it is). It gives you the, "Damn, I'm good" outlook. Then, since you have that outlook, you will search for the perfect stain, dye, technique, etc. You will find yourself hating the term, "That's good enough."

    "I am really good and nothing is going to pull my quality down." becomes your new mantra. Your prices go up, your volume goes up, you relax and enjoy.

    If there is a public library available USE IT. If they don't have the books you want, they can borrow from another library. You do not need to spend a fortune in money. You do need to spend some time. We all have some time every day that is basically wasted as far as self improvement goes. If you are eating alone---read. If you are on the pot---read. If you are waiting for the coffee to heat---read.

    If you don't get much out of reading there are audio CDs (tapes, DVDs, etc.). Don't use them just once, go back over them. You will probably learn more the second time through. It's your life we are talking about---DO SOMETHING!!!


    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Central NY State
    Well Rob,
    I spent a week with a professional chairmaker, one on one. I came away with a Windsor chair. It was worth every penny.

    There's also a woodworking show in Saratoga Springs every March. Two days long, and costs about $10 plus lodging to attend. I've seen talks there by Garrett Hack, Roy Underhill, Phil Lowe, Chris Schwarz, and other fine woodworkers of less renown, including our own Don Orr. It's a great experience, and alot less costly than WIA. Some members of FW have met there too, always a pleasant time.
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
    My whole professional career I was treated to numerous types of self improvement seminars some 1 day some multi day they all were helpful. as for as investing in my self, the one indulgence was the work shop with Sam Maloof. I went there not just to see a master woodworker but to learn and be inspired and I truly feel that they money spent was well worth it. He was an amazing teacher and one thing I will never forget was his humility.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    North West Indiana
    I am of course in the field of education which does the worst job of promoting further education amongst its employees. Pay your own way, do it on your own time, on your own dime and be on time and effective at your day job. My brother in laws in industry got time off during classes, paid and offices provided for studying. Man what an upside down world sometimes. I went to a two week school on horseshoeing when I was 14 in Oklahoma (Stillwater) and learned to shoe horses. Went to a Woodcraft store and learned to turn a pen, the rest is history.
    God and family, the rest is icing on the cake.

    I'm so far behind, I think I'm in first place.

    Premier Bovine Scatologist


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada
    I think Jim has the gist of what i am getting at here. See one can get the company to fork out for something like its their duty but nothing beats one deciding for oneself that you gonna fork out for it because you want it.

    I find our value system is a little out of wack in my view.

    Somehow we have been brainwashed into buying all sorts of items and i dont just mean tools, all supposedly going to improve our lives and make em easier but very few people relatively speaking will spend money on or as Jim says go to the library and loan a personal development book or tape. And then try out the program.

    I guess much of this is inappropriate to woodworkers given we have taken a big step by simply having a hobby and applying ourselves to it.

    But we living in a world and climate where being over 45 and getting younger, people are being made redundant all the time. Some of my thoughts in this regard are to what extent this group begins to suffer from the "you cannot teach and old dog new tricks" syndrome and develops an attitude that affects their situation.

    The downside of this kind of rejection experience can lead to all sorts of negatives that hang about. Waiting for big brother to provide solutions could be a long wait but is becoming what people expect. The alternative is to take action oneself and seek to add some new arrows to ones quiver and i dont just mean "how to" skills.

    Its struck me that some of my business peers will happily spend $30 on lunch and beer yet balk at paying $10 for entrance to a seminar on some or other topic that will provide some englightenment in areas they definitely did not learn about at school. I just cannot get my mind around that sense of value.

    I often will make a cd of a motivational talk i have and play that in my car as opposed to listen to the "talking heads" wind me up to their agenda on the radio.

    There are many of these products out there, some are sold on the basis of ridiculous promises by snake oil salesman and in my view do more damage than good but there are some out there that can have life changing effects.

    Not all of us have been privvy to having well rounded well educated parents and in turn we pass on what we get handed down with a little added that we pick up along the way. But the opportunity does exist to pick up a whole load improvement for very little and pass on more than we got.

    As woodworkers we are pretty solitary guys in some ways. But we could do with doing what the hunters and fisherman do and that is having a day when we take someone new into our shop each year and expose them to the joys of woodworking.

    I know there is a movement afoot to have something like this take off among the hand tool makers of our hobby.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Kansas City, Missouri
    My wife and I used to spend quite a bit of money at the book stores each week when the kids were growing up. We'd hit the bargain isles and find something that we hadn't seen or done before and give it a try. Probably spent close to $400 a month on books for a while. I've got 4 large boxes of them out in the back of the shop that need a home, some still have the bargain price stickers on them. Several were given away to friends and co-workers (my wife is a big re-gifter).

    As finances changed, I found the library again. I'd go once a week, with no topics of interest in mind, I'd just browse the isles looking for something calling out to me. Some weeks I'd bring home 10 books and only skim some, others it was a single book that was read cover to cover. So money isn't a problem with educating yourself, just have to take the time to go.

    I also find myself getting on Youtube and finding topics of interest, learned to run my reloading press and it's quirks there. Also found many fixes to issues with appliances and other products around the house.

    At work we have almost daily seminars at the institute that cover topics well beyond my education. We have some of the brightest minds sharing what they have discovered. They're open to any associate that wants to attend and find myself going, even if I don't quite comprehend the subject.

    I've taken many co-workers into the abyss of woodworking, even given old tools to some. I typically still have contact with several of them once a week for advice or chats about our next projects. Several have gotten comfortable enough to start teaching their kids, where they couldn't swing a hammer themselves at one time.

    I hope to get my shop organized enough to start having a meet-up of sorts for mentoring and just hanging out soon. I'd even like to see about doing a wounded warrior sponsorship once things are in order.

    Good talk Rob!

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

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