I recently moved into a new apartment. I was so excited to start decorating, except…I didn’t know how to hang things on the walls or assemble the furniture/decor I purchased from IKEA. I have a home office, but didn’t know how to set up my wireless printer. Normally, I would just ask someone much handier than me to hang the pictures up, assemble the furniture, or hook up my printer. But this time around, I wanted to figure things out on my own. And it was really rewarding.
While most of my big furniture (couch w/ sectional, tv stand, bar stools, bed frame, office desk/shelves, night stand, etc.) was already assembled from when I lived at my previous apartment, there were lots of new things I wanted to add to my new apartment. In my living room, there was a lot of empty wall space and I wanted to put three mirrors up on the wall behind my couch to add depth to the room. I went to Target and found a set of three mirrors! I was so excited I found exactly what I was looking for. I brought the mirrors home, and they sat in the bag for several days. I am single, so I don’t have a boyfriend who can hang stuff up for me. My father works, and when he gets off he usually goes to the farm. My brother plays baseball in South Carolina, so he wasn’t available to help me either. I was thinking of who I could call to come hang the mirrors up, but then I said to myself, “I can figure it out.”
So what did I do? Google! I looked up the tools I would need. A stud finder, level, pencil, nails, hammer, and a drill. I got the tools, and I went to work. I followed the instructions step by step for how to properly hang something on the wall, ensuring it is level and secure and evenly spaced. Although this seemingly simple task took me about 45 minutes to complete, whereas a handy person could have done it in probably 10-15 minutes, I was proud of myself for accomplishing it. Sure, I could have taken the easy way out and gotten someone else to do it. But what would I have learned? Nothing.
The key is patience! Don’t get frustrated. Well-written instructions will take you from beginning to end, all you have to do is take it one step at a time. Look at it as a mini personal challenge. Push yourself to figure things out, because when you do, it’s a powerful feeling. Even something as small as hanging up a picture can give you a huge sense of pride and accomplishment. You did it all on your own and nobody helped you.
After I hung the mirrors up, I suddenly felt confident to take on more tasks. I assembled several light fixtures from IKEA and I also set up my wireless printer to both of my computers, and got it to work! Like I said before, maybe these tasks took me longer than it would have taken someone else. But I learned something, and that felt good. More importantly, I showed myself I am capable of doing things on my own. I already have a list of more things I want to learn how to do, including how to change a flat tire.
So what is the point of this whole blog post? Next time you find yourself in a situation when you don’t know how to do something, it’s ok to ask for help, but try to figure it out on your own first! If you are required to ask someone else to do something for you, watch & learn! Take notes! Don’t just let them do it for you without learning how to do it yourself. It sounds crazy, but accomplishing a simple task on your own has the power to make you feel like you can accomplish anything you set out to do. Try it.