Having The Right Tools Is Half The Battle


Having The Right Tools Is Half The Battle

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When I was newly engaged with my wedding only months away, I purchased my first house.  I remember talking with my soon-to-be Father-In-Law about a project I needed to do in my new home.

“I think it’s going to be difficult to complete that project.” He stated in a matter-of-fact tone.

“Why’s that?” I inquired.

“Because I’ve seen your tools.”

He was right, I had to get my dad to help me because I lacked the tools, skills, and experience to get the job done.  I remembered his statement over the years as I collected tools and my experience grew with every DIY project.

Recently, I began a large project to organize my garage.  My garage has 12 foot high ceilings; therefore, I have lots of space to hang shelving from the ceiling.  I ordered some shelving that would allow me to raise and lower my Christmas items above the garage door for long term storage.  I also ordered a hoist system that would allow me to raise my expanding collection of bicycles off the garage floor as well.

I approached the project with zeal and excitement.  I took my time as I assembled the parts and carefully measured where I would install the shelving on the ceiling.  Alia cringes whenever I call for her from the garage, because she knows it usually entails her climbing up a ladder and holding something for me.

On this particularly day, she reluctantly joined me in the garage and gave me an annoyed look when I announced that she needed to hold the other end of a 12 foot long 2×4 board pre-loaded with heavy brackets and material.  Not only did I ask her to hold it, but I needed her to climb up the ladder, 12 feet off the floor, and hold it above her head while I installed 5” lag bolts on the other end.

Everything was going “pretty well” until my drill could not fully install the lag bolt.  I glanced over at Alia and could see that she was uncomfortable as I pulled out a ratchet wrench and struggled to manually turn the bolt as I drove it the rest of the way into the ceiling joist.

The rest of the project proved to be just as hard.  I pressed on, with frustration, as I had to manually drive eleven more 5” lag bolts into the celling. By the time I was finished, my arms were fatigued to the point that they felt like lifeless sand bags hanging off my shoulders and my back muscles screamed for relief.

I was determined to have a better experience with the installation of the bike hoist, so I ordered a ½” hammer drill with more power and torque to the do the job.  I was hopeful when my new drill arrived and I began the next project in my garage.  To my delight, it worked beautifully and was able to drive the lag bolts in the ceiling joists with ease.  I completed the project quickly and with much less pain and suffering.  At last, I had the right tool!

DIY projects can be an enjoyable learning experience if the right tools are available.  I’ve had several “ah ha” moments once I acquired the right tools for a job I was working on at home or at work.  Tools, when used appropriately, can be huge time savers and back savers!

Your life is one big DIY project.  In the end, you must discover the tools that work for you to get you through life that will allow you to have an impact in the world you inhabit.  So what are some of those necessary life tools?  For me, it’s quite simple:

  1. The books I read.  I find reading expands my thought process more than anything else.  Whether it’s my Bible, a great work of non-fiction, or riveting fiction, I find reading is the primary tool that helps me “grease” the skids of my daily life.
  2. My network.  I continually tap into my network to search for advice, to challenge my own paradigms, and to leverage the resources of others to help me with difficult challenges.
  3. My office.  Everyone needs their own space.  A place to retreat, to focus, to learn, and to work out the challenges of life.  I built my home office with a deliberate and vivid vision in mind.  For years, I thought of how I wanted my office to be arranged.  What it would look like, smell like, and feel like.  I needed my office to inspire me to address my daily challenges, but also provide me place of peace to reflect on my life as well.  Last year, I completed that vision and established an office that allows me to do all the things I hoped for and more.

Do you have the right tools to live your life or are you struggling unnecessarily to get by because you’re engaging life with the wrong tools?  What can you upgrade in your “toolbox” that will make your life easier today?

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