Competence

Again and again i am struck by the calm and confidence of a person who is really good at what they do. This bliss seems to reserved for people who do things that have a very clear and measurable outcome like having repaired something that was broken or having baked a beautiful and tasty loaf of bread.

When i was little we used to repair everything that broke in our home. My dad did not stop at anything that needed repairing. From cars to VCRs to washing-machines to toasters, you name it. And whenever we had managed to make it work again, there was this very clear and direct feeling of pride and accomplishment.

Unfortunately we’re robbing ourselves of this experience more and more by creating devices that cannot be repaired anymore without peeling through layers of electronics that are hard to understand and hard to fix. But we’re losing out on the feeling of accomplishing something with our own hands and knowledge.

We need to reclaim this. I know there are a lot of doers and makers and lifehackers and “opensource anything” movements and people out there, but it does not take a movement. All it takes is a tiny bit of willpower. But the most magic thing about it is that this willpower is given back manyfold once you feel your own competence.

Thomas Schindler