People exist that have succeeded. People exist with extraordinary skills. They know more than you on certain subjects. That means that you know more than others on some subject. This offers a two-fold revelation if you are open to understanding. First, you are valuable, and you are enough. Second, you can build relationships that allow you to best utilize your time to exercise your expertise.
Someone asked me why I don’t change my own oil? “It’s simple,” they said. They explained that an oil change kit is available for an average of $15 at the auto supply store. Mechanics may charge anywhere from $30 to $50 to change the oil in my car. In their calculation, I would save up to $25 by changing my own oil.
This caused me to ask myself this important question: Am I wasting money by employing a mechanic? Imagine the calculation when my mechanic lowered his price to $24 for an oil change, tire rotation, and visual brake inspection. (!)
You have heard the saying, “Do not reinvent the wheel.” The phrase is a distraction. You must do what you can to innovate even the wheel. More importantly, you must focus on completing the tasks that only you can complete. Leave the other tasks to others. Even your mechanic can be a collaborator. By working in his/her area of expertise, he/she provides you the time to work on the things that develop your expertise or build your product.
An Ounce of Truth, Gallon of Cost
Doing it yourself sounds noble, but you should always assess the cost of your time and materials. If your time is worth $50 per hour, and it would take you 3 hours to complete an oil change, that means it cost you $150 (opportunity costs) to change your own oil. It makes sense to pay $40 for an oil change rather than doing it yourself.
On the other hand, consider you invest $150 into boxes, labels, ink, and ingredients for your candy business. You have to sell 30 boxes at $5 each to break even. Your candy must be worth the $5 a box sale price, and you would do well to have a ready market that can sustain more than 30 repeat buyers. Otherwise, you are a hamster on a wheel in your candy endeavor. Again, count the cost of time and materials.
Ask the tough questions. Will the work you are doing now ever yield the financial and other goals you aspire to? Do you even want to work? Or, are you more interested in the success and achievement, not the work? Consider the problems you want to work on. Consider accessing the knowledge and practice you need in order to create new and innovative ways to address those problems. Your interest and continued curiosity will result in success that does not feel like work.
Creating Time for Competence
Take stock of what you spend your time doing. Each choice is a choice to invest resources toward your goals or to waste resources. Even if you do not have money to invest, you have time. Review what you watch, read and listen to. Review where you go and how long you spend there. Review who you engage and give time to. Become jealous with your time. Become intentional with your thoughts. Ask yourself: How is this interaction productive? What interests, expertise, or goals are promoted by this investment of time, energy, or money?
Remember that even fun and relaxation can be productive especially after a success. Just maintain your goal of competence. Even in play, ask yourself: What am I learning? How can I apply this experience to my learning?
Consider that much of the advances in recent history came when two even disparate fields of inquiry were combined either through human collaboration or individual ingenuity based in cross-training. Institutions seem to celebrate specialization. But, the depth of experience in one field does not to exclude exploration of another or collaboration with other experts. The sharing of competence, the help-seeking, and the collaboration could free you up to do what you could not do alone.