Take the 13 Skills in Thirteen Challenge

spring garden

“Believe it or not, working on the land was more fun to me than playing computer games ever was (and I know perfectly well how fun they can be), mostly because playing computer games never gave me real life knowledge or real life skills that I can use for the rest of my life. For example, in an RPG style game, you basically try to develop your character making them the best you can.

How much cooler is it when you develop your own character? When you increase your own attributes and increase your skill level? Yes it takes a little more work than pushing a few buttons on the keyboard, and it is relaxing, but nowhere near as fulfilling, or lasting. If you win the computer game, you get bored again. If you win life, you will have everlasting happiness.” Doug Caswell

What an awesome email from my son Doug.  He makes a great point.  Video games, role playing games can be great fun, especially the challenge to make it to a new levels. But what about real life skills? Do you know how to change a tire? Bake bread? Sew a button back on?  Clean a bathroom? Check the oil? Light the pilot light on your furnace or hot water heater? Balance a check book? or should I say debit card account? Fix a leaky faucet?  Be creative or make something new?

Lauren's Homecoming Dress

Lauren’s Homecoming Dress

I learned much from my mom.  We had a large garden, and often canning stuff. She taught me how to sew.  I modified a pattern and made my own wedding dress.  When my oldest daughter got married, I designed hers too. But I’ve not done a great job passing those sewing skills on to my kids.  Can my youngest even sew on a button? When her older sister wanted a dress made for homecoming, I agreed to help her sew it.  Progress.

My husband is great fixing mechanical things.  He hates working on plumbing stuff, especially around the dishwasher.   Yet my husband was surprised that his sons didn’t know how to do basic repairs like fixing a leaky faucet.  He realized we’d been too busy to pass on these skills.

rag rug

Rag Rug photo by {studiobeerhorst}-bbmarie on Flickr

Life gets busy. Who has time to sit down and sew something or change the oil in their car? It has gotten to the point where some will spend $$ on the gym and a personal trainer but are too tired to mow their own yards, clean their own houses, cook their own food.

I remember my grandmother making these beautiful rugs, with a crochet hook and balls of rags, cut from cloth scraps and discarded clothes. I’ve not made one, but I’ve crocheted other things before.  I don’t know if my youngest would even know what a crochet hook was.  Many forgotten, lost skills.

13 in ThirteenIt is the start of a new year. How many times do you vow to do better and the plan gets lost in the shuffle of everyday life?  In 2013, why not set goals of learning new skills, improving current skills?  Upping your personal levels for various skills.

Go to 13Skills.com sponsored by TheSurvivalPodcast.com.   The idea is to pick 13 new skills in 2013. To stretch and grow.  It can be adding on to an existing skill or learning something new.  Teaching is also a skill, teach skills you have, pass it on!

Not sure what to choose? Look around and see what skills others are learning.  You don’t have to pick all 13 at once.  Click on the Register Now Button.  Set up your free profile.  Start setting your own skills.

Here is my profile to give you an example, click on the link, you can see the skills I’m working on there:

13Skills profile page

Some of my skills I’m already working on, others are in the future.  I’ve included links to some of my skills back to this blog to share my progress. Think of 13 Skills as a community of like-minded people, encouraging and inspiring each other by doing something.

Some skills can be fun, such as cook 10 new recipes from stuff I grow.  I started out with 2 awesome roasted broccoli recipes.  Some not so fun but much needed such as organizing paperwork, getting rid of papers no longer needed, being able to find any paper I need in 5 minutes or less.  Sadly we can’t do a google search for paper documents scattered in dusty piles around the house.

  • Pick a skill you’ve always wanted to learn, but never took the time. A skill completely different than what you’ve done before.  My sister impressed me this past year, she took up hang gliding. I’ve never grown mushrooms.
  • Improve a skill you already have, become a master at that skill.  My youngest daughter keep breaking her records, becoming a better swimmer.
  • Teach a skill where you excel, mentor others to develop this skill.  Last year I built a WordPress Tutorial site for my friends who wanted to learn.
  • Pick a skill which benefits you and your family.  This past month my oldest son made the decision to start his own company.  Multiple skills. He is learning how to record screencasts with great audio, how to create a revenue stream, how to keep track of expenses and income, and many more things which will come up.
  • Involve your family, start a group.  Developing a new skill with others is fun.
  • Invent something, create something.  Even if it is something as simple as an easier way to do something than what you’ve been doing.
  • Don’t stress.  Enjoy life.  Life is an extraordinary journey, continually learning, growing, sharing, creating.

I look at my list of 13 skills. This time next year I’ll have more raised garden beds around my home with a paved pathway, some plants growing from seeds I’ve saved, yummy new recipes using that produce. Mushrooms started, a plan in place for bees. More income. Rain barrels up. My cleaning supplies will no longer come from the big box store. I will weigh 25 lb. less. my fruit trees will coming along nicely.  Paperwork will no longer be lost. This blog will share my journey. Can I do it all?  Only if I continue to work on these now, not cramming till the last month.

Old skills, new skills, forgotten skills, invent something new.  But I can promise you this, as you develop and improve your “levels” on these various real life skills you will be happier, feel younger, more alive.  As Doug said, “ If you win the computer game, you get bored again. If you win life, you will have everlasting happiness.

See you there!


Take the 13 Skills in Thirteen Challenge — 13 Comments

  1. Wow…impressive, even the idea is so “attention getting.”

    I can and will join you ~

    Thanks so much Heidi…passing this on to my grandsons and children also.

    The Best of the Holiday’s~

    • 🙂 Regularly writing great content is most definitely a skill and a great one for any of us to work on. I find myself jumping from one project to another too often.

  2. Dear Heidi,

    Thank you so much for your great article!

    I think that the 13 skills you describe have much to do with the golden rule, the ethics of reciprocity that our parents and grand-parents shared with their communities and passed on to their kids.

    Increased use of technology might have swept some of them away but they might well come back, sooner or later, I think!

    Have a great and happy Friday!



  3. Thanks Lucus! I didn’t think of the golden rule and reciprocity, but your are right.

    Several years back we had a nasty Christmas day ice storm. It knocked out all the power for many miles. We were lucky to get ours back in just a few days. Needless to say we weren’t watching TV, playing video games etc. It was amazingly quiet. No technology. We played board games, finished cooking our ham on the grill, while listening to transformers pop, and more tree branches snap. What surprised me was how much time we had in a day. Technology is great and a skill that the young can often teach their elders. But sometimes it also hinders building relationships in our own homes and neighborhoods, and can absorbs too much of our time. Ask my kids which Christmas was one of their favorites and it was the one without power.

    Merry Christmas Lucas!

  4. Thanks for the encouragement to do SOMETHING – and to include in that something many aspects of personal development: skills, attributes, & character – with an emphasis on character – and an encouragement to see the end value in this approach. I will endeavour to take this on.

  5. Thanks Miranda. 13 skills now gives us the ability to follow others on the site. Makes it easier to connect and share ideas, especially those with similar goals.

    If everyone would add your link/user name so we can find each other I’d appreciate it.

  6. Hello Heidi! Great blog post. I love 13Skills and hope your post will encourage more people to set skill goals in 2013! I feel in my bones that this is going to serve all of us well in the next decade. I’ll be checking back to see your progress in the coming year! =) Nancy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge