Learning to Work Outside Your Comfort Zone

laptop in need of repair, sick laptop computer

Getting back to basics is a good thing, and learning to work outside your comfort zone almost certainly is part of such a lifestyle. Skills are necessary in order to live well as well as to save time and money. Learning new skills almost always takes you outside your comfort zone. Keep in mind, however, that this is good for you. Any kind of personal growth will take you out of your comfort zone. Let’s think about some strategies for learning and doing new things. My examples are going to be mainly about learning to fix things. But the principles are the same for any new skill.

Fixing things is not naturally my forte, but I consider it an important skill.

Recently, Jerreth and I were sitting in our recliners, working on this website and about to wrap things up for the day. I noticed that my laptop did not close properly, and upon closer inspection, I found that one of its hinges had snapped. I was horrified, as I do all kinds of tasks with my laptop. We had no immediate plans to purchase another and Christmas was coming, not the time of year to shell out several hundred dollars extra. It would be an understatement to say that I was troubled, as we went to bed that night. This brings us to the first principle I’d like to share.

When learning to work outside your comfort zone stay calm and think things through.

I was tempted to simply order another laptop as I dreaded several weeks without my computer for studies and writing, but might there be a better solution? As I was drifting off to sleep, I remembered that I did have the exact same make and model in my “junk pile,” a laptop whose motherboard or processor had burned out. But the chassis was intact. What about swapping out the innards of that computer with the innards of my computer? The next day I investigated.

Youtube is your friend.

 I found a video which showed how to do this task with the exact model of laptop I wanted to fix. Let me say that a Youtube video may not be enough to actually learn such a thing. It’s a help. It was a BIG help. But most Youtube videos are lacking in some detail.

If you anticipate needing a new skill, study it proactively.

Though I have yet to finish it, I had been taking an online course on computer repair. I had, as yet, very little hands on experience with repairing a laptop with this kind of problem. Still, I had become familiar with certain principles and practices in computer repair. Because of this the Youtube video not only made sense, it was usable for the task at hand.

Here’s another principle:

When working outside your comfort zone, it’s a good thing to have a friend who knows more than you.

I have a number of friends who know more about computer repair than do I. Though I didn’t call anyone, I had the confidence that I could. This helped give me the confidence to launch out into this new endeavor.

Homesteading Edu’s purpose is to help people learn new skills for a better life.

When working on something new and challenging, it’s a good thing to avoid high risk.

When I repaired  my laptop I risked only about two weeks of laptop use. If I hadn’t tried, I might have limped by while waiting for the new one, but I’d have had to BUY a new one. What was there to lose trying? Just some time and inconvenience. Another example might be learning how to cook. Start out with inexpensive ingredients and utensils. Don’t spend thousands on equipment and hundreds on ingredients.

Website with articles on fixing different things: How to Fix Your Stuff

When working outside your comfort zone, have an exit plan… just in case.

the mechanic's deep and inscrutable helper“the mechanic’s deep and inscrutable helper” by Robert Couse-Baker is licensed under CC BY 2.0

I had a plan for replacing my laptop, if I failed at repair. This relieved much pressure during the repair process. On a similar vein, I just recently replaced a door handle on my pickup truck, something entirely new for me. Not only did I have a friend who might bail me out, if necessary. I chose to do the work during a couple days off from work. I didn’t have a time crunch and I knew I could go to a shop, if all else failed. Little would be lost for having tried.

Can you think of any other tips for learning new skills? We love to hear them!


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