When I was 7 years old I got a guitar for Christmas. I took about 3 lessons and learned a couple of chords before it went into the closet never to be seen again. But that’s not right. I saw it often. I would pull it out and play around with it, decide it was too hard again and put it away. All the while wishing that I could play a guitar.
As I got older that desire stayed with me. I also became such a music lover that I used to think it was ludicrous that I didn’t know how to play an instrument. I desperately wanted to be in a band and write songs and have girls swoon over my guitar-playing awesomeness.
These were the conversations I had with myself while I was doing anything but learning how to play a damn guitar.
One day while listening to the solo at the end of November Rain I decided that I had had enough air guitar. It occurred to me that had I been learning and playing this whole time, I might be a pretty damn good guitar player by now instead of a kid who just wished he could play one. I got up, walked to the mall, and bought a book entitled How to Play the Guitar. I went home and pulled the old beater out of the closet and slowly taught myself how to play.
It was the best decision I ever made.
Most of the good things in my life are either a direct or an indirect result of me playing a guitar. My best friends are all people who I met through playing music. My entire career path over the past 12 years has been the result of meeting someone at an open mike night; someone who referred me to my current employer.
I can’t even imagine what my life might be if I hadn’t taken that first step.
Why am I telling you this?
Because we all have something we wish we could do that we have either given up on or haven’t gotten around to starting yet. Because it’s the end of the year and you are probably thinking of resolutions that you really want to keep but in the back of your mind know you probably won’t. Because, like me you probably waste lots of valuable time playing political scientist on the internet instead of doing the things you really want to do.
Because I meet people all the time who tell me they always wanted to play a guitar but just never got around to learning how and now feel that it’s too late.
“But Scarydad,” you say, “doing things is difficult and everyone I know is the same way- we always pledge to get in shape or learn to sew or something but then we get caught up in the day-to-day world and lose our focus, and besides, the internet is full of delightful distractions like boobs and funny cats! It’s so hard! What would you suggest?”
Well my beloved, I’m glad you asked!
THE 13 IN 13 CHALLENGE:
The website is called 13skills.com. Its founder, Jack Spirko, is one of my mentors and a pretty good all around guy. He explains that people used to know how to do things back in the day: things like gardening or canning food; sewing or playing musical instruments. But that our modern world has allowed a lot of those abilities to wither and die.
What our grandparents knew how to do, largely because people just knew how, is being lost to cheap and easy replacements, apathy, and, well, fear of trying. What used to be considered necessary life skills are now relegated to hobby and novelty.
Mr. Spirko, and I, and lots of other people would like to see that change.
I explained in my origin story why I began Scarydad. What I didn’t tell you is that I didn’t know anything about the functional aspect of websites- that I had no idea of where to start, what to do, or what I would do with one if I got it. And now here I am talking to you most days because I took the time to figure out how. And I think there are a lot of you who would love to do something similar but just don’t know where to start.
Well, the saying goes that the difference between a dream and a goal is a plan.
13skills.com is the website where you can choose what skill sets you want to learn or improve upon, set actionable goals, and share your successes with other like-minded individuals who will challenge you to achieve your goals.
I joined the site last week. You can look at my profile here.
As you can see, many of the skills I’ve chosen relate directly to the blog. The others are just skill sets I would like to improve. The two most critical goals I have set are Computer Skills and Writing.
I think the computer skills are obvious. I literally had none when I began this blog other than commanding 25 different ways to call someone a dumbass in an online discussion forum.
Now I have an active site with a (hopefully) growing audience that will expect great things in the future. I want to be that guy who creates a monster you all really love. No really. That’s why I asked you for a lab coat before. I really am working on creating monsters over here.
Writing. Now there’s something to talk about…
I’ve always dreamed of being a writer. When I was a little kid I would write stories and draw illustrations for them. I’ve always had a natural knack for the craft and because of that I always just took it for granted that I was good and that somehow and someday I would be a famous writer, possibly of horror novels. Or fantasy. Fantasy’s good.
But damn if responding to emails is about all the writing that is required of me on a daily basis. I haven’t written a cohesive story since, well, a long time ago. Strange how not making something to sell and not selling anything go hand in hand.
So, I plan to remedy that. I plan to write for Scarydad as much as I can and to submit content to other blogs and sites to get my name out there. It sure would be nice to do Scarydad full time one day. But I have to get better and to get better I’m going to have to work.
Okay, well, that’s just about it. Go to 13skills.com and start building your profile. Try to choose skills and to set goals that will challenge you. This is a support community full of people who are pushing themselves to improve their lives; this isn’t a place to brag about what you can already do. And even if you can already do it, I guarantee you there’s at least one person in the world who can do it better than you. So go do something to challenge yourself. Do that thing you always wanted to do. Do that thing everyone always told you you couldn’t do. Do something you can really be proud of in 2013.
And always remember that your Scarydad loves you and wants you to be happy.