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Learning that you don't know what you need to know...

As in any profession, to get better at it, you have to be someone who desires to learn every aspect of that profession. No one is born with knowledge. Although, in our youth we tend to think of our opinions and (limited) knowledge as a gift to be shared with others in a continuous stream to whoever.

I have had countless guys tell me before starting on a project that they knew how to do a certain job and even were able to skip around the terms and knowledge about it. But when it came to doing the actual job, their only real intention was to get at that check. Now I know that making money makes the world turn, but if I am only flying over a job to get the money, I'm not doing my profession it's rightful service.

Ever learning, we need to be people that know that we are limited in our knowledge. That perspective only comes with years of learning you don't know by going through glaring failures. No matter how much of an expert we become, we can and will always learn something. As a builder, I am constantly reading, watching, asking questions, & practicing to become better at my craft. I owe it to my customers, I owe it to myself.

Take the gate shown above. I am fairly knowledgeable around wood and have had my share of "wood projects" throughout the years. Some good, some not so good. This type of gate was a first but it was not the first attempt. This is actually the third attempt. It is a cypress and cedar combination with mortise and tenon joints. The first one was a disaster, the second was accidently broken, and now the finished project. (The metal garnishing and hinges were fashioned by one of our guys - a metal artisan.)

Before I started this project, there was research about it, reading and more reading. Then their were questions to ask of those who had done it before. Then it was time to practice what knowledge I had acquired. The next time I make this gate, I will do better and I will learn more. I'm not an expert yet. I've heard it said, "An expert is someone who has failed more than the average but hasn't ever given up."

But it all starts with knowing I don't know; a little humility and a lot of perseverance goes along way.

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