I know a lot of you are listeners to The Survival Podcast. As such I’m sure you may have heard about the new project Jack’s launching, his 13 in Thirteen skills challenge at 13Skills.com. For those of you who have not heard about this the basic premise is for people to learn/ master at least 13 new skills in the year 13. Of course it does not need to end with 2014 and really learning 13 new skills a year is a good number. Although I’ve been slow to sign up I knew when I first heard about this project I would be getting involved. To be honest I planed a personal version of something like this anyway this was just more concrete and has a sexy site to track your progress and brag with friends about. Let me tell you why I think this is a great idea, what I plan on learning this year and why you need to get your ass involved and learn a new skill or 13.
No Pain No Gain
The purpose of this site is not as a social bragging post. Although I think that is important and will explain why later. When you sign up it ask you to pick 13 skills. This is not meant for you to click thirteen skills you think you have mastered so that when your profile is completed you can check those off. Really whats the point of that. For one I’m sure you are lying if you think you have mastered even on simple skill to the point that you are the grand master and have no room for improvement. Check your ego at the door this is a place built for improving yourself. Pick skills you suck at, pick skills you know nothing about, pick the skills that you’ve always thought about trying. The skills I picked are mostly I either have virtually no knowledge of or am worthless at. Things that I am interested in and have just put on the back burner indefinitely. The few I picked that I’m not terrible in I decided are important enough to improve to a higher degree, i.e First Aid. Like great body building slogan of the 80′s says “No pain no gain”. Not to say I want to stitching yourself up like Dave Canterburry, but These skills will not be learned in a day. You will have to work at them. There will be days you don’t want to but if you work consistently throughout the year you will be a changed person in 2014. Changed for the better.
I will talk about a few of my goals in depth. Explain why I chose them and what they mean to me. I didn’t pick these skills willy nilly. Much thought went into and what came out are very personal choices. This is the list of all the skills I chose for 2013:
There were probably at least 13 more I wish I could have picked. I also chose not to pick skills that I already am working on. There is a skills for foreign language and I’m learning Japanese. I felt for this though that I wanted to pick new fresh skills. Many like lock picking and herbal remedies are ones that I have been interested in for a long time and have not even begun to learn anything. Others like foraging and gardening I have basically dabbled in but nothing serious. Two thought that stick out to me as the most personal and important are Hunting and teaching.
I grew up in the city with not exposure to guns or hunting most my life. I had a neighbor that hunted and saw some deer processing in my late teens but never really took an interest. Not to say I ever had a problem with it. I knew that food, meat, came from animals and accepted that. I even had respect for good hunters humanely taking their food. Being that I am very carnivorous I have wanted to learn how to hunt the last few years. I want the connection to the food I eat that you get from taking life from an animal. As a meat eater I want to test my skills as a hunter to provide the food I need to survive. I think the connection from supermarket to living animal has been destroyed to much of America. Without the grocery store to provide neatly packaged/ processed food how many people would know what to do. Could they kill to survive? Without having ever done it would the age old hunter gatherer instincts kick in or would they stave to death. I personally have no desire to chance that. I want to learn how to hunt. To successfully be able to take animals for food. I want to be able to shoot true and put them down without pain and suffering. I want to learn how to take lifeless corpse into delicious steak or stew. For many reasons this in a goal that I have put off for years. I would say to myself or I’ll go next year, I’ll take my Tennessee required Hunter Safety Course later. This is the last year I say that. I will go hunting this year and more than once. I will learn all i can this year, fill my freezer and reconnect with where food really comes from.
When I really think about it the desire to teach is the reason for starting Survivalpunk. I wanted to share the knowledge I have learned. Share my life story and lessons. I wanted to teach as many people as I could. So I jumped right in with both feet and started teaching. I don’t really have a structured teaching method. I am messy and absentminded and am not always sure I include enough details. Too many details? Basically I need to learn to teach more effectively. Also as part of teaching I am trying to build a bigger audience to teach an even larger audience. I want as many people as possible to learn from my mistakes, improve on my designs, and more to give me ideas. I want to build a community of teaching/ learners. So that we all become better.
Wasted Youth is a term I’ve heard thrown around a lot. I feel it’s not hopless though. The country might be anemic in the skills department. With many of my generation and the surrounding ones with either no real skills or useless ones. People not being able to do even simple skills. Don’t loose faith though. People are starting to realize we are collectively missing something. The hole inside all us us that Visa and MasterCard said to fill with junk. We are waking up to the truth that holes cannot be filled with ikea, Tv’s and Iphones. I’ve seen from being involved with the Maker community and attending the Primitive Skills Gathering Rivercane Rendezvous that there are some talented youth’s out there. I have seen older generations passing the torch onto a passionate youths. Yes there is a skills gap but the direction is changing. We are not there yet but many are taking a stand to reclaim the tradition of skills from being lost.
Psychiatrist have concluded that even when humans know they should do something they usually don’t. It’s the reasons diets fail all the time. There are some tools you can use to give yourself a better chances for success though. A few of the best tools: measuring success, competition and social bragging rights are very well implemented in the 13skills site. Firstly you can track you success on your goals. You can achieve mini goals on the paths the completing a skill. Tracking the progress keeps you accountable so you know you are either making progress or not. It’s my personal belief that humans can achieve anything as long as there is a competition. Want to get to the moon first? Better be in a race with those commies, can’t let them win. Competition is the #1 factor in success. You need to be trying to beat someone to the punch. On 13skills you can see other progress and with the social aspect you can comment. I would highly suggest having friends sign up or make some 13skills friends and compete with them. Trash talk them, tell them what you did today. Competition will turbo charge your skill acquisition. Lastly with the social sharing aspect you get bragging rights. I would say this is a vitally important tool on the site. I will be sharing even the tiniest of goals. Bragging about every little step you make towards your goals for bettering yourself. By bragging you might start a keeping up with the Jone’s of skills gathering. Oh no Jones just made his first herbal salve I better make one too. Turning a negative social trend into a positive one. Can’t let someone have more skills and be better at them than me.
Challenge Me! Who’s Next!
To start the bragging and competing off I challenge all of you! Get over to 13skills get signed up and start working on some goals. My account is still pending approval but the link to my profile there (unless the url changes after approval) is Here. I’m using the user name Survivalpunk. You don’t have to pick the same skills brag to me about anything and everything you do. Trust me I’ll brag right back at you. When all the bragging dust settles we will all emerge stronger, smarter and more skilled! So MANUP (or LADYUP) pick some skills, track them and BRAG!
Have you signed up? What are some skills your going to work on? What have you already worked on? Brag about something!
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