Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Book Skills vs Life Skills

Just thought I would give you my 2 cents view about book skills compared to life skills. Using a machine at work that I have not used in a long time got me thinking about just reading books to gather information about old and new skills vs actually putting those skills to work in our daily lives.
I did my usual routine in the morning of waking up to the alarm, lay in bed for about 45 minutes, wake the wife up and rush off to work. I get to work and do my usual routine of cleaning the office and deliver material to job sites. I also have to cut and thread some pipe which is the reason I am writing this article.
I gather the pipe needed and cut it to the lengths needed with a portable band saw. I then get ready to use the pipe threading machine and noticed that the thread cutting die on the machine is not the one i need.
I found the correct thread cutting die to use but this is where I had a problem. I forgot how to change out the dies. I asked my boss to come help when he got a chance but by the time he got ready to help I had figured out how to change the dies. I grabbed a pipe and put it in the machine and started threading it. I got 3 done and the oiling gun used to apply cutting oil to the pipe to keep it cool stopped working. I then had to get my boss to help fix this.
While he was fixing the oiling gun i used a squirt bottle of oil to thread a few more pipes. He finally got the oiling gun fixed and I finished threading the rest of the pipes. This ended up taking most of the day as I had a lot of them to do.
Now that I have said all of this you may be thinking what does this have to do with the title of this post. Well I had to get my boss to help me because I forgot how to do a couple of things because I had not used that machine in a long time.
What I am saying with all of this is no matter how much information or what skills you gather from books, the internet or just talking to someone, you have to constantly put that information or skills to use in your daily lives or you may not know what to do when you really need a particular skill or piece of information. Book skills do you no good until you put that information to continuous use in your daily lives. Just like a muscle, if you don't use it, the muscle will atrophy. With skills if you don't use them you will forget them usually at the worst possible moment.


  1. Agreed. Learn by doing. I try and make it a point to do a few new things each week. Sometimes I feel like I spend more time reading about things than actually doing them.

  2. I've learned the hard way, more times than I would like to admit, that simple "head-knowledge" gleaned from books will NEVER be sufficient by itself. I don't care what the skill is, it must actually be put to use and PRACTICED. I can tell you all about how to do a lot of things, and even sketch illustrations, because I've read so much, but if I was forced to actually DO some of them, I'd be in a world of trouble.