Well folks! I have decided that the time has come to determine what I am going to do with my life next year. Just to clear the air, I am not changing jobs or moving to another country, becoming a member of a dance company, or even purchasing a new car. I have joined the radical movement at 13Skills. Huh? What is this? Some sort of extremist group?
Well, I was blown away to see that such a group coming together and YES, the community is extreme. The 13Skills website is home to the 13 in 13 Challenge, a movement created and sponsored by The Survival Podcast which encourages individuals to develop new skills or improve upon existing skills in an effort revive and conserve the abilities of humans everywhere. There is not a limit to what skills can be learned and the number of skills to be worked on can be as few or as plentiful as one is willing to try to conquer. The premise behind the 13 in 13 Challenge though is to focus on thirteen skills in the year 2013.
So what makes 13Skills an extremist group? There are a number of things that I think the average person would find extreme. No one there cares about whether I am male or female. When I set up my user account I did not get asked if I was a Christian or a Muslim or what the color of my skin is. The entire site is designed to not only be family friendly but families are encouraged to improve their skills together. I am confident as you read this that the image coming together in your head is helping you to understand how extreme and outlandish such an idea is. What has the world come to that there is a place where people can be accepted for who they are and encouraged to better themselves, their family and the world around them?
I’ll tell you what this whole mess is about. Point blank, the 13 in 13 Challenge is about the fact that we all have things that we can learn or do better and now is the time to take on this challenge. We have US Olympic team uniforms this year that were made in China for crying out loud! This is the greatest country there ever was and we can keep it that way but it will have to be through intentional effort and 13Skills.com is one of the ways that those efforts will be accomplished.
Hop on over to 13Skills and check out The Prepared Ninja member profile. The thirteen skills that I have selected to either learn or make significant improvements on in the new year include:
1. Building A Solar Oven
2. Business Management
7. Beer Making
8. Food Storage
9. Family Fun
10. Curing/Smoking Meats
11. Container/Portable Gardening
13. Organizational Skills
Of these skills, the two that will be my primary focus will be fitness and organizational skills. This was a difficult decision for me to make because I feel that all of these skills are areas that I need to work on. The reason that I selected fitness is because I have let myself fall into a much poorer standard of health than I used to maintain. Without my health, all the skills in the world will not mean anything to me or my family. I will not have to recreate the wheel in this case but I will be making a significant effort to remained focused on continued and improved fitness throughout 2013. Organizational skills are important to integrate into my life because while I might not qualify to be on an episode of Hoarders, I can certainly stand to learn a great deal about getting organized. There are many things that I have held onto over the years that I do not need and then for future purchases I can focus on obtaining things that can serve multiple purposes. One example I can think of is instead of buying a guitar tuner that is going to cost money, take up space, and consume batteries, why not download a guitar tuning application on my iPhone that will accomplish the same purpose?
When I stop and think about these goals and what I will have to do to accomplish them, it basically equates to just less than one month to learn or improve on each skill. That is not unreasonable or difficult to accomplish at all, especially with a concentrated effort. Completing the thirteen skill goals that I have set for myself will not only make me a better prepper but will also improve my quality of life, bring my family closer together, and likely equate to a sizable financial savings over the course of my life.
One of the arguments that I have heard people make about setting a goal online is a lack of accountability built-in to the system. This group of individuals typically feel that without someone/something checking up on them to make sure that they are on track and meeting their goals, they will fail. There are a couple of ways that I could think of to make sure that accountability is maintained if you struggle to motivate yourself.
1. Start/Join A Meetup Group – There a thousands of different Meetup groups online that are in just about every community and meet for just about every different thing any person could imagine. Some of these Meetup groups are survival or preparedness focused groups. Joining or starting such a group could facilitate a way to be accountable to one another in learning new skills.
2. Get A Sponsor – No, not a 12 step program type of sponsor but the idea is kind of the same. Find a friend that is interested in the same type of skills that you are and make the commitment to tackle learning these skills together.
3. Add reminders to your online calendar, smart phone, or paper planner. – Set periodic reminders throughout the month or year to help keep you on track in meeting your goals.
4. Take A Class – Go to the local college and take a class to help you learn the skill you desire to master. Most colleges have lifelong learner programs that allow anyone to take individual classes. Besides, it is a lot easier to be accountable to learning your new skill if you are being graded on it!
5. Use The Forum – Since 13Skills is sponsored by The Survival Podcast (TSP), the forum at TSP is being utilized by members of the 13 in 13 Challenge to discuss their goals, progress, and whatever else comes to mind. This resource can not only be used to help stay accountable but also probably get some useful information in learning and perfecting the new skills that people have chosen to pursue in 2013.
The chance to become a member at 13Skills was not just about networking within the prepper community but creating a legacy. Our nation as a whole has slipped in our ability to do things for ourselves. My parents taught me how to do things like fix a sink or sew on a missing button but over the course of the last few generations in America, skills have begun to perish. The chance to learn new skills will allow me to not only pass on the skills I already know to my children but to add to the set of skills that they can pass on to their children.