I haven’t had a haircut since January of 2012. I know, I know… why is this on the H2o Dreams blog? I would be wondering the same thing except for the fact that I’ve been complaining about not having a haircut to Chris for about six months. It’s not that I don’t want to cut my hair it’s just that I don’t want to pay for it.
This got me thinking: do you ever cut corners or put something off because you’re trying to avoid paying someone with the skill and expertise to do it better and faster? Sometimes this results in the most magical of DIY moments; heck, you may find a new hobby or skill just by forcing yourself to figure it out on your own rather than pay (and maybe overpay) somebody else to do it for you.
But sometimes you wind up with half your kitchen sink on the floor or really, really bad bangs… and you wish you would have called in the expert to begin with.
Are you following? You’ve got a problem. You need help. You know there is someone out there that has the skills, resources, and training to help you resolve this issue and maybe even show you how to prevent it or work through it on your own in the future. It’s not that you don’t want their help, it’s just that you don’t want to pay for it.
Look… I have no idea how to cut my own hair. I read some blogs, watched some YouTube videos, and seriously contemplated taking the scissors to my ends with only my tiny bathroom mirror to guide me. But in the back of my mind, I knew there was a strong possibility of still having to pay for someone who knows what they’re doing to fix what I had done and if I had sought their expertise to begin with, I wouldn’t have wound up with a haircut that mildly resembled that time I cut my own hair when I was three. The more things change, the more they stay the same…
This revelation, of course, made me think of kayak instruction. There is a multitude of resources out there for you! Free videos, buddies to guide you down the river and heck, your own resolve can get you a long way. We even help this cycle by making free educational material because we want you to be better and we want you to take ownership of your paddling in the process.
But I thought about the other side of the coin, too: the folks that come to us with nonexistent confidence, bad habits, and skewed perspective of their own abilities and place on the water. Sometimes those are the most incredible students with the most incredible transformations but I always find myself wondering why we didn’t get to them sooner. I think a large part of it is trying to do things on our own; doesn’t that make us feel strong and powerful and in control? Alas, we all know we cannot control the river.
I know this is subjective. Some people are quick learners and adaptive on the water; they’re the kind of folks that don’t need a lesson or a guidebook and maybe watch a video or two and they are on their way to Class V before most of us know the difference between a sprayskirt and a PFD.
I suppose I’m writing this out of reverence: reverence that sometimes you have to recognize that there are people that love what they do so much they want to share it and want to bestow something great upon you and make you a better person by equipping you with knowledge, not to keep you but to set you free. Instruction might not be as much about technical skills as it is the ownership and interpretation of those skills. I realize every time I am along for a lesson, every time I ask a question that I am learning things I could not have discovered on my own or without serious blows to my confidence and maybe even to my health and safety. I go out, put this information to the test, form my own opinion, and come back with my results.
As a community, I don’t think we can be above the people who have made it their livelihoods to make us better, safer, and more connected to something that we all love. And from time to time, maybe we should ask for help and seek expertise as it might mean the difference between a clean boof and a really bad haircut.