One of the smartest things a person can say is, “I don’t know how to do _____ and I’m going to call someone who does.”
It beats the crap out of saying, “I don’t know how to do _______ and I’m going to poke around for hours (or days) and end up with a final result that looks like it was done by someone who didn’t have a clue.”
We all have a sense of accomplishment when we manage to complete a task for which we have little or no skill, but doing so is a bit like winning the lottery or drawing a Royal Flush – the result is usually nothing more than dumb luck.
Here’s a (partial) list of things I know I should never attempt on my own:
- Yardwork (beyond weed pulling)
- Auto repair
- Hanging Christmas lights
- Checking for accuracy on my audiobook reading
- Doing my taxes
- Washing windows
- Trimming my trees
- Cutting my hair
- Trimming my dog’s nails
- Designing or updating my website
In addition to being grossly unqualified in each of these, I have found that paying an expert to do them actually saves me money because the oodles of time I would waste incompetently banging around can be invested in more productive pursuits, doing things I am actually quite skilled at.
The term used to describe this is the Cost of Lost Opportunity. The resources (time, money) you spend doing something inexpertly costs you not only the time or money you waste, but also costs you productivity in an area where you could (or should) have been playing to your strengths.
Best recent example for me is the incredibly smart thing I did when I admitted my inability to update my web site and hired someone to do it for me. Not only does the updated site look awesome (you’re on it right now), it took FAR less time than it would have if I’d not “called a guy” AND I was able to be productive in other areas while the work was being done for me.
Thanks to Craig Elkins for the fantastic job he did bringing my web site in the “mobile” age.