Learning The Art Of Being Resourceful In Everyday Life
Born and raised on a beautiful farm in New Zealand – definitely a bit off the beaten path – I was lucky enough to learn a lot about resourcefulness and resiliency pretty much from the moment I was given life.
The life lessons that I learned on the farm have helped to shape and mould me, those lessons have helped me grow into the man I am today, and have helped to act as my North Star – showing me the sometimes narrow path to success in the most trying of times.
My name is Shane Bird, and I’ve been fortunate enough to use these life lessons – and my training in neurology – to help those in Australia and New Zealand (as well as folks all over the world.) To:
- Embrace their inner resourcefulness
- Create their own resiliency
- Find their purpose
- Lead the kind of successful lives they know they were destined to.
Below I want to touch on just a handful of the most important lessons that I learned, some of them the hard way.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to take something from the stories, apply it to your own life, and find new ways over – or through – the obstacles that are holding you back.
We live in the most prosperous and peaceful time in human history. We also live in the most hectic, fast-moving, and turbulent time in human history. It isn’t hard to feel overwhelmed, outnumbered, and anything but successful.
Resourcefulness and resiliency will ALWAYS carry you through.
Let’s dig right in!
Small Hinges Swing Big Doors
I remember learning about leverage when I was really young, even though I had no idea that I was harnessing one of the most powerful forces in the universe at that point in time.
You see, down on the farm, we had this old truck with a set of tyres that still had a little life in them – but not much.
Every now and again, one of the tyres would start to run low for a bunch of different reasons (though finding a puncture was always impossible). You run over to the air compressor, pump in a bunch of air to bring the tyres up to pressure and get on with whatever you are up to.
Well, one day I noticed that the tyres were running a little low and on the way to the compressor I must’ve hit a rock (we are down on the farm, remember) and I popped the driver side tyre almost straightaway.
I knew what I had done as soon as I heard the sound, slammed on the brakes, and popped out of the truck, knowing that I’d have to pull the tyre off and replace it with a spare.
Unfortunately, I was quite a ways away from the compressor, and the jack that should have been behind the front seat of the truck was missing.
So there I found myself, on hands and knees in the mud, and a real heap of trouble trying to figure out how exactly I was going to get this farm truck up in the air enough that I could pull the old tyre off and get the spare locked into place.
It didn’t take long for me to settle on a fence post that we had been getting ready to put back into place (replacing an older post that had rotted away). I figured if I could slide that post underneath the truck (right underneath the axle), I could use the rock as a fulcrum and pitch the truck up into the air enough to get a new tyre on.
Sure enough, that’s pretty much exactly how it went (with plenty of words not fit to print shared between me and the truck in the meantime), and after telling the story back in the house I heard something, never forget:
“Small hinges swing big doors, don’t they?”
In a time of crisis (that truck wasn’t going to move itself with a flat tyre) I didn’t panic but instead found a tiny piece of wood – in comparison – and used it to leverage up a big old farm truck so that I had enough space to do the work I needed to do and get myself back on down the road.
The most important piece of solving this puzzle was to make sure the end of the post that was doing the lifting was positioned perfectly so that it would lift all the truck that needed to be hoisted in one movement so then I could fix the whole problem with one technique.
The same can be said about life in general.
Even the heaviest of doors in our lives – our biggest obstacles, our biggest hangups, and our biggest fears – can be swung wide open it will only use a little bit of leverage in the right place to jump-start the process.
Look for those little hinges and those little levers in life, and you’ll have mastered most of resiliency and resourcefulness straightaway.
Living a Number 8 Wire Life
We had a stretch of wire fence down on the farm that had been destroyed in a particularly nasty storm, requiring a bit of mending to get it back up to better than brand-new condition.
I knew a little bit of number eight would do the trick (when doesn’t it, right) and set to my task.
As I started working my hands over the fence, running the wire this way and that it occurred to me that this tiny little piece of metal had the power to connect so many different parts of the fence to one another.
Through the number eight itself – and what a beautiful metaphor that is for our lives.
You see, oftentimes we think we have to make huge moves, major behavioral changes, and accomplish milestone achievements to change the trajectory of our lives.
In reality, though, none of us are going to be able to handle all this heavy lifting on our own and need to turn to our network for help – a network we can build with a bit of number eight mentality.
By strengthening ourselves with self-talk, with affirmations, and with the process I’ve pioneered to let go of our limiting beliefs, we can become that piece of number eight wire.
We can act as the conduit through which connections are made in our lives and tying everything together with our common thread.
We can create incredible relationships that wouldn’t have existed otherwise with this mentality, recognizing that it’s our self-talk, our perspective, and our attitude that acts as the number eight wire that binds our tribe together.
Find Your Leaks and Gum Them Up
The worst thing about leaks is that they start off so small and almost invisibly grow into a full-blown emergency.
You never notice the drip, drip, dripping until it’s too late, and by that time, you have another issue entirely on your hands that needs to be taken care of before you can get back to the source of the leak, to begin with.
The worst thing you can do with leaks (on the farm and in your life) is treat the symptoms rather than addressing the underlying condition.
Anybody can tuck a bucket underneath a leaky roof to catch the rainwater that slips through! But what happens when that bucket fills up and overflows? Then spilling all your problems, all your worries, all your fears and all your anxieties out along the way?
No, the best thing you can do is assess the symptoms ASAP and then dig deep to find the actual problem. Filling leaks at the source is the only way to get the drip to stop, and that’s a big part of my timeline therapy protocols.
You’ll no longer search for the symptoms but will instead hunt for the actual leak itself. And when you’ve plugged up the leak, you stopped the dripping completely – and all of the emergencies that would have been made inevitable later.
Of course, you might be dealing with a different kind of leak altogether like I discovered when I was working on my tractor.
This old tractor had all kinds of hoses and cables running all over it, hoses and cables that had hydraulic fluid in them that allowed the tractor to do its job – that provided all the power and the movement.
Well, one of those hoses sprung a leak as old tractors will, and even though it wasn’t more than a pinhole issue, the performance of the tractor was compromised significantly. When that fluid wasn’t running through the system, the way it needed to the tractor bucket wouldn’t go up and down, rendering it nearly useless.
The same can be said about our own hydraulic fluids – our energy levels, our mentality, and our attitude.
When we have a leak, and we aren’t feeling like our most powerful and confident selves, we aren’t operating at anywhere near peak efficiency or 100%. Just like my old tractor, we are compromised in obvious ways and it’s critical that we address that leak so that the system works the way it was intended.
In that situation, I used a stretch of garden hose instead of a hydraulic line (tapping into a bit of resiliency and resourcefulness, using what I had on hand even if it wasn’t a “perfect fit”). I was able to restore the tractor back to nearly brand-new condition.
Where are the garden hoses in your life that might not be an ideal or perfect fit for the situations you are contending with but will most definitely get you back in the arena.
When you have a large farm with fencing that runs as far as the eye can see (and then some), you’re inevitably going to have stretches of fence that haven’t gone tended to or mended in quite a while.
These are inevitably the stretches of fence that get tiny little holes in them to start, but because they go ignored and overlooked, those holes begin to expand, and before you know it, you have a jailbreak situation on your hands!
I remember having to run out to the paddock late one evening and work into the night to patch a section of fence that looked good enough just before – but only it looked that way because I wasn’t really paying attention.
If I had given it a closer eyeball, I would have noticed the hole that the sheep were working on, and I wouldn’t have had to spend time mending that fence and rounding up the two hundred sheep that had broken free before we knew what we were dealing with.
Truth be told, even just a dead log laid against that stretch of fence probably would have been enough to buy us a little bit of time, instead of working into the night and trying to rush the fence mend.
We would have been able to get our resources gathered and to attack the problem intelligently and strategically. We would have been able to pull out and replace all of the compromised stretches of the fence at once! Rather than just running a bit of number eight through the problem until later down the line.
Life’s funny when you look at it through the lens of resourcefulness and resiliency.
Sure, you’ll still bump up against some pretty real problems that you won’t be able to rig up a fix for in a hurry. But you’ll find that it’s a lot easier to get by when you’re on the lookout for solutions instead of problems. That really is what resourcefulness is all about!