A few months back, I decided to start a vegetable garden. I have fond memories of gardening with my folks when I was a young boy, and I figured a garden would be a good outlet from my day to day life in tech.

Looking up and down the aisles at Lowes and not finding a raised garden bed that met my needs, I inquired with a staff member:

“Sorry, we don’t carry anything like that.”

“Darn. Ok, I’ll try another store then,” I sighed with resignation.

“You know,” he said to me, “it’s just wood.”

It took me a moment to realize how liberating this statement was. To him, woodworking held no mystery at all – it was just a thing you did. If he wanted a garden bed, there’d be no question in his mind that he’d make it himself. Why spend more on something suboptimal when you can build exactly what you want?

So I did exactly that, and we now have a wonderful, custom-built gardening bed growing some very tasty kale.


Most people let mystery stop them

We resign to not knowing how to change the oil in our car, replace a busted light switch, or develop that app idea into a real app. “You need to be an expert to do that”, we say. Thinking back to the times I’ve challenged mystery and learned to do something myself, I recall it giving me great satisfaction. And once demystified, those tasks that seemed impossible before now seem trivial.

Did you know that there are over 110K videos on youtube about replacing a light switch? Or that Hack Reactor claims 99% job placement rate after graduating their 12-week developer program? The resources you need to overcome the mysteries around you are plentiful.

Challenge mystery

When you take it upon yourself to learn how to do something, you’ve not only become more self-reliant, but you’ve expanded your mind to new possibilities. If I had settled for a pre-built planter box, I wouldn’t have been able to construct exactly the kind of box I wanted, nor improve the design along the way to fit my needs. Now the next time I want to construct something out of wood, I have the confidence to know that I can figure it out.

The best part? The more you challenge the mysteries in your life, the better you’ll get at it.

What will you demystify?

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