Building your way to fulfillment

As I may have mentioned in the past, about two years ago I was able to accomplish a long time goal of mine which was designing and building my own home. The actual build of the home only took about 3 months (minus the finishing touches), but the whole process of designing, permits and the build took approximately 6 months. During those months, I was away from my family for the most part. We had moved all of our things into storage and my wife and kids had moved into her parents house temporarily so that I could focus on getting the house built. I stayed in an RV out in the back yard, so I could be close and get as much work done as possible.

Those months of living in the RV, aside from being cold and cramped, were the worst months I had ever experienced…but I would not change that for anything, and I would do it all again in a heartbeat. The stress of ensuring that I had enough money to get the job done, organizing work that needed to be done, physically exhausting 100% of my energy every day, and not seeing my family as much as usual, took a massive toll on my body and mind. Towards the end, I would cry most nights, I had lost just about 30 lbs, and I didn’t have much heat in the RV, which some nights would be well below freezing. There was no running water so I would have to drive about 15 Km to shower, and if I needed to use the washroom, there was an out house around back.

Why, you ask, would I be so inclined to go through this whole process again?? Well besides the financial aspect of being able to save myself tens of thousands of dollars by doing as much of the work as I possibly could, the one word answer is; accomplishment

Almost every night before I go to bed, and every morning when I wake, I lay in my bed looking the home that I had designed, and litterally put large amounts of blood, sweat and tears into. I am able to say that “I’ built this (with help from many family members who I am very great full for). I have reached this sense of accomplishment that has lasted years so far and doesn’t look to be fading anytime soon. When was the last thing that you have done, besides maybe the family you have made, that you are proud of and admire every single day? I don’t ask this question to brag that I have this and you don’t; Im asking this question because I want to encourage every single person who might come across this to take on the responsibility of building something in their life that will make a lasting impression. Whether it is a physical project or even a business that you care immensely about. Take some time to create something that will last, that you can step away from and admire it.

There was a study done that had people build certain projects like a bird house or putting together ikea furniture, and then those same people we asked to put a price on that object. Other people who did not participate of putting the project together we also asked to put a price on the objects. The second price was always valued lower than by those who put in the effort to actually put the projects together. This was called the “Ikea effect”. I have often felt this sense of accomplishment after repairing the heating or air conditioning system in a customers home which has help me push through many years of working in the trade.

I know that not everyone may be capable or knowledgable enough to be able to build their own house, but I urge everyone to at least give the process a try so that you too can enjoy the pride that I feel every day when I look around the place I spend a large portion of my time. If you are affraid to fail, try it with a shed, or garage, but get a bit dirty, and sweaty. Put some effort into what you really love because you won’t ever regret it no matter how hard it ends up being.



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