Don’t Learn the Hard Way: LEARN
By Myron Ferguson

Finally this year NYS will implement a new energy code. Many of the builders I have been talking to have a lot of anxiety about this and to be honest so did I.  In order for myself to be updated on the NYS Code I just purchased of the IECC 2015 for Energy Conservation compliance and I contacted the Division of Building Standards and Codes and asked for info on any modifications NYS is making to the code. Now I have the information I need and I don’t anticipate making any mistakes.

The simple saying: LEARN! I heard this from Gary Katz at the Katz Roadshow™, really struck me as good saying. How many times have you heard someone brag that they learned everything the hard way, which in my opinion means that they made mistakes and learned from them. I guess that as long as they learned from the mistake that would be considered a good thing. But wouldn’t it be great to just learn something, implement it, and prosper from it right from the start? You know, skip the mistakes.

Years ago when my wife and I had three children all under the age of 7 and for some reason we also decided to take care of foster children when local foster parents had to go away for any reason. Well in order to qualify we had to take some classes. I couldn’t believe how informative the classes were. We learned a lot of really helpful things and we found ourselves saying how great it would have been to have had this information when we were starting to have children. We had advice from our parents but mostly guessed, experimented, and learned the hard way. I think every parent should have to take some basic classes before the baby is born.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking you already know or you are smarter than the rest. Having this attitude just closes the door to learning. Things are always evolving so it makes sense to keep the door open. Change is never easy, but fighting just might be hindering you.

Learning is much easier these days. We can get on our computers or phones to get instant answers. And there seems to be a YouTube video on every topic nowadays. Most construction trade shows not only offer attendees a chance to learn about products and tools but also offer a variety of classes by industry experts, many who have learned the hard way and now offer advice that allows you to skip over many of the mistakes.

What’s to learn?

Not only building skills but what about estimating so that you can actually turn a profit. Or learning how to be organized and efficient while working. Just learning how to prioritize tasks on the job can increase profits drastically usually without any costs. I know that many building contractors got into the business because they enjoy the physical work but make many mistakes on the financial end.

When building it is almost like putting together a living thing, one thing effects the other, one trade effects the next, change one thing and that can change how a building performs. It is complicated and often times a lot of money is involved so learning from mistakes is not really a good plan for anyone involved in the process.

Save time and effort and don’t find yourself saying I wish I had known that. LEARN!!

2 thoughts on “LEARN

  1. a year ago, my husband suddenly died of a stroke. He was either a genius or pretty close to and a contractor who delighted in solving problems by thinking outside the box. We had planned to fix the original plaster walls/ceilings in our house: some plaster was delaminating from the firring strips behind.
    I plan to go ahead with repairs: I bought “Wally’s plaster wall Repairs kit” and will try to make it work for me after taxes are done.
    Have you any advice for this Senior widow who is pretty handy and independent (tho still sad)?
    BTW, I really enjoyed reading your JLC article and your online blogs. I love that you added a fourth kid to your three: bravo!

    • Hi Anna, Actual plaster products can be difficult to work with, at least compared to joint compounds. I would stick with joint compound and for larger surfaces use the FibaFuse wall reinforcement I mentioned in the article.
      All the best,

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