Build Actual Things With Your Actual Hands

August 8, 2019
Human Performance and Productivity

In today’s age, we can work around the clock, and while we might write books, build software, publish podcast episodes, and prepare presentations, at its core, all we are doing is moving 0s and 1s around — it’s all binary, it’s all just code.

It’s not real.

Recently, as you might have observed from my stories, I decided to get in touch with my primal roots and build an actual thing with my actual hands.

As a huge fan of boardsports, the actual thing in question was a skateboard.

The design was inspired by the Cobra Kai television series, but more so the way cool dojo the show takes its name from.

Building the board involved lots of small, incremental steps; picking out the parts and the design, stripping off the original paintwork, sanding down the board, laying a base coat of paint, printing out and cutting stencils, spraypainting designs onto the board and grip tape, laying down and cutting out the grip tape, installing the trucks, bearings and wheels, and touching up the board.

In all, the project took me five weekday evenings to complete, but it was incredibly engaging and rewarding. There was something…primal about it, as if I was reconnecting with my ancestors who made hunting tools out of stones.

I wasn’t checking my phone.

I wasn’t watching Netflix.

I was in total #flow, sometimes for several hours at a time, and it…felt…good.

And now, I have something that I can actually point to in the physical world, and say, “I built that”.

Not only that but having completed the project almost 24 hours ago, I’m still buzzing.

The dopamine hit that comes with learning and building actual things, from being in flow, from reveling in the journey and the destination, is an immensely satisfying one.

So if upon reflection, you can’t think of the last time you built an actual thing with your actual hands, find a project that interests you, disconnect from technology, and get to work.

Check out the gallery of how the board evolved on Instagram and below.

Steve Glaveski is the co-founder of Collective Campus, author of Employee to Entrepreneur and host of the Future Squared podcast. He’s a chronic autodidact, and he’s into everything from 80s metal and high-intensity workouts to attempting to surf and do standup comedy.

Human Performance and Productivity
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