Wednesday, 22 April 2009

How to become more self reliant and sustainable

by Marc from GardenDesk

Do you desire to be more self reliant, self sustainable, or more simple? How about being more frugal or more green? Do you wish you knew more about home making, keeping livestock or gardening? These would be wonderful Earth Day goals, but how do you achieve them?

A great way to improve in any of these areas is to try new things. Simple, but true.

Many times it is human nature to stay in our comfort zones. We get good at something and stick with that and only that. We rationalize away why we wouldn't be good at other things. I know that I am often guilty of this. I have become comfortable with organic vegetable gardening and that is what I write about here and on my blog. I have always wanted to have farm animals too but never thought I could. Well, now its time to stretch a little and try something new. We now have 17 baby chicks!

I know that may seem like a small thing to many of you, but we know almost nothing about raising chickens yet. My wife and I have been inspired by this co-op site, the bloggers on this site and other homestead bloggers enough to give raising animals a try. The chickens will be first and then we will be getting rabbits. We are raising worms too, but I don't know if that actually counts. If you want to know more about our chicks, I wrote about them on my GardenDesk site. The purpose of this post is not to highlight our chickens, but to encourage you to try something new this season too.

If you have trouble with new things, what can you do? I approach things in three simple steps.

Number one is Belief.

Denis Waitley once said this about personal achievement - "If you believe you can, you probably will. If you believe you can't, you most assuredly won't. Belief is the ignition switch that gets you off the launching pad." You must believe that you can learn the new thing and that you can master it in time. Luckily for me, my wife Renee is good in this area. She has complete belief that we will be able to raise chickens and rabbits.

Step two is Study.

You have to read and research about the topic you want to learn. If your goal has to do with any of the topics that I mentioned in the beginning of this post, then you are in the right place. Simple Green Frugal Co-Op is a great resource. So are the member blogs and many of the blogs of those who comment on these posts. In addition to reading online, I am a big fan of books. I absolutely love to read "how-to" books. I have been reading many books about chickens lately and listed my favorite four books on my chick post. I have been learning from them in the same way I have learned much of what I know about organic gardening from my 25 favorite gardening books. Reading about your new topic really helps you become comfortable with it and feeds your belief as well.

Step three is Action.

You have to be able to put what you've learned into action. Without the reading step you often don't know what to do, but without the action step your reading is useless. The famous Liane Cardes quote comes to mind here; "Continuous effort -- not strength or intelligence -- is the key to unlocking our potential."

Believe, Read, Act. Do these things and your new endeavor will be a joy to you. I am now moving into step three with our new chickens. What about you? What new thing or things would you like to try? Do you believe you can do it? Go for it!

Believe, read and act! Something to ponder on this good Earth Day.

Keep Growing!

- Marc