You have probably not yet thought about this: how can an academic job be compared with an artisanal job?
I can tell you from my own experience that there are many similarities between my academic job as a patent attorney and my former artisanal jobs, such as a motorbike repair mechanic, lipstick machine prototype maker, or production technician in the construction elements industry.
This is why I like to watch Youtube videos of people who are making stuff.
The Essential Craftsman: Scott Wadsworth
One of my favorite Youtube channels is The Essential Craftsman (click here), which is run by Scott Wadsworth.
Scott has my full respect. After high school, he decided to start working instead of studying at university. He has been into logging, saw milling, guiding elk hunters, production framing, commercial concrete, steel fabrication, blacksmithing, and all sorts of residential carpentry and contracting. He wrote a book and he leaves a big legacy. You can see from his videos that he has rich experience in making and repairing stuff, and in life wisdom.
And then I ran into his Youtube video about adults taking responsibility (click here). The video is only less than 8 minutes long and it is worth watching.
I have done a transcript from the video and here comes Scott Wadsworth’s insight into becoming an adult, by taking responsibility.
When and How Young People Become Seen As Adults
This is what Scott says about young people becoming seen as adults: the first step to becoming an adult is receiving the insight that nobody else is responsible for your welfare.
Here is his own experience:
There is a moment that really needs to happen for every person. And that moment usually happens sometime between the ages of. I don’t know, pick a number 14 and 24 usually, and hopefully around the age of 17 or 18, when all of a sudden a light bulb goes off in your head and you think: “wait a minute, nobody else is responsible for my welfare.”
This is the “self-reliance” step in Scott’s analysis. He did not speak about the pain that is involved in that mental step, but I can guarantee that there is some frustration necessary for making that discovery in your own life.
In many of us, that leads to the stage of “acceptance”. Others not.
Here is what Scott says about this:
Now, before I dive into this a little bit further, talking about self reliance and a sense of responsibility and not making the mistake of pinning your welfare on someone else’s promise or perceived obligation. Let me just say that we’ve talked about this before on this channel sort of obliquely, you know, self reliance, and we’re going to talk about it again because it’s a subject that deserves a lot of conversation. But today I just want to talk for a short period of time about that.
The pitfall that it is to expect that just because somebody is taking care of us from birth to age 12 and just because guidance counselors and mentors and doctors and hopefully parents and just a large lineup of people seem to be poised to take care of us and provide for our needs while we’re teenagers and sometimes into our twenties. It’s a competitive advantage to recognize early in life that if I am going to move forward in my life, it’s going to happen because of my effort.
I have reworded Scott’s statement a bit and now let the resulting truth melt in your mouth: “It is a life-time competitive advantage if you recognize early in your life that if you are going to move forward in your life, it is only going to happen because of your own effort.”
Here is a successful man with a huge legacy, and this is what Scott gives you in the last quarter of his own life: “It is a competitive advantage if you recognize early in your life …”
Here comes my own experience: I have been carefully listening to what older people were telling me for my entire life, and that listening alone gave me a huge advantage over my peers. But if an elder tells me that I can have “a lifetime competitive advantage” by doing something, then I am really all ears. Those moments are truly priceless!
It is not about Refusing to Become a Resource for Other People. It is about Becoming an Adult as Early as You Can
It is so easy to misapply that basic insight: I am responsible for myself. This is NOT about limiting yourself when it is about helping someone in need.
Now, before I say one more sentence, I want you to understand that I’m not talking about refusing to be a resource for other people because they have a responsibility for their welfare. Not only am I not talking about that, but I just want to throw down right now that that’s false. It’s a false notion.
What I’m talking about is that it is self-limiting and self-defeating to expect anybody else to take responsibility for me or for you. Because people can fail us. People can fail us because of accidents or death. People can fail us because they lied to us the first time or because their resources are exhausted or because they get the idea that, Wow, this young guy’s got an entitlement mentality and he’s just taking me for a ride and they shut it off. So for any number of reasons, someone that you had sort of pinned your hopes on could go away and you’re left having to rely on yourself like you should have to begin with.
Repeat that after me: “It is all about self-limiting and self-defeating to expect anybody else to take responsibility for me or for you.”
Start Early With Your Journey As An Adult
There is a positive feedback loop that results in more outcomes in your life when you are recognized as an adult. And that comes with a compounding effect. In other words, the earlier you start with being recognized as an adult there will be exponentially more outcomes, as compared with starting late.
Scott is strongly confirming this:
Another way to think about this is to become an adult as early as you can. And what that does is it makes you instantly appear of the other adults in your world, whether they are two years older or 20 years older, or 60 years older.
Adults relate to each other as adults. Can you see the advantage that it is as a young person to take responsibility for yourself and be able to engage with the potential mentors around you as an adult? They’re going to take you more seriously. They’re going to recognize you as someone that if they do and can invest in you, is not likely to waste that investment. So that is one of the worlds of opportunity that open up before us when we take responsibility for ourselves. Another opportunity that suddenly snaps into focus is the opportunity to compete with all those people. As soon as you realize that it’s a fully functional adult, autonomous, responsible for your own welfare and progression, you realize that, wait a minute, I am in competition with every other person like that, and you stop waiting around for that golden moment when someone with the resources to help you magically shows up and you start thinking about what can I do with the resources that I have to move towards the goals that I’m setting for myself. So as usual, I find myself speaking to men, right? But that’s just my own limitation, my own the way I talk, because this applies to everybody, everybody. The sooner you can come to the realization that there is a difference between being childish and being childlike.
Repeat after me: start early with your journey as an adult!
The Difference Between “Child-like” and “Childish”
You don´t need to change your personality to become an adult. People with a high degree of Openness are often awarded an “immature character” tag, but that is wrong. The contrary is often the case. Character traits such as spontaneity and creativity are often a result of a strong character that is characterized by a low degree of agreeableness and a low degree of orderliness, combined with high intelligence, and all these traits characterize outstanding artists and innovators. These are the people to look for when it is about solving difficult problems.
This is what Scott confirms in his short video:
Some of my favorite people have that spontaneity and that willingness to have fun that comes with being a child. But at the earliest possible moment, young people, you’ve got to flip the switch and realize: “wait a minute, if I’m going to have a fulfilling, beautiful, accomplished life, it’s going to be because of my efforts and because I take responsibility for that, not because the government does, not because my teachers do, not because my parents do, or my brother or my uncle or my granddad, but because I take responsibility for a fulfilling life.”
And in a sideline only, that child-likeness is also what the Bible promotes when it is about entering heaven. Many Bible verses talk about that personality, look at that one here:
At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.´
What Makes a Fulfilled Life
The Bible also makes the important distinction between being “child-like” when it comes to leading a good life and having an immature and naive character:
Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.
1 Cor 14,20
That verse speaks for itself.
And this is what Scott says about “fulfilled life”:
A big part of that path to a fulfilling life, according to Jordan Peterson – and I agree – is in taking responsibility. It’s picking up as heavy a load as you can, he says, and walking straight uphill with it. That’s what it means to be an adult. And the sooner all of us can not only accept that but find satisfaction in it, the sooner we will all be grown up in the best sense.
In very short words: grow up!
Having a Mentor Is Just As Important As Being a Mentor To Others
That is an important aspect of becoming an adult. Your responsibility does not end at your own doorstep. You have to reach out to be there for others.
This is what Scott brings to the table:
Now, I’ve said all this, but I don’t want you to think for a second that mentorship and real help is not a really important thing, because, from a certain perspective, there’s no such thing as a self-made man. I mean, we all come from somewhere and people cross our paths and can change our stars, right? And so I just have to acknowledge a few people and I’ve got to keep this pretty much to people who have passed away. Because if I start acknowledging all the people still living who have helped me, I’m going to hurt some feelings. I don’t want to do that. And my dad’s still alive. But I have to say, my folks were the primary mentors in my life. Grandparents. Some didn’t know him too well, but Kelly’s granddad, Sam Ball and Leo Folsom and Bob Hope and Anne and Mr. Hollinger and Neil Groves and Nelson Brinkerhoff. And a list. As long as your leg of people still living who have made a huge impact on my life. And part of being responsible for yourself means becoming a mentor for other people, for the good that it does, you and them. It’s a symbiotic relationship. You can’t reach out and lift another human without strengthening yourself. So it’s part of becoming an adult. Is taking responsibility for people around you and not expecting the people around you to take responsibility for yourself. It’s a delicate dance, but everything about being a fully functioning adult human is a delicate dance.
That is what I meant when I wrote above that Scott leaves a big legacy. He has surely been a great mentor for many.
And that is one of my favorite Scott´s taglines: “It’s a delicate dance, but everything about being a fully functioning adult human is a delicate dance.”
You are now ready for Scott’s video:
If you cannot watch the video on Youtube, you can watch it here: Responsibility