I’m going to write something that may get me branded as a hypocrite. Being afraid of hypocrisy as a writer or leader is just a recipe for never growing or evolving. I am constantly trying to improve myself and the way I look at the world. Believe it or not, Younger Sam did not have all the answers. And thus, sometimes Now Sam has to look like a bit of a hypocrite because of it.
One of the most popular articles I’ve written on this blog was published on January 1st of this year. It was about my decision to delete my Facebook account. Since that time I’ve been living Facebook-less in the land of Mr. Zuckerberg. I’ve gotten more comments from people regarding my lack of Facebook than I have about any of the other “weird” things I’ve done like become a vegetarian, do digital fasts, live as a minimalist, etc.
I won’t rehash all of my reasons for deleting my Facebook account because you can very easily read the articlehere. I’ve enjoyed my time without Facebook, I really have. I’ve connected with people, I’ve eliminated a distraction (albeit, it was always a minor one for me) and shown the world that it is possible to function without a Facebook account.
But something has been bothering me.
I had a hockey coach that used to love telling us, “It’s not the tools, it’s the carpenter,” (And evidently I've written about this particular saying before). Every time we skated off the ice and blamed our stick or any piece of equipment for an errant pass or a mistake, he was always quick to whip out this phrase. Young hockey players love to talk about the newest stick that will make us all all-stars or the brand new skates that will let us skate like the wind. Whenever Coach overheard us he’d always say, “It’s not the tools, it’s the carpenter.” Yeah, okay Coach, now watch me snipe with my new stick.
“It’s not the tools, it’s the carpenter.”
I can’t help but feel that deleting my Facebook account is focusing on the tools at the expense of the carpenter. A good carpenter can use all of his tools efficiently and precisely for their purpose. A good carpenter doesn’t care about the tools that he uses because he knows his skill is what sets him apart. I’ve been a shitty carpenter recently. It’s like I’ve refused to take the screwdriver out of my toolbox because I’m “not very good at it.”
Facebook is a tool that has no inherent value until somebody gives it value. A shovel just laying on the ground doesn’t do a damn thing until somebody picks it up and starts using it for what it’s made to do. If they’re good at using a shovel, if they have the proper technique, then they’ll have an awesome hole in no time (and who doesn’t love digging holes?) If they suck at using the shovel, the logical thing to do is to learn how to use it better. You don’t see many people foregoing all future use of shovels because they aren’t very good at shovels right now.
I used to suck at Facebook. I might still suck at Facebook. But deleting my Facebook account is like refusing to use a shovel because I don’t understand how to use it.
I’d much rather focus on improving my own skills, my own carpentry, then winnowing down my toolbox.
So I guess that means I’m reopening my Facebook account. I’ve got some plans about how to use it better. I’m sure it will be a learning process. But I’m finally taking my coach’s advice to heart, I may not be the greatest at using Facebook well but I’m not going to let that keep me from being a better carpenter.