Identity Crisis Or Self Improvement

Everyone has characteristics that make us unique. “He’s the smart one. He’s the funny one. He’s the patient one. He’s the ambitious one.” The list is as long as there are personalities. Over the years, I’ve learned to identify with some of my characteristics. Perhaps it was a way to deal with my flaws? Perhaps it was a big excuse to not improve a weakness? Was it a self-fulfilling prophecy at work? What can one do if they wanted to break type? This is one of my attempts to improve on a lifelong weakness.

One Small Task For Man

I’m a little embarrassed to say, but if you want to improve yourself, you have to come to grips with said weakness, acknowledge it, accept it, and eventually not be embarrassed by it. My weakness is that I’m deathly afraid of hanging pictures on a wall. You heard right, hanging pictures. How can that be? Well, if you’ve been following along, I’m not very handy. Never was, never will be. But through the years, I’ve jokingly acknowledged this fact and even gave myself a nickname straight out of Dick Tracy’s gang. Friends and relatives knew me as Fingers Inspire. It was a great icebreaker, conversation piece, and overall good time. But I now finally realize that it was a crutch and a very big excuse to NOT do anything handy. I thought I was being clever. I knew my limitations and strengths. I was going through the game of life avoiding spots where the odds were stacked against me. But then it hit me, why not challenge myself to correct my weaknesses? I’m sure I’ll never be as handy as Bob Villa, but I was getting tired of my Fingers Inspire act.

One Giant Leap For Buck Inspire

Ok, where was I? Oh yes, why of all things, hanging pictures? Besides being bad with my hands, I was also notoriously wishy-washy. When you hang something on a wall, there are many variables in play. You need to decide where to place the item on the wall, horizontally, vertically, and check if it is leveled. You also need to bust out the hammer and nails. I actually had nightmarish visions of me hitting my thumb a few times like in sitcoms. “Does it look straight? Does it really look straight?” I also had visions of tons of holes in the walls due to bad placement and having to redo it. These images were reinforced because my friends and family bought into my Fingers Inspire persona as well. In my Superman series, I am also naturally passive so I just went along with the fun and games, until now. I wanted to take on one of my biggest fears head on. I was inspired by Money Cone’s How to hang objects from your wall without drilling holes.

Knowledge Is Power

After learning about Hercules Hooks, I thought I was headed in the right direction; next stop, Home Depot. I looked for Hercules Hooks, but to no avail. I found some 20 lb. Ook picture hangers. It looked pretty simple to install and I felt my fear slowly disappearing.

Take Action

I wanted to take it slow so I worked on an 8×10 picture frame first. This only required one hook. It was harder than it looked. I managed to nail the hook in without issue, but hanging the frame was another story. Since the hook only protrudes a fraction of an inch, the frame is very close to the wall. I then had to put my head against the wall and align the frame’s hook with the hook I just nailed. After hooking the frame, I needed to level it off, one down, one to go. The next frame was more than double the first one so I needed two hooks. I held the frame up to where I wanted it on the wall. I marked off the bottom and measured up to the two hooks on the back of the frame. I also measured the space between the two hooks and penciled in where to strike my nails. I placed my head against the wall and slowly hooked in the left side. I needed a few swipes to hook the right side. I stepped back, breathed a sigh of relief. The left side was slightly higher than the right. Oh no, the nightmare begins.

See It Through

I grudgingly took down the frame. Pulled out the nail and hook on the right side and eyeballed it higher a fraction of an inch. Thankfully the nail pulled out very smoothly, but now I have an extra hole. My hook did cover it so it did lessen the sting. Since I had my process down, I quickly got the frame back up. I took a step back and now the right side was a fraction of an inch higher. Unbelievable. I took a break. This can’t be happening. My nightmare really is coming true. Will I be nailing holes all day? Will I make my wall look like Swiss cheese? I actually tried to convince myself, it wasn’t that bad. Maybe my wife won’t notice?

Final Thoughts

Of course she noticed! After I gave up convincing her it wasn’t that bad, she suggested I measure down from the top of the wall. My second attempt was a little rushed and I was careless. I shouldn’t be surprised as that’s what happens! My third and final attempt I was diligent with my measurements and even whipped out a level. No matter how small your task, make sure you use all the tools you have at your disposal. The second frame does look spectacular in its final resting place. I need to get rid of my bad habit of accepting a less than perfect outcome rather than go through one or possibly more rounds of work. If you have some old bad habits that have followed you all your life, you do have the ability to let them go. Acknowledge that this habit helped shape your identity. You have clung to it as a way to not deal with your weakness. However, starting from today, you no longer need this less than ideal identity. Drop your old mindset and take action to work through your bad habit. Like I said, I won’t be confused for a handy man, but at least I can say goodbye to Fingers Inspire.

Stay Inspired!

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14 Responses

  1. krantcents says:

    As another “unhandy” guy, I would never attempt to hang pictures without a spotter (my wife)! You may have put yourself in an impossible situation. My identity is safe, I am good with numbers (money) and a few other things which may be considered superficial. I am usually the guy in the group who gets the mission impossible because I succeed where maybe others won’t. BTW, it does not hurt my identity at all to call a professional.

    • Buck Inspire says:

      Good point about a spotter. I wanted to surprise her, but it did put me in a bind. You sound very comfortable in your skin. I’m trying to get there. Slowly, but surely. I know who to call if I run into Mission Impossible. I don’t have issues calling for professional help, but in this case, I wanted to take it on myself!

  2. Way to go, dude. We all have our weakness. A real man is one who can admit them and move on! Great post.

  3. Untemplater says:

    Congrats on taking the first steps to squash your fears! I have mis hammered many a nail in my day and banged my thumb on more than one occasion but both the walls, tools, and I survived. 🙂

    I’ve never used hercules hooks. I’m a plain hammer and nail kinda gal. What I like to do is hammer nails for pictures into the wall at an angle. That makes it easier to adjust the leveling of the picture and can also help hang it more flush to the wall. -Sydney

  4. As a well-versed spotter/last minute substitute for an ‘unhandy’ boyfriend and I commend you for not only giving it a good shot but trying to surprise your significant other as well!

    • Buck Inspire says:

      Thanks! Always trying to figure what is the better choice. Surprise the significant other with some mistakes or have her spot, but the result wouldn’t be a surprise and with less mistakes.

  5. MoneyCone says:

    You scared of hanging pictures on your wall? We both have something in common Buck!

    The best part is the more you do this, the better you get at it. I’m sure the next time you’ll make fewer mistakes.

    Glad it worked out without too many holes in the wall (my greatest fear!) Buck!

    • Buck Inspire says:

      Haha, I actually got my inspiration from your Hercules Hooks post awhile back. Thanks for starting me on my path. Death, public speaking, and hanging pictures! Who knew?

  6. 101 Centavos says:

    As a swiss-cheeser myself, I can definitely sympathize. I’ve found that a Black & Decker laser level has paid handsome returns in nicely aligned frames and curtain hooks.

  7. Wow, what an ordeal. 🙂
    I have a bunch of holes on my walls too. As long as they are behind the frames, no big deal.

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