Put All Your Eggs in One Basket: The Case for Taking on One Self-Reliance Skill at a Time

Put all your eggs in one basket instead of juggling too many baskets, by giving your dedication to one new self-reliance skill at a time.

Slow and steady wins the race when taking on new self-reliance projects. It’s easy to take too many projects on and struggle to juggle them all while shouldering the learning curve of new experience. It’s important to tread the waters lightly. For many who are following along, it will be so easy to see the dollars you’ve saved by changing your consumer habits and immediately want to spread that saved wealth across many projects. We want so badly to have a little of everything because we feel like time is running out as we watch the news.

With that being said, yes the news and state of our society merits the concern and the urgency. This is the main driving force for so many that decide they need to secure as much self-sufficiency in their daily lives as much as possible. Fiscal instability is on the rise, and you may feel like the cost of the things you will need to start projects means waiting is going to put them out of reach. Things are concerning and yes the urgency has merit. However there is a system for success that is nearly foolproof for those willing to trust and take these projects on singularly.

Given these consideration, why on earth should we not jump right in and secure as much security as we can, as soon as we can? I offer five basic reasons for why going slow increases our rate of success and, in turn, helps us move on to those other projects.

Self-Sufficiency Requires Full Focus

Have you ever been cooking and got a phone call or other distraction that took your attention away just long enough that you overcooked pasta, burnt the biscuits, or otherwise made a mistake that wouldn’t have happened if you had given it your undivided attention? That along with many other instances are unavoidable. Life has a way of dropping the unexpected in your life, causing distraction, lack of focus or simply delaying whatever you’re trying to do.

Knowing that distraction is the inevitability of life, you want to avoid setting yourself up for the same when taking on multiple projects. Starting one project at a time allows you to give it as much focus as possible while still affording you the grace of unexpected distractions that come with life.

Make Room for Your Learning Curve

Starting a new adventure is never without its learning curves. Researching all of the little things we don’t realize we need education on takes so much time! When I decided to garden in our little urban house and reclaim some of the self-sufficiency I had left behind with a temporary city lifestyle, I found myself researching activities quite different from those suited to a large-scale farming background. I was researching container gardening, different plant varieties for partial shade, because my only available area had at least 3 hours of shade, and more. 

Grant yourself a wide range of curves for learning the odd bits and quirks that make your specific situation most efficient. This takes time that you wouldn’t be able to afford if you were juggling multiple projects.

Build a Cooperative and Community-Based Network of Support

We may not think of self-sufficiency as a cooperative effort — it’s called self-sufficiency after all, right? — but consider how many of your close friends or neighbors may also be taking their first steps on the same path. Often for many people motivation is found in the company of others like book clubs or farmer’s markets.

If you allow yourself the freedom of one singular project you also open yourself up to communicating with others who are doing the same to exchange ideas and advice. This also helps you establish a network of people that you can call on should you need them and vice versa. 

Allow for Failure and Recovery

Let’s say you’ve got a garden started to the tune of about $500 that covered everything from seeds, soil, and slow-release fertilizer. Your $200 hatchery chicks are spending their first day in their brand new $400 coop, you’ve just invested in a $200 dehydrator, a $200 pressure canner, and spent quite a bit over your budget to get everything you need to harvest chickens and vegetables and store them away for the winter. Then, a freak late frost storm comes in, killing your garden and chicks.

Now you’re $700 under. Still, you haven’t lost any value on the coop, canner, or dehydrator as they’re still able to be used.  However, you’re now behind on the initial projects you had hoped to complete, and without those being successful, the items you paid for won’t return their value and pay for themselves as quickly as planned. It’s an all-too-real scenario for many that jump in and take on too much at once. If you had started with chicks alone, you would only be under the cost of the chicks because the coop is still usable in the future. Likewise, if you’d only started the garden, you would only have been out the cost of the seeds and plants; the canner, dehydrator, and gardening tools are usable in the future.

Doing one project at a time allows you the financial flexibility to recover in the event of failure.

Learn the Cobenefits of Every Project Faster

When all your focus is given to one single task or project at a time, your rate of success will be higher. You’ll likely reap success in the form of a supplemented grocery budget by providing yourself the same things you buy at a drastically lower price, freeing up even more finances to fund the next project you wish to start.

Additionally, you may reap success in the form of supplemented income off the surplus. If raising chickens was your first project, you may find that, not only are you saving on eggs at the store, but neighbors will ask to buy eggs as well! You’ll know by the end of your newfound adventure in raising poultry that not only meat and eggs are the selling point. Fertilizer, fertile eggs, home-hatched chicks, and even craft feathers are byproducts that may not ever be noticed if your attention is divided on too many projects.

With all of that laid out, it’s probably the one time you’ll hear that you should put all your eggs in one basket. When you focus and give your all to one single thing at a time, you not only grant yourself the freedom to learn, perfect, or recover from learning curves, but you also allow yourself to see beyond the surface value for that specific project to unlock its full potential to pay for itself as well as perpetuate that reward in a way that helps you start a new project.

Allow your dedication to one thing to fund the next. Put all your eggs in one basket instead of juggling too many baskets.

Niche Brislane is an Amish-raised farmer and prairie pioneer enjoying all the fruits of a life well lived in harmony with the Earth. She seeks to share and teach the rewarding life of frugal self-reliance. Connect with Niche at Stag Valley Homestead, on Facebook and Instagram, and on her blog.

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  • Published on Jun 1, 2022
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