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The Price of DIY Failing vs. The Cost of Never Trying
Sometimes a cheap and bad DIY brings a priceless opportunity
Last week, my daughter told me the glass that covers one of the lenses on her iPhone shattered when she dropped it. For the first time ever, she actually has a new phone (a year old now) instead of a hand-me-down phone, so any phone swap with what I have laying around (and I’ve got a lot of tech laying around) would be a significant downgrade. I hate a love hate relationship with DIY (Do-It-Yourself.) I love it when it works out, I hate it when I mess up. But finances almost always dictate the DIY route. So a two-day Amazon Prime order and two YouTube instructional videos later, I’ve got a $13 fix for her $1000 phone.
We've all been there, right? That moment when you're elbow-deep in a DIY project, realizing you might be in over your head. Maybe you've accidentally turned your living room wall into Swiss cheese while attempting to hang a picture frame. Or perhaps you're now the not-so-proud owner of a half-assembled bookshelf that wobbles more than a toddler taking their first steps.
But let's step back for a moment and ask ourselves: What's the real cost of our DIY endeavors?
The Financial Flip Flop
When you dive into a DIY project, there's always the chance you'll end up spending more than if you'd just hired a pro. That $10 “fix” from the hardware store can quickly turn into a $100 disaster when things don’t pan out as YouTube promised. But hey, you also get a complimentary lesson in humility, right?
The Priceless Lessons of Failure
Yes, you might fail. Yes, your friends might chuckle at your new, unintentionally abstract art project (formerly known as "fixing a hole in the wall"). But every mishap is a lesson learned. Remember that time you accidentally dyed your white shirt pink in the laundry? Bet you never made that mistake again! Or if you did, maybe it’s time to consider laundry as a DIY project you skip.
The Silent Cost of Never Trying
On the flip side, think about what you lose when you *don't* try. That thrill of victory when you finally get the darn thing right. The pride in saying, "I did that!" The opportunity to laugh at yourself, make memories, and have tales to tell. Like that time you accidentally glued your fingers together – great icebreaker at parties, trust me.
It's About the Journey, Not the Hole in the Wall
The real essence of DIY isn’t about perfection, it's about the journey and the courage to try. It's about growing, learning, and realizing that our value doesn't decrease based on our inability to install a light fixture without plunging the house into darkness.
So how did my phone story end? Using a heat gun, I successfully removed the broken glass lens cover and old adhesive and cemented the new cover on so it looked good as new! Until I turned the phone over. It seems I heated the phone too hot for too long and the corner of the screen closest to the rear lenses, while still functional, is permanently discolored. Oh, and while the lens cover is new and pristine, the lens was damaged by the excess heat as well; the phone won’t zoom past 3x any more!
I know what you’re thinking, it’s the same thing my daughter said to me after I showed her the damage: “you should have just had a professional do it.” And I was starting to agree but I had to come to a more immediate not “living-in-the-past” decision:
Was I going to make my photography-happy daughter live with the damage I had done?
Here’s where this becomes about the journey beyond just learning a new repair: I swapped phones with her. I gave her my bigger, more expensive phone that has great cameras and I took her still functional but disfigured screen and limited camera phone. I received the opportunity to show selfless love and take responsibility for my attempted repair; an opportunity that would not have existed if I had repaired it correctly or had the repair done professionally. My daughter was (and is) deeply impacted by this, certainly more than me trying to shift the blame from my subpar repair to her dropping the phone in the first place. And if you know my daughter, please, don’t bring this up to her; it would embarrass her (she doesn’t read my columns since they’re not on TikTok.)
So the next time you're weighing the cost of DIY vs. bringing in the pros, remember: You might lose a few bucks, you might win bragging rights, but you'll never know unless you roll up your sleeves and give it a shot.
And if all else fails? There’s always duct tape. And for everything else beyond that? You can always bring in the professionals to fix what you twice broke. 😉