The Value of Resources

Do you ever meet people who believe in magic?

I think I meet them all the time.

I realize there are people in this world who believe in magic (i.e. things get done with no time or resources or effort). I've always thought that things take time and effort and if you have a good base of resources (effectively your wealth) to draw upon, THAT is the MAGIC of creation.

I recently helped a family member with a cleaning job and ran across a buried desk. Built well, the desk had a 1/16 inch paper fiber mess literally glued to the surface. I have NO extra time so why I thought I should tackle this project is beyond me but I decided to clean and refinish just the desktop. I spent approximately 4-6 hours getting everything done (from preparation to cleaning to sanding to painting to varnishing to cleanup afterward) as I worked on the original cleaning job.

Evolution of the job: (OPEN)

I could not have even considered this project if I had not had (immediately at my disposal):

  • old newspapers and tape

  • leftover paint removal materials

  • plastic bags to cover the surface to temporarily 'seal in' the paint removal compound

  • a good scraper

  • a place to do the project

  • extra sandpaper, clean rags and some onion bag material (cutout scraps are excellent for a bit of extra scrubbing)

  • leftover paint from another project (that ironically I had originally gotten from the hazardous waste recycling facility's 'take me home and use me because I'm still good' room--someone else disposed of it)

  • a fern stamp made out of foam that I used on another project

  • leftover varnish (which also came from the hazardous waste facility)

  • a salvaged brush that had been used years ago on windows (stiff but fortunately varnish tends to be self-leveling)

  • a storage area for all this stuff

  • the knowledge to quickly do this project because I had salvaged & restored a few other items previously

I believe a lot of people underestimate the value of 'bases of wealth.' I did not have to go shopping for any of these things. They were already there. I even had several leftover paint colors to choose from and a few different colors of varnish.

When we measure people (and their productivity), I always wonder what their bases of wealth are. Many people in the world might have an old piece of furniture but no effective way to easily salvage it. (The surface on this was so 'damaged' it might easily have been thrown out).

Likewise, I did the quickest job you could possibly do to turn this piece of furniture into something 'usable' and it took 4-6 hours. No magic there--just a lot of time.

Retaining wealth takes time and effort and although the desktop came out quite nice for the time that was put into it, a REALLY good job would have taken a lot longer and taken many more resources than I used.

People who have limited time and resources are at a HUGE disadvantage when it comes to creating and retaining wealth. We should always remember that when we think about what it means to help people build their bases of wealth.