In many article we talk about skills and we advise that people commit time to learning how to do certain tasks. Depending on the individual some people throw themselves into it and basically start a new hobby whilst other just learn enough to understand the process. Both of these paths are perfectly valid and we will all use both in preparing.
Those that throw themselves into it, for whatever reason, will have gained good experience of the techniques which will make them advanced users. Depending on the skill level they could be the resident expert on the subject and able to sell their skill and experience to others. Valuable skills like Medical experience, Blacksmithing, Livestock, Farming and gardening knowledge will be something that can be sold on as a service.
For people that spend less time learning there is a handy rule called the 80:20 rule which states that you spend 20% of the time learning 80% of the knowledge and the final 20% takes 80% of the time. That final 20% is where the experts are made. To cover that I’ll put aside some books or recognise I need more practise. Some things just can’t be learnt from a book.
For many areas in my preps I have looked at what I need to do, built up the toolkit based on experienced advice and tried it out until I have understood what I need to do and I can achieve what I set out to do. Pick up a good understanding of the task and gained as much experience as I can in the time I have allotted..
A good example is Archery, I have purchased several bows and arrows. I have taken the bows and practised until I can get the arrows in the bullseye at 30 yards. Not that good but I now know what to do and when I need to go out I will need a bit of warm up and I can get all but the smallest animals and with a bit of practise even those. I may never need to use the bow either as I have traps and intend to breed my own. I just wanted to have that basic experience.
Similar with the radios, I want to know how to use one and what needs to be done but I won’t be an expert. I’ll know the basics, how to set it up, how to use it and where to look for more information if I need it.
For every area you identify you will have to decide what skill level you want to have and commit the time for it. Most will be the basic level but some really need the commitment of a more advanced level depending on the skill level of other resources in your community or family. Bearing in mind that not knowing what the event is and who will survive you can’t count on having skills if only one person has them. Critical skills need duplication to provide cover. In my view everyone should know basic first aid, how to shoot, how to use a radio, etc. We need some with good skills in carpentry, medical issues, metalwork, mechanical work, etc. They can be our experts and get paid for their skills. You want to be someone with skills and getting paid so you can pay someone with skills to do work for you rather than having to sell your labour as in digging and carrying like a pack animal. That is OK whilst you are younger.
Look at what skills your community needs, what are you good at? If there is a match then get to it and become the expert. Otherwise pick one that there will be demand for and learn as much as you can. Try to be learning several things at once, like you did at school. You don’t know when an event will be so you don’t want to know basic skill level on knitting, sewing and hair cutting because you left the hard stuff until last.