When You Have Too Many Options But Not Enough Knowledge

image credit: Vasjen Katro

image credit: Vasjen Katro

The other day I attempted to fix a shelf in my house.

Confession: I am not a handyman. I know my way around very few tools—basically just a screwdriver and a hammer. Beyond that, I make no guarantees.

When it came down to doing what I was supposed to accomplish, I was confounded about which tool to use. There were so many options: allen wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, drill bits, square bits, and some things I hadn’t even learned about.

As I surveyed the options, I began to wonder: What if I choose the wrong tool? What if I find the right tool but use it the wrong way? What if the way I try to fix the situation actually makes things worse?

I had plenty of options, but not enough knowledge to understand how to use them.

Finding the Right Tool

When it comes to our lives, the words that we say, and the way we interact with others, it matters immensely which tools we use. And it matters just as much how we use those tools and when.

  • In some moments of crisis and pain, our friends or family members don’t need a list of practical pointers; they need grace.
  • In times of laziness and apathy, they don’t need our overprotective pampering; they need to be firmly challenged.
  • When they mess up, they need forgiveness—not a lecture.
  • When they fail to take risks and fall forward, they don’t need more books and magazines about success—they need a guide to begin showing them the way.

Making the most of our lives is about choosing the right tool for the right job. (tweet this)

Find the best way to get the best result.

I think some of the most powerful tools in our lives are the variables of change we undergo, conflict we face, and relationships we have. When we embrace those variables, we can make the most of them.

Finding the Best Fix

I did eventually find the right tool to fix the shelf. But it wasn’t until I consulted some Internet tips and asked my friend Brian how he’s handled a situation like that.

The best fixes rarely happen when we work alone. (tweet this, too)

In the hands of a capable person, tools create works of art, stable buildings, and the miracle of indoor plumbing. In the hands of someone with little to no knowledge about how to use the tools, an afternoon project becomes a weeklong disaster. And in the hands of someone with ill intent, tools can even become weapons that harm.

Depending on how it’s used, the same item can become a tool or a weapon.

Finding the right tools is only half the battle. Knowing how to use them is the game-changer.


What tools—emotional, relational, spiritual, or otherwise—are you using to enhance your life in some way? Is it working?


I’m trying to figure out the best tools to build the best life. Join me in the process; check out the book I’m writing about how tools like change, conflict, and relationships can build a better life. Read a free chapter by signing up here.

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