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    • CommentTimeJan 13th 2012 edited
    A couple years back, I inquired what skills, good skills, you all may have learned in life - but skills that were learned through bad habits. Not just wise platitudes, but actual practical useful skills that having bad habits have forced you to learn.

    I was just led to revive this thread, as my wife just asserted I missed my calling as an interrogator. While listening to a bit on NPR about interrogation, the interviewer called out how the ability to sociopathically lie and identify in a very false way with the subject is the proper way to conduct an interrogation. I bemoaned the fate that has led me not to have such a "good cop" job as an interrogator...for anything.

    However, that's not the point here.

    Your bad habits may have led you to: pick locks, cut hair, cook food, work on heavy machinery, or any number of other things I'd love to hear about, because I'm not sleeping. Which also might be a skill.

    My contribution:

    Being a regular drunkard has led me to largely avoid urethral maggots, as well as arse eels, due to the fact that I've also mostly avoided posting sober.

    As a regular drunkard, I have learned to go back and re-edit my writing until it makes sense. The first effort is usually nonsense, sober or not.
  1.  (10447.2)
    I have a friend who is an interrogator. O,o
    I also thought he was a bad liar. Haven't spoken to him in years, and hope he's okay.

    I guess, being terrified to death of asking teachers questions has led to me being okay at searching for things online, so I don't have to confront my fears, but still learn.
  2.  (10447.3)
    Bullshitting my way into jobs for which I wasn't qualified forced me to learn a bunch of handy work skills on the fly - arc welding, bartending, pub cookery and forklift operation, to name a few.
  3.  (10447.4)
    Being the guy in a group of friends that always called me "the eye of the hurricane" or something similar, I was always the one that the craziest shit happened to. My life has been filled with one random insane event after another, and slowly I developed skills to always be ready in the case of emergency. I developed the ability to think very quickly and rational under extreme pressure and in the middle of chaos. This led to me finding work in the professional security sector, and eventually in law enforcement.

    Unfortunately, the same process that taught me these skills also kind of screwed me up, is that outside of a crisis, I'm not very good at making shit work. When things are going just fine, I'm not really sure what to do with myself, I make really simple mistakes, and I can't plan for shit. My long-term goal creation process blows because I'm so used to thinking of the next danger 5 minutes around the corner.

    Also somehow I ended up with a job that I couldn't qualify for now if I applied for it today. Somehow I acquired the skills needed but not the cop attitude, which helps me be a good human, but keeps me from being accepted by my co-workers. I'm mostly ok with that because I hate most of them anyway.
    • CommentTimeJan 14th 2012
    The vague and unhelpful answer would be that I'm a horrible cheapskate, but also extremely hard on the stuff I own, which has led to all sorts of useful DIY skills like electronics tinkering and sewing/altering. It's cheaper to self-repair, or buy cheap shit and make it fit, than constantly replace stuff I'm abusing.
    It might be the opposite, though, that coming from a capable family led me to a better appreciation of the value of money. I'm not really self-made, in terms of those DIY skills -- they were definitely passed on to me by a pair of no-nonsense parents.

    That same cheapskatyness led me to an unconscionable amount of music pirating, especially knowing that I'm most often ripping off independent and niche artists. But, without that sort of access I'd never allow myself to write music criticism the way I do. Building up a decent background to speak authoritatively should've taken me another decade had I gone about it legally.

    In a slightly different social-phobia vein, I hate walking into shops with a question and looking like a clueless n00b. So I do a lot of research online and try/fail on my own first. This often costs me extra money, like the time I blew out a bike tire by overinflating it and went from a $5 tube replacement to a $45 tire replacement.

    Hrmm, if drinking is generally expected to be a bad habit, I have a useful trick of opening one beer with another. This works well only until you have one beer left.

    I still feel like these are unsatisfactory answers, so I'll mull it over and get more for you later.
  4.  (10447.6)
    Skill learnt: how to not throw up no matter how drunk I am [through breathing into the kidneys (yup, it's a thing), stretching and slapping yourself very hard.]
    Bad habit skill learnt from: I don't remember...drinking?

    Skill learnt: how to fall from both standing and a moving car without being hurt
    Bad habit skill learnt from: the cause was definitely drinking and then I think practicing falling when both sober and high was the cure.

    When I can think of more, I'll post more.
    Good idea for a thread.
  5.  (10447.7)
    Haha... if we're talking drinking-inspired bad habits... as a teenager I drank copious amounts of cheap German wine. But I never had a corkscrew. So I learned every set of railings in Winchester that were of an appropriate diameter to push a cork in with... and also, every brand of wine that you could push the cork in with a thumb (some were too tight, and you either broke your thumb or the bottle).

    Of course, if that failed, you'd have to break the top off the bottle and decant into an empty lager can, avoiding the shards of glass, but that was a last resort.
  6.  (10447.8)
    Bullshitting my way into jobs for which I wasn't qualified forced me to learn a bunch of handy work skills on the fly - arc welding, bartending, pub cookery and forklift operation, to name a few.

    I learned photography that way!
    • CommentAuthorDarkest
    • CommentTimeJan 14th 2012
    Being a massive slacker means I organize before hand so I don't have to put in as much later. Also it also means I tend to try and get the hard stuff done while i still have pacience left.

    Also being antisocial in my formative years led me to read a lot of books so I have/ had a better vocabulary than I should. Also I find I can converse on a broad range of subjects.

    Not many practical skills that I can think of right now though.
      CommentAuthormister hex
    • CommentTimeJan 14th 2012
    Decades of working in retail have given me the Special Sight - I can spot a shop-lifter from the parking lot. I've deterred more thefts just by looking at people and mentally warning them off than I've ever caught actual thieves.

    I mentioned recently that I'm very good at sneaking up on people and it's true. I'm not going to tell you how I acquired this skill but it IS a skill and anyone can learn it. And once you do, it can come in handy. For various reasons. Y'know ... just ... reasons. Nothing sinister.

    Oh and years of being bullied have taught me the value of a sense of humour, especially a dark one. If you can make them laugh, the bullies will stop punching you and go pick on someone else. If you're lucky, you can gain the bullies' confidence. And then sneak up on them.

    Despite my complete ignorance of the Imperial system of weights and measures, (or mathematical skills of any kind, really) I can categorically state that there are 28 grams in an ounce. A pound, meanwhile, is 454 grams. I hope that helps everyone.
  7.  (10447.11)
    Heh - years of dealing weed (if that counts as a bad habit) gave me a superb judgement of weights as well :-D
    • CommentTimeJan 14th 2012
    I think we're specifically talking not-drinking-inspired habits, because that seems to have been done to death in the last iteration of this thread.

    I will add that my photography skills as they are now are a direct result of my social aversion of the past few years. It took a hermitage to a forest in a house with skylights to figure out how to make things pretty.

    I would also have no idea how to fight if I hadn't gotten myself into a relationship and subsequent breakup with a boy who admitted to having violent fantasies about me afterwards. I took it as a challenge. Hey, at least now I know I won't curl up into the fetal position and whimper.
    • CommentTimeJan 15th 2012 edited
    Bad habit: Arguing on the internet. A lot.

    Skill learned: Separating my opinions, or rather my argument, from my ego and actually being able to admit it when I'm wrong, pretty good rhetorical skills in writing, and an ability to argue while aiming at an actual solution and compromise, not just to swing my dick around and prove that the other party is wrong and I'm right.

    Bad habit: Being a tightly wound workaholic (recovering)

    Skill learned: Prioritizing and organizing shit effectively. Most things that look complicated are actually pretty damn simple to do in the end: you'll just have to take your mental machete, chop them into manageable bits, put them in queues and start working. When I lose the ability to do this, I know I've really fallen down the rabbit hole and need a fucking holiday.

    Bad habit: Saying "sure, I can write an article about that" without knowing jack shit about the subject. Also, applying to jobs that are on the upper limit of my skill set.

    Skill learned: To learn the basics of something well enough to explain it to other noobs, but being accurate, and doing it pretty fucking fast. Also, learning new systems, procedures and such stuff for work, while looking like I knew whatever I was doing all through it :)
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeJan 15th 2012
    I think there's a decent chance I wouldn't have learned to program computers if I'd been a more outgoing kid. While you're learning, it's very rarely something you can do with other people, the 'team' aspect of programming only really comes in once you know how to do it.

    For the same reason, I read a lot as a kid too (still do read more than most people I know) which means I have a pretty hefty vocab as well.
  8.  (10447.15)
    This was a incident that changed my life.

    When I was a wee one, there was a stand alone McDonald's near my house that had a playplace, I was also a little shit (not much has changed) with a mother who wouldn't put up with it. My mom comes out and says its time to go, and I ignore her. She keeps doing it, and doing it, and then finally goes back in. She tells my dad to put around in the front, which he does and drives off like he's going home. I run back in crying, probably saying,"No Mommy, don't leave me" or something like that.

    Skilled Learned: I was never late again. When going someplace I've never been, I arrive a half hour early just to make sure I arrive on time. I've netted most of my jobs with that.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeJan 15th 2012
    I can relate to that, although I don't remember any specific incident that might've caused it.

    I'm never late for anything. If you invite me to a party, tell me the time you *actually* want people to arrive or you'll be stuck talking to me as the only guest for the hour before the people who know that you meant 8pm when you said 7pm turn up...

    Checking in for flights is a pain for me, I've never understood people who roll up to the gate just as it's closing... I've usually been waiting in the departure lounge for over an hour... hehe.
    • CommentTimeJan 15th 2012
    Bad habit/characteristic: I'm super awkward at parties, and yet I really like them a lot. What this means is, when there are more than three people in a conversation, I drop out, and after a while most parties develop into these huddles. I also have huge difficulties in approaching people, but I'm just fine if someone else comes to me.

    Skill learned: DJ.
    • CommentTimeJan 16th 2012
    Being the product of a post Viet-Nam American education; Where math AND science were electives (can't we all just love each other and get along!?) I can safely say nearly everything I'm good at is a result of some kind of baptism of fire.
    I've moved countries and continents 3 times. I've been married 3 times, I went to Uni twice. I lived in NYC for 7 years and was dead poor, but pretty happy. I've worked at dozens of jobs big and small.
    My online profile says:
    New Media Geek, jazz radio creator and host, television transmissions geek, commercial photography assistant, wardrobe stylist, film school grad., licensed chemical dependency counselor, child actor and singer.
    And other than going to school to learn to be a counselor...where really I didn't learn anything until the 3 internships I did in hospitals and then school documentary and education film (theory), All of these are a product of me absolutely paddling as fast as I could.
    Growing up the youngest kid by many years, and largely by myself, I learned to play alone. it turns out... was a great thing.
    • CommentAuthorroadscum
    • CommentTimeJan 17th 2012
    I wasted my youth arseing about and trying to have fun instead of studying and getting a proper job, as a result i can now drive fairly large lorries and navigate my way around England and Wales without use of a map. This is sometimes useful.

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