Mastering the Art of Being Resourceful

As human beings, we are extremely adaptable and, throughout history, have managed to do amazing things with very little. However, this resourcefulness seems to have been lost along the way. Where our grandparents would plant a garden if food was scarce and make sure to use every little bit of a chicken to make sure nothing was wasted, we have become a culture of waste. The problem is that we are hurting ourselves as well as the environment in the process, but there is no need to worry because being resourceful is an innate quality everyone has; we just need to let it come out and play.

A Little History on Humanity’s Resourcefulness

If you look at our history, there are tales after tales of how the human race has progressed exactly due to our resourcefulness. Consider the people who lived in caves tens of thousands of years ago. They hunted animals and used everything, from the meat and offal to the bones and skin. Meat was used for food, the skin was dried, turned into leather and used for clothing, while the bones were used to make tools. Even the fat was used for lighting. It was both a sign of respect to the animal for providing for them and it was also natural to use up everything because they couldn’t just pop down to the corner shop to buy a parka if the weather suddenly turned cold or another kilo of meat if they ran out.

Likewise, consider the times during and after World War II, when our grandparents suffered through famine and other hardships. There was a time when people lived on rations due to a dwindling food supply caused by the war. The goal was for everyone to have their fair share of the food available but this often meant families had to be resourceful or they would starve. For example, a typical ration for an adult for a week would have been one egg, 1.5 L of milk, 100 g of margarine, meat worth approximately $0.10 (today’s value) and the list goes on. As you can see, it would have been extremely difficult for a family to live on these rations had people not been resourceful.

Not only did families make sure to use up everything but other products, such as some vegetables and fruits, that weren’t rationed were used to make meat last longer. Additionally, people found they could get food straight from the country, so they would travel extensively to get what they needed.

However, we seem to have forgotten all this and our culture seems to be based on waste. You might be wondering what the point is to being resourceful is since there is no shortage in our world today and you would have a good point. But then, our grandparents didn’t expect the world to be plunged into chaos, nor did they expect to have to stretch 4 eggs to last a week for a family of four. If there’s one thing you should remember, that is that life is unpredictable and you never know what could happen tomorrow.

Another fact worth remembering is that the population of the planet is expected to reach 9 billion people in 20 years and considering that food reserves are already dwindling and prices are going up, don’t be surprised if we end up in a similar situation to our grandparents. The only difference will be that the government won’t have to impose rations. People will simply be unable to afford to buy more.

Becoming more resourceful doesn’t mean you have to live like a pauper, it simply means making more out of what you already have. And if you learn to apply this thinking, you will find that all areas of your life will improve, from work to finances and even your relationships.

What Are Resourceful People Like?

The best way to achieve something is to study someone who is already doing it successfully and emulate them. Therefore, if you want to be resourceful, here are a few traits of resourceful people that you should strive towards:

• Resourceful people are team players as they understand that a team can do more than a single person. In other words, they analyse the resources available to them and use them to their fullest potential to achieve their goals and objectives;

• A resourceful person has an open-mind and understands that there are many people that they can learn from. They don’t think they know it all and they learn from other people’s mistakes.

• Resourceful people are also continuously improving and they understand the value of SMART goals. They know that a vague goal will never be achieved and therefore they always make sure their objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.

• A resourceful person won’t look at a friend’s brand new mansion with envy. A resourceful person will be glad for their friend while also making a commitment to themselves to achieve the same goals. They know that anything can be achieved, as long as one does what it takes instead of expecting the solution to land in their laps by some miracle. Resourceful people don’t close their eyes to any opportunity, no matter what form it takes.

• Resourceful people live in the now, with an eye on the future. In other words, they don’t use the phrase “I’ll be happy when…” They know life is short and they enjoy what they have right now, but never lose sight of making a better future at the same time. After all, what’s the point of living life if you aren’t enjoying it?

These are just a few of the more important traits that describe resourceful people. So, are you ready to change your life and become more resourceful? Here are a few tips to help you get started.

Jump on the Resourcefulness Train

There are many areas of your life where you can apply your resourcefulness, including your personal life and business.

Being More Resourceful at Home

Being more resourceful doesn’t necessarily mean being cheap, but if you can save a few dollars in the process, it won’t hurt. For example, take a look at the money you spend on groceries and be honest with yourself. How much food do you throw away because it spoils? How much money could you save by being more organised? You’ll probably be surprised.

So, to cut down on waste, start planning. Plan menus for a week in advance and only then do your shopping. Likewise, try purchasing your food from small grocers and local farmers, as it’s much healthier and doesn’t contain all the additives you find in supermarket foods.

You can also save a lot of money on other household items. For example, vinegar, baking soda and dishwashing detergent can be used to cheaply make all the household cleaners you could possibly want at a fraction of the price of commercial cleaners. You will not only save money this way, but you won’t have all those harsh chemicals hanging around your home.

Being More Resourceful in Your Business or Professional Life

Many people used to rely on a single income from their jobs but were then forced to seek other revenue streams when the financial crisis hit. Now, they have discovered the value of having multiple revenue streams so that if one fails, they always have others to rely on. So, try and diversify by finding more income streams. This is applicable even if you own a business.

Being resourceful also means learning from other people and using what is already available to maximise your results. So, for example, if someone has already created a solution, don’t try to reinvent the wheel because you’ll simply be wasting time, which you can be used in a smarter fashion. So, if you need to do something on your computer and someone has designed a program that makes the process faster and more efficient, take advantage of it.

Children Are the Future

As you become more resourceful, it is critical that you teach your children to follow in your footsteps. Teach them to learn how to do certain things on their own, such as finding information, because the more resourceful they are when they are young, the happier they will be when they become adults. You will be giving them a set of skills that is invaluable and they will never have to suffer, no matter the state of the economy, because they will always find a way to make things work.

This article was written by personal finance writer Timothy Ng from Sydney, Australia. He is genuinely passionate about helping people compare credit cards and helping them through researching to find the best credit card.

19 Responses to Mastering the Art of Being Resourceful
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    March 12, 2011 | 11:08 am

    Another word for “resourceful” can be “creative.” When you only have a limited resource, and you need to achieve a goal with it (like feeding the family for $10 bucks), that’s where real creativity comes into play!

    So for anyone who thinks they don’t get the chance to be creative or expressive in life … and who thinks they need to sign up for a painting class in order to get a chance to be creative … guess what? Being resourceful with money is a great way to put your personal stamp on life!

    Great article — thanks!

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