Our family goes about life doing what needs to be done and things generally work out okay. There are ongoing challenges, of course, but we just deal with things as they come. In other words, we have a good life based on a can-do attitude and successfully learning how to deal with things. Seems simple enough to me.
So I was somewhat taken back by all the negativity on the recent $300 House design competition. Most people there are caring, good people who want to find sustainable solutions to help the world. That type of attitude and those kinds of people are what attracted me to the competition. I’ve seen my share of bad behavior on Internet forums, but by entering the design competition I suddenly found myself in the middle of things (in the crossfire), and this has made me increasingly aware of bad attitudes in the larger world. You’d think a competition such as this would be the last place to attract naysayers and people with ill intent, but alas, they seem to be everywhere.
One common theme I kept hearing was people saying “this won’t work”, “it’s too hard”, “it’s too difficult”, and so on. Well, you know what? Everything worthwhile is challenging and takes time and effort – school, work, relationships, even day to day life. So I want to take this opportunity to share some thoughts that hopefully will help others.
Here’s a true story about a man who built his own house with CEBs. You can decide if building with CEBs is “too much work”. (Same basic idea applies to building with earthbags, etc.) I know of a man who was diagnosed with cancer and told he had less than a year to live. He didn’t give up. He quit his job, moved to the countryside, bought a CEB press and built his own house by himself. He immersed himself in the rhythm of the work and quit worrying about things. He’s still alive about 12-15 years later and has built several other houses. (Not to belittle him, but he was weak and skinny from never having done physical work.) So if one guy with incurable cancer can do this, why can’t you?
So I’m saying building houses is a lot of work no matter how you do it. You need to develop a good can-do attitude. Learn as much as you can before starting and never give up. Build small, simple, pay with cash and add on later. If you can overcome the difficulties of building your own home for a few months or so then you’ll have a home for the rest of your life that’s paid for, while most everyone around you blows 1/3 of their working life to pay off a mortgage. (And many of those people will default and lose everything, but that’s another topic for another day.)