Over the years, technology has taken lots of responsibility off our shoulders. But, whilst there have been definite benefits to this, modern tech has also stripped us of many of our most manly skills. Historically, we were hunters, protectors and fighters. Today, we sip artisan coffees and sit on our smartphones for most of the day. So what helpful skills have we lost over time, and how can we reclaim these forgotten arts?
Navigating with a map and compass
With the invention of the smartphone, our navigation skills are shot. In a time before Google Maps and CityMapper, it was commonplace to find your way using a simple map and compass, and this isn’t a skill that should be lost.
Invest in a good compass to take on treks and hikes whenever you head out, and an Ordnance Survey map or A-Z should always be on hand. True, you can’t just type in where you want to go, but if you’re out of charge or just out of luck, you’ll be thankful for your paper alternative. You can even use your watch to navigate, if you’re feeling confident…
Starting a fire without a lighter or matches
We lost this a little further ago, but with lighters and matches we no longer need to know how to build a fire from scratch. That is, until we get lost in some far-flung wilderness and wish that we’d read just a little bit further down this article to learn how to get some sparks flying.
Begin by building a tinder nest out of dry grass or leaves, and then cut a notch into your fireboard. Place your nest under the notch, and then spin a spindle in the depression. To have a fighting chance of making fire, your spindle should be bone dry and around two feet long. Once it sparks, gently blow to fan the flame.
Changing a car tyre
With the proliferation of breakdown services now patrolling the roads, the art of changing a tyre has fallen by the wayside. Armed with a tyre iron, most millennials wouldn’t have a clue where to start when it comes to fitting a spare – and that’s a sad state affairs for both modern masculinity and automotive know-how alike.
It’s really not that hard to take the jack from your boot, raise your car a couple of inches and then loosen the wheel nuts until you can unscrew them the rest of the way. But be honest – if you were stranded at the side of the road right now, would you know how to change your tyre? If the answer’s no, get learning. Despite what their adverts say, the AA won’t always be there.
Hunting for our own food
Another ancient skill that has fallen by the wayside, the art of tracking and hunting animals for food. An age-old practice turned to sport, this is a skill that trains your physical shape, your knowledge of nutrition, your planning and your hand-eye co-ordination.
But, despite the fact that you’re essentially going out to kill something, hunting is best for your relaxation. Hunter often reveal that being alone in nature gives you the chance to clear your mind. No rush, no commute, no deadlines, you can unwind – until the act of hunting itself gives you a huge adrenaline boost, beneficial to your liver function and muscles.
Handwriting rather than typing
Everyone can type. Most of you can probably touch type – go ahead, close your eyes and try to type a simple sentence. But how many of you can write an intricate and impeccable cursive sentence? What’s more, when was the last time any of you hand wrote a letter, a postcard, or anything longer than a memo at work?
A study published in the Wall Street Journal in 2010 found that handwriting actually trains the brain, and is the key to better memory, learning new things more effectively and formulating more creative ideas or solutions to problems. So, next time you go to type a letter up on your laptop, close the lid and reach for your fountain pen.