Do It Yourself

In Italy, we have a saying: "Chi fa per se, fa per tre" which translates to who does for himself does for three.

In other words, if you do something yourself you'll do what the other would achieve. Or, if you want something done right, do it yourself.

Before I start, don't get me wrong, there are definitely things that you should get someone else to do, especially if you need an expert, like for car work, plumbing, etc.

Pay someone else to do it

However, this makes sense because even though we could hire someone to do something for us, even an expert, they don't have the sense of need that we have to get the thing done. And they don't have to worry about making it more convenient for the future, like packing boxes and moving them to a new place.

Despite this, a dilemma arises. Most times we don't actually want to do something ourselves. For example, we know we should cook our own food, but... we can always get someone else to do it right? We could go pick it up, but... it's only $5 dollars to get someone else to pick it up for us.

We are also no strangers to having things go wrong and then being forced to go and deal with them and fixing the problem ourselves anyway. This, on top of using our hard-earned money to purchase services we could have easily done ourselves makes me ask the question, why do we do it?

Optimism Bias

This can be boiled down to what psychologists call optimism bias and procrastination. Optimism bias is a cognitive bias whereby we think that we are less likely to experience an event than someone else isn't. Of course, we also understand that things can go wrong, and when weighing the potential costs and benefits of the decision of buying a service we could do ourselves, we take the gamble assuming that if something goes wrong we'll think about it when it happens, procrastination.

So when something inevitably does go wrong, we are left stressed, and angry that such a simple task wasn't performed by someone who's literally paid to do it. As you understand, the less stressed we can allow ourselves to be, the better our overall mental health.

Peace of mind

Instead, then, of gambling with the outcomes, we can decide to do things ourselves. We have the added motive to be more careful when doing these tasks so we can have more certainty that the food is cooked to our liking or that the pizza won't arrive beaten and mushed because of some random person not knowing how to drive with a pizza in the backseat (by the way, if you leave the pizza in the backseat you're a monster!).

Nonetheless, we are not perfect either, and something can still go wrong if we do it ourselves. Perhaps we have the pizza on the passenger seat but being so hungry and rushing to get home to enjoy that sweet meal we accidentally put it upside down. This is something I'd most definitely get mad about if someone brought me the food like that.

But having done this mistake ourselves, there is little to do but to make sure we remember to check it the next time. We cannot hold a grudge against ourselves (at least not with something minor), and without options or someone to take our frustration out on, we just deal with the problem and find some way to still enjoy that pizza and still make a good and enjoyable meal out of it.

. . .

This pizza example is kind of basic but I think it encompasses the point well enough, when we do something ourselves we have an added incentive to do the work better because it is directly affecting us. When we make a mistake we can only blame ourselves and can work towards ensuring that mistake doesn't repeat itself. Because of this we can move on with minimal frustration and still get the most out of the activity we did.


Hi, I'm Matthew, my mission is to spread knowledge about motivation, productivity, and enabling people to achieve the best that they can be! I have a vast background in psychology and a passion for self-improvement. I literally can't remember a time when I didn't have a psychology book in my hands. On top of that, I've traveled around the world from a very young age, and seen many different courses of life, forming friendships with highly successful people, as well as people who are willing to do anything to make ends meet. My own life took me down a roller coaster of highs and lows, and I'm forever grateful that I've been able to overcome everything it threw at me. Now I want to take the opportunity to give back, and help others learn tools and methods for becoming who they were born to be!


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