lock with pins inserted into opening

Getting Real with Josh the Editor: Picking the Lock on My Self Confidence

This is a guest post for my “Getting Real” series. On this blog, we provide “pure human content,” and truly get real. I wanted to give other bloggers the opportunity to come on here and get real with me! I am so excited for the opportunity to invite other bloggers to join me and share their life experience and big feels. Interested in sending over a guest post and being part of the “Getting Real” series? Send me an email!

Now without further ado, let’s get real…




TW Depression



Okay, I know that you’re already bracing yourself for some trite platitudes after a title like that, but just stick with me. I promise it’s not what you think.

First, though, a little background is in order.

Given that I am one of Renata’s closest friends and contributors (and that she often refers to us as being the same person in different bodies), I’m sure it will come as a huge surprise that I, like Renata, struggle with depression. I know, what a Shyamalan-level twist, right? I’ll give you fine folks a moment to recover after that bombshell. 

You good? Okay, then we can proceed.

Now, depression can present very differently for each individual. In my case, it primarily takes the form of self-loathing and a deep seated fear that I’m just not good enough. Good enough for what, you ask? Honestly, it can be anything depending on the day. Did I fuss at my kid? I’m not a good enough parent. Did I miss a typo in Renata’s post? I’m a terrible editor. Did I have trouble picking up a new skill instantly? I must be a complete idiot. Any tiny thing that happens to be slightly less than ideal will turn into that day’s source of Vitamin Bleh. And, of course, the stress and isolation of the Cornaverse has only served to exacerbate these issues.

In fact, it was specifically the fear of feeling like an idiot for not being able to learn a new task that had led me to avoid picking up any new “quarantine hobbies.” That is until the fateful day about a year ago that, in a moment of manic brilliance, I decided to try something new, something I had always wanted to learn but never thought I could. And this led me to picking the lock that would renew and reinvigorate my self confidence.

What are you waiting around for? That’s it. What do you mean, “what did you do?” I just told-

Oh, I get it! You still think I’m speaking in some heavy-handed metaphor. I’m not. I literally learned how to pick locks. Well, technically, I engaged in “Locksport,” but that’s really just the fancy term we use to avoid scaring people when we go off on wild tangents about hooks and rakes and how easily their front door could be bypassed.

Okay, perhaps a little more background is in order. 

First things first, I’m a nerd, and an unabashed one at that. As a nerd, I’ve played more than my fair share of RPGs over the years (both in tabletop and video game forms), and if given the opportunity, I almost always play a rogue. The idea of the rakish character stealthily slipping past enemies, disarming traps that others couldn’t see, and relieving a villain of his ill-gotten treasures has always sparked my imagination. And what is considered the quintessential “rogue skill,” the number one tool in their arsenal? That’s right, lock picking! So I’ve pretty much been fascinated with the idea of learning to pick locks ever since I was first old enough to fill out a character sheet and roll dice, but I always thought it was a skill that was beyond my reach. I was so afraid of failing at something I wanted so badly that I decided it was far safer to simply not even try.

Fast forward to last December when my brother emailed me an Amazon gift card. Now,  during one of my many self-isolation-induced YouTube binges, I discovered the LockPickingLawyer channel, and I was instantly hooked. Here was a guy who not only had this skill I wanted, but he was even educating people on how to do it themselves. I was curious, but still skeptical that I’d be good enough to learn something new. Instead, I decided to indulge in a little retail therapy courtesy of my brother. 

Thanks to some magical combination of luck and a disturbing amount of data tracking, what happened to show up in my recommended items? That’s right, a lockpick set. And this wasn’t just any lockpick set. No, this was a $25.00 “beginner set” that I have since come to learn is complete and utter garbage! But I didn’t know that then. All I knew was that this was it. This was my opportunity to really try to go for it and achieve this seemingly unattainable goal. 

Two days later, I set about picking my first lock: the most basic of the 3 see-through, acrylic locks included in the set. Pin by pin, I watched, listened, and felt as one after another set. When only one pin remained, I held my breath and carefully positioned my pick. I gently raised the pin, felt the previously stationary tension wrench begin to turn, and POP! The shackle of the lock sprung open before my eyes.

Like I said, I’ve since learned that this set is pretty much crap, and the included “practice locks” have such sloppy tolerances that they’ll open if you sneeze on them hard enough. That didn’t stop me from proudly picking them open again and again over the course of the following two weeks, though. As I moved onto harder locks, I realized I would need a proper set of tools to continue growing my skills. I can’t even begin to describe the joy I felt when I got my first set of “big boy picks” (the Sparrows Dark Shift, if you’re curious), and I looked forward to both the achievements and the challenges ahead of me. That’s right. I was no longer scared that I wasn’t good enough. Something inside me had changed the first time that cheap plastic lock had yielded to me, and nothing was going to stop me. I even recently completed the “PACLOCK 200K Club” challenge by picking a particularly nasty 7-pin core filled with spools and serrated pins. 

So, there you have it. There was no secret or clever metaphor. I made the decision to try something I’d been afraid to fail at and reignited my self-confidence in the process. And I challenge you to do the same. 

What’s something you have always wanted to try but never have? Tell us in the comments, and then just go do it. You’ll be glad you did!



BONUS: Locksport Resources

LockPickingLawyer (YouTube) – over 1300 videos showing different locks and methods

LockNoob (YouTube) – another really helpful channel focused on being “beginner friendly”

Sparrows Tuxedo Set (with optional clear practice lock) – an actual GOOD beginner’s set

TOOOL State Law Listings – see if it’s legal for you to own lockpicks in your state

The Lockpicking Subreddit – super welcoming and helpful online community




Author Bio: editor josh smiling

Josh is a confusing jumble of Gen-X apathy, Millennial outrage, and all around BNE (Big Nerd Energy). Perhaps best known for editing this blog, he’s also a creative Jack-of-All-Trades who enjoys making videos, podcasts, digital art, and acerbic yet insightful written pieces. When not doing any of the above, he can usually be found tucked away somewhere reading, playing video games, or screaming at the TV during Portuguese National Team games.

You can also find (and follow, hint hint) him streaming occasionally on Twitch at: https://www.twitch.tv/toastedmuffingaming

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