The road to success is not straightforward. It is filled with so much twist and turns that we never know what really contribute to our success. Besides dumb luck which is out of our control. A major factor in our success is skills. Picking skills and mastery is within our control.
Exactly which skills should you choose to develop? My answer to that question is I do not know. I can only guide you to the conclusion.
You need to believe in yourself. You are not too old or too young to learn something new. You do not need 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to be successful. You probably need between 100 to 1000 hours of deliberate practice. Check out some of the successful YouTubers, they are probably not world-class but good enough to be successful. Their success is not only due to one skill but an arsenal of micro skills. They need to know the materials that they are presenting, digital videography, video editing, digital marketing and much more. They do not need to be expert in all areas, but enough to shot, edit and load onto YouTube.
What you need is a stack of skills. Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert comics describe the concept of possessing a set of small skills. He calls it Talent Stack. With a strong work ethic, good enough artwork and good enough humour. Mr Adams carved out a unique niche for himself. What I am scratching is only on the surface. I am sure Mr Adams skill stack is far deeper than I have just described. My point is that we do not need to stress ourselves that we need to be an expert in many skills to be successful.
What is the one common skill of successful individuals like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Tim Ferris, Sir Richard Branson and Oprah? They are all effective communicator.
To start your talent stack. The skill of communication is a must.
Communication skills in writing and public speaking. At the age of 20 years old, Warren Buffet signed up for a public speaking course. Mr Buffet is now one of the richest persons in the world and still emphasise the importance of public speaking. Ignore this advice at your own risk.
How do you want to build the rest of your talent stack? Look at the Time Management matrix from Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
Think about your present life. Imagine your future. Think about things that you want to do. Think about the jobs that you want to have.
What are the urgent skills that you must have? What are the skills that you need for your future success? You may also want to think about stop doing things that do not bring you any benefit. Write it all down, and those may be your talent stack. Preferably, your new talent stack should be in the quadrant of important-urgent and important-not urgent.
Nevertheless, life is filled with dichotomy. Certain skills may seem useless and irrelevant, it may actually change your life or even the world! Steve Jobs took up calligraphy classes without much thought about its practical application. Yet, the skill set paved way for Apple to create the first beautiful typeface.
In life, there is no absolute path to success. What is important, you need to have the skills. The skills to communicate. The skills to create. The more skills you have, the more chances of you reaching success.
With the list of talent stack, you have to start developing your skills. There is no need to wait for the perfect time. The perfect time is now and today.
Here are some few resources.
Udemy. A good selection of online sources. I have not seen any courses that offer certification. It is reasonably priced and it is my go-to site.
Coursera. This site contains some free lectures. If you want the certification, you will have to pay for the course.
YouTube. Loads of free learning materials. You have to be mindful of the information. Some may not be correct or old.
Lifehacker Nightschool. The site has not been updated. Nevertheless, it offers some good free ideas and how-to.
Codeacademy. A perfect place for those who want to learn to programme.
Get a mentor. A mentor is someone that you admire and have qualities that you want to emulate. This person can guide you and ensure you are on your way to success. If you cannot find yourself a good mentor. Read books. Read biographies. Learn about their life. Let their life experience be an inspiration for you.
As a matter of fact, talent stacks will only improve your odds of success. There is no guarantee. Deeper the stacks, the better is your chances.
Call to action. Start building your stack today. Know yourself. Stare into the future. Be ready for failure but be prepared for success.