Build Your Skill Set

posted in: Mind Tools | 1

Does your mental tool box look like the picture above, or the one below?


Scott Adam’s in his book “How to Fail At Almost Everything and Still Win Big” hammers on the idea of building your skill set. If you have only one thing you can do, you are limited in how successful you can be in life. Like the old saying goes, if all you have is a hammer, then every problem is a nail. Ever try to cut wood with a hammer?

Add more skills.

They don’t have to be related skills either. Sometimes it is better to have a variety.

“Luck” favors the Prepared. The more skills in your set, the more prepared you are.

Adequate is OK.

Most people are really good at just one thing. Sometimes not even really good, but just average. I’m giving you permission to be average! You’re welcome.

The key here is that being average in just one thing is NOT okay. You need to be average in a number of skills. The amount and variety of your skill set is directly related to your success in life. Why? Because with just one or two skills, you lock yourself out from acting on opportunities. Let me give you an example: I like to teach and write, but if that was all I could do, I’d be limited to being a high school English teacher, which was what I first set out to do until the other teachers in my family steered me away from it because even back several decades ago, public education was in a nose dive.

But I liked to draw and had an artistic eye and was able to get a graphics designer job after dropping out of college for the second time. Years passed, marriage happened and I needed a more stable job with better benefits, and I found myself working in the health insurance industry. Out of necessity I learned a new skill of creating databases. Then later, I learned how to manage and set up computer networks. After that it was programming until the dot com bubble burst and I found myself unemployed again. Now I was back in health care working for a Medicare contractor overseeing the IT department where a new necessity came up, the company’s website sucked. So I learned to make websites.

All these skills I accumulated over the years led to this point right now with a great looking website that I can use as a platform to help other men build their skill sets to be better men.

Make a List Now!

Do it right now. Write out a list of things skills you have. Include those that you are just mediocre at. Then count them. If you have less than five you have a problem. If they are all in the same close category, then you have painted yourself into a corner with limited options.


Add to Your List.

Now put down some things skills you always wanted to have and let me suggest a few others that will benefit you down the road. Consider adding:

  • Learning some basic persuasion skills.
  • Learning some basic finance and money management skills.
  • Learning some basic public speaking skills.

This website is for you. Your comments and questions are always welcome.

One Response

  1. Hi Jeff. Found this from you posting it on Vox’ blog.

    “Learning some basic persuasion skills.”

    I really wish someone had taught me verbal skills and rhetoric back in my HS days. No good in being smart and talented if you cannot make folks want to put up with you.

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