When you pop out of your mother as a baby, you don’t come equipped with all the skills needed to succeed.
That’s okay. We’re all like that. If you want more results you need to add more skills. These are the best skills, I’ve found, to choose from.
The ability to evoke emotion in others
We all have it. Too many of us forget it.
Emotion is one of the most powerful forces on earth. It can force people to make crazy decisions they’d normally never make.
I’ve become an accidental master of this skill. Here’s how I did: I stopped caring what people thought, so I could tell the whole story, not half the story.
Smart people would call this vulnerability. I just call it “having nothing to lose.” If you can get comfortable with sharing the uncomfortable things about your life, people will start to feel the emotion you have to offer.
Our survival brain teaches us to do the opposite. We’re worried that if our weaknesses get exposed it will affect our ability to have a career that pays for our food and shelter. The opposite is true.
When you show weakness it’s a strength. And influential people who can change your life love weakness because it shows growth.
Take off the sheep mask. Step into the light.
The ability to persuade
Persuasion sounds like manipulation. That’s why people don’t learn it.
But persuasion isn’t evil.
We all use it daily whether we realize it or not. Persuasion isn’t about deception. It’s about learning to think clearly, convey arguments, acquire facts, and influence others to consider your ideas.
Not all ideas you sell will get bought. That’s cool. If all your ideas were successfully adopted we’d start to wonder whether you were a professional hypnotist.
Sales and negotiation are close cousins of persuasion. Sales is just the business application of persuasion. Negotiation is what happens after persuasion. It’s the ability to align the interests of two sides so that persuasion can lead to a real-world outcome.
Most people fail at negotiation because they put their selfish interests first. Reverse the order and you 10x the results.
Learn honest persuasion. Start by writing online.
The ability to turn your back on drama
The nature of what I do for a living online sometimes attracts drama.
Most of the time the drama is an elaborate scam designed to siphon attention over to an adult baby who didn’t get enough love from their mommy. Once you’ve seen this scenario on repeat, you can’t unsee it.
The way to get tough skin is to practice non-reactivity.
When you feel like responding to drama, stop yourself. Or sleep on it. Tell yourself “I’ll cut their head off in the comments tomorrow. But tonight beautiful brain we must sleep.”
The urge to scratch the hate itch we’ll be gone when you wake up. Trust me.
The reason to practice this skill is it amplifies your reputation. It shows self-control too. Jumping in the mud and fighting with inconsiderate pigs only drags you down to their level.
Pretty soon onlookers can’t tell if you’re the human or one of the pigs rolling around in the mud. Yuck.
A healthy reputation is what forms the conversations about you behind closed doors. These conversations generate opportunities. Those opportunities make you look lucky (haters will call it privilege). But really, it’s a result of not rolling in the mud with filthy pigs.
Say no to drama to say yes to hidden opportunities.
The ability to keep going when you feel like giving up
The human experience is defined by tragedy.
Rejection, failure, and unfortunate events will find their way into your life. When this happens the average person gives up.
I did it for most of my life. As soon as I didn’t get what I wanted, I’d throw an adult baby tantrum. Many of the successful people I’ve met over the last 5 years aren’t the smartest, wealthiest, or most courageous. No.
They’re stupidly patient. Maybe a little stubborn too.
When it makes logical sense to quit they double down. The truth is we all feel like giving up. The skill to develop during these times is to keep going — because all the results you’re dying to achieve lie on the other side.
The ability to transform Harvard professor concepts into simple ones
The writers I admire aren’t the smartest or even the ones who sell the most books. Nope.
What they do is take complicated concepts that numbskulls like me are unlikely to understand and make them simple.
Simplicity is an art.
It’s easy to pile on a mountain of complexity. To have zero filters or curation. What’s hard is to be disciplined about what ideas you share to explain a topic, and to heavily simplify all of them.
One of the first ways to simplify an idea is to simplify the language. Great bloggers taught me to do this with writing. They write for 5th graders so that more continents around the world can access their work.
The internet flooded the world with information. Those who can make knowledge simple so it can be applied will make loads of cashola.
The ability to invest
There are two types of people in life:
Traders are focused on short-term wins. They check their stats for whatever games they play — career, social media, money, computer games — on a daily basis. They don’t think about the future.
They see major environmental issues as someone else’s problem. All they live for is now, now, now. They trade time for money. They trade time for attention. They trade time for status.
Investors on the other hand are focused on the long-term. They make a series of small bets. They diversify their risk. They’re patient.
They don’t get hooked on dopamine that comes from stat-checking. A bleak economy today is a roaring economy in the future. Nothing is hopeless. Time just needs to do its job
You want to be an investor instead of a trader. Investors get wealthy in life over the long term. Traders eventually become bankrupt in life.
Investments in skills, financial assets, relationships, a healthy career, and family have the highest payoffs.
Upgrade from transactional thinking to investment thinking.
The ability to stay optimistic when America is burning
America has its moments.
Some days it’s the greatest country in the world to live. Other days it feels like the whole system is on fire and nobody cares. The reality is it’s probably somewhere in the middle depending on who you speak to.
The moments when America feels like it’s on fire will always be present. The real skill is to look beyond those moments at the enormous prosperity that follows.
Optimism is a skill that makes everything better. The world isn’t the problem. It’s how you choose to see it that creates or destroys it.
The ability to think on your feet
Corporate culture teaches us to overanalyze. To seek permission. To over plan. To waste time. To have one-too-many meetings.
The ability to think on your feet is rare. It creates speed. And speed is often the deciding factor, not strategy, of what opportunities succeed or fail.
When you have to decide without all the answers, it forces you to rely on gut feelings, basic human instincts, and intuition.
Operate in this zone of genius to beat the average, slow donkey overthinking every little thing (and lighting great opportunities on fire as a result).