The idea of “talent” is BS.
You can have no skills and still reach enormously high places in your life.
Rather than think you need to be born special or get lucky, why not spend your time on simple things you can do that give you unexplainable, unreasonable, and frankly, stunning results.
I’ve have focused on this list of things because I don’t have a lot of talent. When my mind went to a dark place because of mental illness, I found a way back to the light again by focusing on these skills.
Experiment with each of these = life changed forever.
Show up with high energy
Energy is not only the basis of our existence, it is the fuel that makes everything in our lives real and possible — Tony Robbins
Your energy level is something you can control. You can choose to show up with high levels of energy. And when you do, people won’t forget you easily. Energy is infectious. Everyone wants to be near the energy center that lights up a room — or better, can be completely silent and still radiate energy.
Energy is life.
Do what you promise
When someone promises to do something for me, it’s rare they ever do. That’s why follow up is a huge part of my life.
I follow up with people who promise to take action and then don’t (hoping I’ll forget). But I don’t forget. I have a Trello board to track all the broken promises given to me.
If people just did what they promised to do then I wouldn’t have a job.
Doing what you say you’re going to do is huge because it’s incredibly rare. When a person I work with does what they promise we usually become friends for life. This little life-hack is a differentiator. People who have the results you’re seeking respect a person who does what they say.
Pro tip: Do more than you’re asked to do
My mentor said this to me once: doing what you say is the least you can do. The superpower is when you deliver more than you promised. This creates raving fans and a support network around you who will respect you and do anything they can to be around you.
A reader messaged me asking for help. I sent them a 400-word response, wrote a blog post dedicated to them, and gave them one of my digital products for free.
They got what they asked for plus a lot more. Now we talk almost every day. Why couldn’t you surprise people by doing more than you promised?
Undersell what you can do and then overdeliver.
Respect people’s time
Wasting a person’s time is worse than stealing money from their mother.
A person can never get their time back. Once your time is spent, it’s gone.
You can’t relive this moment right now ever again. So treat people’s time with respect. Ask them if they can talk without expectation? Watch the clock and ensure you don’t make them late.
Pro tip 1: Give people time back
When you give someone time back in their day they love it. If you can end the meeting early then do it.
Pro tip 2: Be on time
If you’re not five minutes early, then you’re probably late. As a productivity nerd I like to be fifteen-minutes early to every in-person meeting. Why?
Being late is stressful.
You have enough stress to deal with, so why don’t you take a load off and be on time for once. Being late is disrespectful. Show up on time because you value other people’s time.
To be late is to silently tell a person “you’re worthless.”
Be open to feedback
Take feedback like a soldier. Have the gun aimed at you and let it blow up in your face.
A person who can’t take feedback won’t be helpful. They think they are always right, yet they are like the rest of: they know 0.0013% of what google knows.
When you’re open to feedback you learn faster. You get to put your fragile ego aside and hear the truth. The truth will set you free.
Coachable people are damn sexy.
Do the work
There are many queue jumpers in life.
They want to skip doing the hard work and get results faster than everybody else. They don’t pay the price with effort. I see this, as a writer, all the time. Writers I observe want to write one viral article and become famous, not realizing fame will destroy them.
Or there are writers who think they can write one book and have it be a best-seller. So they don’t pitch publishers. They’re too good for that. They decide to pay a business to write, edit, market and launch their book. In the end, the book flops. They didn’t show up and do the writing. The reader can tell when they read the book. The stories they tell are lifeless. The experiences they share are skin deep. The vulnerability they display is a shallow pool of nothingness. You feel empty at the end.
There are ways to optimize and fast-track your progress, of course. But you can’t skip the queue entirely. And even if you find a way, you won’t be happy or fulfilled because you would have cheated yourself.
Cheating yourself feels terrible; it turns good people’s souls to ash.
Work on your body language
Body language tells your story. If you stand up straight, you can look and feel confident. Confidence helps when you have no idea what you’re doing (how I feel most days).
Shoulders back, back straight, eyes on one person, and some light hand movements — and you’ve got an unstoppable weapon to use against imposter syndrome or feeling like you’re not enough.
A positive attitude
How do you feel after someone complains to you?
How do feel when someone blames everybody around them?
How you feel when someone tells you the world is against them?
Let me answer for you: you feel like sh*t.
Negativity sucks the life out of you. There is so much negativity in the world already. It takes zero talent to buck the trend and be a little positive.
Try to see the world better than it is.
Show up with a smile rather than a face full of blame. People buy into your life when they like how you see the world. A small number of people will enjoy a worldview that says we’re all screwed.
If all you do is deploy some positivity you’ll be ahead of the many people around you who are overcome by their undisciplined mind full of negative thoughts. Meditation can help you tame your mind, and your thoughts.
If you’re not passionate about what you do, you might be doing the wrong type of work. Work that you enjoy brings out your natural passion.
Many have just enough work ethic to stay in a job they hate but not enough self-awareness to know it’s time to leave — Tony Abbacchi
Passion is what shows people you care. When you’re not passionate you push away the people who could make your life interesting. These same people often become friends for life — the best part of a regular job.
Passion is a compass. It points you in the right direction. If I can’t shut you up about golf then I know what you’re passionate about.
What can’t people shut you up about?
Going 4% further
You hit a brick wall. You’re ready to give up. You’ve tried everything. You’re at rockbottom. The world looks dark. Strangers dim your light. You can’t see. Your vision is blurry. You don’t believe in yourself anymore.
What can you do that requires zero talent? Go 4% further than your breaking point. It’s not an exact mathematical formula; more of a finger in the air measurement. Take the pain and go a smidgen further. You owe it to yourself to see how far you can go.
Sleep on it
Life can be a frustrating mess.
When it all gets too much, before you blow up at an innocent person, sleep on your anger. Switch your phone off. Have a warm shower and let your problems wash down the drain. Go to bed early. Make it a 9-hour sleep.
Sleeping on your problems gives them new perspective. You won’t wake up today with your problems looking the same as yesterday. Problems morph, and change shape, with your energy levels.
These are the skills I have put a lot of effort into and they each require zero talent. Before you go and study machine learning for the next five years, try these tiny skills first. Your life improves when you improve.
You improve when you become mentally stronger and focus on treating people well by default. Show us what you can do with zero-talent skills.