Most of what I’ve learned comes from experience, often failures — the times I’ve been called ‘stupid’, the time I made a mistake on Youtube, the time when I tried be to be smart but it backfired — they’re all experiences that have taught me something valuable.
But besides the lessons that come from experiencing, I’ve also learned a lot from books. You could say, in a sense, that I’ve had many mentors from the books I’ve read who’ve helped shape the way I think and view life.
In Tim Ferriss’ latest book, The Tools of Titans, I stumbled across a piece of advice from Scott Adams, the creator of the comic strip Dilbert, that really resonated with me and made me reevaluate my career choices. He said:
If you want to be extraordinary, you have two paths:
1) Become the best at one specific thing.
2) Become very good (top 25%) at two or more things.
Every one of us have dreamed of being the best at something, at one point or another, but the truth is, deep inside, most of us know we will never be the best. It’s not that we’re being self-deprecating, it’s us being practical. The bar in becoming the best in any industry is so high that unless someone is willing to dedicate their entire life towards it, it’s not likely to be possible. For those people who succeed, it’s more than just their dream, it’s their life.
Becoming very good at two or more things on the other hand is a lot more achievable. The idea is that by being good at two things, you’ll not only beat the majority of people who focus on one, but you’ll have the opportunity to take those two skills and merge them to create something unique and special that belongs to you.
Scott Adams attributes his success with Dilbert by combining two of the things he knew best: his ability to draw and his satirical sense of humor.
I haven’t quite figured out what my two skills are yet, but at least I’m thinking about it, and it’s a start.
Now it’s my turn to ask you: What are two skills that you could really see yourself pursuing?