I don’t necessarily agree with everything said in the following, but I stumbled upon this question in Quora, which was by pure chance that I didn’t instantly delete the newsletter from my email, and found it refreshingly plain, yet (mostly) accurate. My reservations are on the part of social performance and skills of entertaining – i.e. playing the guitar – but I get the main idea. I suppose some of these aren’t interesting to me, but they would apply to someone far more successful than I. Either way… just sharing:
- Q: What can I start doing now that will help me a lot in about five years?
- I will appreciate any suggestion. You might want to know that I’m 23 years old and currently a physics student with large desire for progress, not only in my profession but also in all aspects of life.
- A: Want to see your personal stock double or more in five years? Here’s the prescription.
- We are all evaluated and judged in social and work settings all the time and usually in a brief instant. We are not judged on education. We are not judged on grades. We are not judged on IQ.
We are judged on skills, pretty much solely. People prefer the company of those who are physically handy and socially adept. Competence counts. In fact, people with high IQ or lots of schooling but low skill levels can be judged quite negatively.
- Can you change a flat tire or swap out a dead car battery?
- Can you pick up a guitar and entertain a room?
- Are you handy at crafts?
Even more important are the social skills, particularly…
- Are you an excellent listener?
- Can you instantly make people at ease in your presence?
- Can you control the atmosphere in a room, making it light or serious as appropriate?
- Do you have moral courage? Are you willing to say and do the necessary in any circumstance rather than shrink back?
Other social skills are important…
- Can you speak from the heart?
- Are you free from glib, gratuitous, offensive and non-productive remarks?
- Can you compete when necessary, collaborate when necessary?
The social graces are also important…
- Can you dance? play the piano? sing? tell rousing stories? etc.
There are bonus points for gender cross-over skills. When a woman can…
- Use common tools competently.
- Not shrink in the company of males.
- Roll up her sleeves and do hard physical work when necessary.
Or a man can…
- Comfort an upset child.
- Cook, sew, do laundry.
- Feel at home in the company of women.
Such cross-over skills indicate androgyny, or high skills across the masculine and feminine range. The highest slots in society are usually home to the androgynous.
Figure out the skills you’d like to possess. Take classes. Read books. Practice every day. Push yourself. Build on your strengths and eliminate your weaknesses. It’s fun, a great way to make friends, and your stock will rise quickly.