“Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills” – Napoleon Dynamite
There is no deny that our world has transformed into one of impatience. Many of us have become people who need instant gratification. We’ve invented things to provide this, like the microwave that delivers us warm food within minutes and phones that can download new apps and music in seconds. Hell, we can even flirt with single people with just the flick of a finger. I, for one, think this is amazing. Who couldn’t be excited about getting what we want exactly when we want it?
This desire for instant results, though, has had negative effects as well. Many of us no longer care to place time into endeavors that may or may not pay off in the long-term. Things like working out 4-5 times a week, dieting, pushing for a promotion, or simply pursuing our goals become abandon to our present desires. Each day, we make a choice between what we want now and what we want in the future, and unfortunately, what we want now often wins.
These choices, in the long run, bring us to an unwanted destination: a mediocre life. Such a life is characterized by the fact that we are consistently unhappy with where we are. It’s a life where we can’t wait for tomorrow, the weekend, or some future event where we’ll start to have fun again.
The biggest disappointment, however, is our jealousy over what other people have. The fancy cars, the big houses, great relationships and beautiful vacations; why can’t we have that too? What makes them so different than us? While this answer could range from many intangible such as motivation, perseverance, and self-confidence, let’s try focusing on something we can actually see for once. The thing these people really have? They got skills.
Developing skills is a game-changer when thinking about ways to improve our lives. Often, self-improvement is shown to us in the form of those intangibles mentioned above and how we can develop those intangibles though action. Skills, however, allow us to actually see ourselves get better. They’re something that we can learn and practice until they build up into an asset. Skills can be anything from learning the guitar, a different language, how to code, how to socialize, public speaking, or literally anything that we could see bringing value to our lives or other’s lives. They’re an accomplishment that we display to the world.
Imagine having your family over for dinner and being able to actually cook a four-course meal for them. Imagine being able to impress your boss on the golf outing with your smooth swing and low score. Or speaking to a foreigner in their language. Or creating your own jewelry. Imagine becoming so good at something that you become a pro, sell your creations, teach, or even turn that skill into a job or career. All that while doing something you enjoy.
The most important point to remember about skills is that they can be learned. The master of any skill or profession was once a beginner just like us. Sure, some people have talents that others don’t have, but talent doesn’t equate to mastering a skill. Mastering a skill takes time and effort. Plus, hard work trumps talent every time. We’ve all seen the players who get drafted in the first round but become busts while the players who go undrafted become all stars. That’s because those drafted first are drafted on talent while those who work for their success end up coming out on top.
When we first start learning a skill, we suck. Yes, we’re terrible. Every band that has stood the test of time once sucked. Then, each day, we get a little better until we actually get really good. Once we get really good, we can start putting our new skill to the test and let it develop itself over time. And the best part about learning a skill: we can look back and remember how much we sucked. How’s that for motivation that we can accomplish anything?
There are millions of skills out there that we can learn for little or no cost. The internet has thousands of web sites with free lectures, guides and videos to get us started on learning whatever it is we choose instantly. So at least we still get a small taste of instant results. Once we choose the perfect skill for us, all it takes is hard work and patience to watch it grow. The possibilities that life can bring to us once we harness our new skills are endless.
A quote that I love is “Find three hobbies; one to make you money, one to keep you in shape, and one to be creative.” What this mystery person is really saying is: develop skills that allow you to have these three hobbies. We all deserve to live a full, non-mediocre life. Finding and learning skills will not only bring us that life, but will help us transform into an incredible person. Let’s make it happen!