Recently I read a book by Scott Adams, the author of Dilbert. If you didn’t know yet, Dilbert is the comic strip you see in major newspapers. The book was an easy and amazing read. Probably because of how much I could relate to things mentioned in the book. I recommend you to buy the book, ‘How To Fail At Almost Everything & Still Win Big‘.
In his book, Scott mentioned about one of his formula to success.
Every skill you acquire doubles your odds of success. This isn’t anything to do of being world class. The idea is that you can raise your market value by being merely good – not extraordinary – at more than one skill.
In simple terms, you’re better off having two complementary skills than just being good at one. Ignore the possibility that you might be one of the best performers in the world at a certain skill. Of course that can be very valuable but realistically, you won’t be reading this blog if you can compose a hit song or build bestselling mobile apps every single day.
Why Doubling Your Skills Bring You Success
Each skill you acquire doubles your odds of success. Granted some skills are more useful than others. Some skills can make you more money, like negotation skills. And some skills have near to no practical value at all, like being able to roll your tongue. (I can’t roll my tongue.)
However if you think of acquiring a new skills as a mean to pushing the odds to your success, your attitude towards learning more becomes better, as compared if you assume the benefit of learning a new skill will go to waste.
For example, having a fluency in all three major languages, English, Malay & Chinese (the more the better), would get you ahead of the line in many types of jobs in Malaysia. Having a good (not great) ability to speak on stage and knowing how to design a presentation, puts you ahead many speakers and CEOs.
Simple Formula: Good + Good > Excellent
Many if not (most), successful people has more than one skill and they leverage few ordinary skills.
Take Scott Adams, for example.
He’s a rich and famous cartoonist, who doesn’t draw complex cartoons but only very simple cartoons. You’ll discover in his book that he’s not a the funniest person at social gatherings. His writing skills are good, not extraordinary. He had business experience in corporate America that helped him made Dilbert a success.
With each new skill Scott acquired, his odds of success got boosted. He had internet skills (before it was cool), from working at Pacific Bell which helped him put Dilbert on the internet.
Scott’s skill roundup: Poor art skills, mediocre business skills, good not extraordinary writing, a can-do sense of humour and early knowledge of the internet.
When it’s skills, the number of skills you have often beats quality.
Learning Different Fields, Gives You A Bigger Perceptive
Imagine trying to explain music theory to an electrical engineer. It’s going to be much harder.
However if you explain that there are formulas to music theory near similar to engineering formulas, it becomes much easier. Everything you learn becomes a shortcut to understanding something else. In this case you understand a better way to explain music theory to an electrical engineer.
Likewise, a financial manager and a musician can both walk down the same shopping isle. They are both walking at the same place but both of them perceives the world differently. The financial manager observes the cashiers exchanging money while the musician possibly notices the sound of music going through the speakers at the shopping isle.
To see the world and your work bigger, sometimes it’s important to take a step out of your perception. Learn different things and acquire more skills. You’ll begin to see the world differently and close in your chances of success.
Where Do I Go From Here?
I’m a firm believer of learning as much as possible. Not only learning a single skill but acquiring different types of skills.
As a musician, I didn’t just study music, but I explored internet marketing, branding, finances and more. I start my mornings by usually consuming half an hour of learning on sites like Udemy when my brain is at its freshest. I think the more skills I acquire along the way increases my chance of success and I’m sure they will for you too.
By the way, I’m running a 1 day intensive Video & Audio Masterclass on the 12th of December 2015, with a great friend of mine, who is a director of photography for lots of TV production. Maybe this is a good time for you to acquire the skill for professional video editing.
What skills have you acquired so far and how are they working towards your success? Please comment below because I’d love to hear from you.