Do you have any skill?
I don’t mean Microsoft Office. That’s not a real skill. Advanced Microsoft Excel Automation is a skill.
So, do you have a skill?
Is there anything you can do right now which can help organisations and people, and can be exchanged for money today?
If you do have a skill, ask yourself this: “Compared to the top 5% in my industry, where am I?”
Grade yourself on a scale of 1-10 before you continue. (Be honest with yourself)
Here’s why I’m doing this.
The Lies We Tell
We twenty-somethings like lying to ourselves.
Meet Kore, a 24 year old guy who completed NYSC six months ago.
Kore goes to hang out with his friends.
One of his friends, Daniel, talks about how he has been learning web design over the past few weeks. Kore’s ears stand alert. He gets interested and tells Daniel that he will come to see him later about learning web design. They meet at Daniel’s house. Daniel gives Kore a few ebooks in a flash drive. Kore gets home, copies them from the flash drive into his computer, and promptly leans back in his chair to watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones, with the mind to go through the ebooks later.
A week passes.
Then two weeks.
Then three weeks.
One day while idly going through folders on his computer, he sees the ebooks Daniel gave him. Everything floods back to his memory—the conversation when they all hung out, the meeting at Daniel’s house and their discussion there when Daniel told him how to use the books—everything.
He quickly sits up and starts browsing through the first ebook.
The next day, over the phone, his cousin asks him what he does to occupy himself. He says, “I’m learning web design.”
End of story.
My question: Is Kore learning web design or is he deceiving himself?
The Love of An Idea
Ramit Sethi once wrote:
There’s a difference between loving something and loving the idea of something.
Kore loved the idea of charging and collecting money for designing websites. That’s why he collected the ebooks in the first place. But he didn’t love web design. He didn’t love the boring process of learning HTML5, CSS, PHP, SQL and other things involved in web design.
But skimming an ebook for less than an hour made him feel he was doing something worthwhile.
And Kore is not the only one.
There are many of us twenty-somethings who are literally wasting time loving ideas. For example:
1. Kemi can cook. She loves the idea of being a caterer for weddings and corporate events and wants to do it. But she has neither started classes at any catering school nor internship at any catering company for more than 3 years.
2. Emeka’s friends always go to him for their computer issues. He just seems to know his way around a computer. He has watched movies that made him really like the idea of computer hacking, and he wants to be a computer security consultant. It’s just that in the past 2 years he has not finished reading a single book on Ethical Hacking.
3. Zainab loves Linda Ikeji. She wants to own a blog like that that brings her millions every month like Linda Ikeji. However since when she opened her blog 8 months ago, she has only posted twice.
Can you see the pattern?
Many of us twenty-somethings live in a dream world, expecting that one day, we’ll find the inspiration to get up and do the work needed for success to happen, and then everything will be alright.
This is what I like to call extreme nonsense.
The people who regret in their thirties and forties are typically those who make this endless procrastination a way of life in their twenties. Success does not just come because you want it. The many people in their forties and fifties we know, who come back home every day in a car they don’t like, to an apartment they don’t like, in an area they don’t like, to meet a landlord they don’t like, how do you think It happens to them?
Like I explained in part 2 of this series, the best thing you can do to have a successful future is to start early. Jim Rohn said:
Success is a few simple disciplines, practiced every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day.
It is as simple as that. Your future, good or bad, is your fault.
Now is the best time we have to choose a skill and develop it.
We have energy in our bodies in a level of abundance that we may never have again. We have the ability to learn fast now, which will be more difficult for us in future. We are more creative at this age in our lives than we will be at any other age. We have more freedom to take risks at this age than at any other age.
This is the easiest time to learn a skill and become good at it. If there is a skill you want to learn, go and seriously start learning it now.
Opportunities will definitely meet us in the future. But will it meet us prepared to take advantage or pitifully unprepared?
Only your skills will tell.
What Can You Do Now?
1. Tell me (in the comments) what skill you have been procrastinating on learning, and what you plan to do about it today. Also tick the box marked, “Check before you leave your comment to get these in your mail”
2. Think about a friend who really needs this. Copy the link from the address bar and send it directly to him or her or scroll down and share it on Facebook and Twitter.
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