Many years ago, being able to draw was a critical skill. Individuals who knew how to draw maps and record a battlefield’s topography were invaluable to the military. Today? Not so much. While the ability to draw was a critical skill during a certain time period, it is not as necessary today due to advancements in technology and mapping software.
There are two types of skills that professionals have (and work on) in our current environment. Expiring skills are critical in each time but likely to diminish in importance as the field evolves. Permanent skills are as essential today as they were 100 years ago and will still be vital in the next 100 years.
Expiring skills tend to be trendy and valued by employers, but the permanent skills are the skills that compound over time, making them more valuable. Here are some tips on permanent skills that will serve you well today and throughout your career.
Always be a decent person.
Too many people act like they know it all or are arrogant, which counteracts their talents. You cannot learn how to be a decent person in school, but this is one of the most critical permanent skills you can ever develop.
Recognize when your skill has expired.
Sometimes, a skillset that was once highly valued runs its course. Employers and clients no longer need that particular skill. It is important to consider that what we believe about our fields is either right but temporary or wrong but convincing. Be willing to accept when it is time to develop new skills.
Be able to work with different people.
You will not always like or agree with your colleagues, supervisors, or clients. However, you must be able to deal with them diplomatically. Housel says that those who view every disagreement as a battle that must be won will end up stuck and bitter.
Get to the point as soon as possible.
Another important permanent skill that will always be valuable is being able to get to the point quickly. Say what you need to say and move on. People are busy. This is not being curt; it is simply respecting their time.
Recognize that luck and risk play a role in decisions.
Acknowledging risk is when something happens outside of your control that influences outcomes, and you realize it might happen again. Acknowledging luck is when something happens outside of our control that affects outcomes, and you know it might not happen again. It is about how you look at the results.
Identify when and how to add value.
Sometimes, this means staying out of the way, and other times it means actively helping. Always look for the right way to add value to your team or organization and be ready to adapt.
Recognize there will be difficulties and hassles.
Life will not always be easy, which is why it is crucial to learn how to deal with trouble when it arises.
Demonstrate patience and an open mind.
Sometimes your perspective may not be the best one for the situation. It is a useful skill to know when something is “temporarily out of favor,” and when something is “wrong.” Every field is cyclical, and the only way to be part of the good times is to weather the bad.
Both expiring skills and permanent skills are important to your success in business and life. But if you are going to invest your energy refining a few skills, make sure they are ones that will last. Being good to people and always trying to improve yourself will always be necessary. And these skills will help you thrive.
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