Skills I can develop. If I don’t have them I can learn them. If someone else has a skill, it means I can get it too. If I value it and want it, I just have to learn it. Learning skills may take effort, time, attention, and other resources, but I can develop them.
I coach skills to my clients because I find it enables them most to improve their lives too. Skills enable you to become independent. The more skills you develop the yet-more skills you can develop.
Inborn talent either you have or you don’t. I can’t make myself faster than I can possibly go. Among people with inborn talent, the great ones are still great for the skills they developed. Sure Michael Phelps has an anatomy conducive to his sport, but that didn’t win him the medals. Practicing did. I don’t think people admire people with only inborn talent who don’t work at it.
Intelligence, if you view it like most people do, like an unchanging number like an IQ, is just another inborn talent.
I view the concept of intelligence increasingly skeptically as I continue to meet incredible people who would score low on IQ tests yet outperform people with high IQs, people who develop problem solving skills IQ tests don’t measure, people with incredible social skills IQ tests don’t measure, and people with high IQs who don’t solve meaningful problems or can’t create happiness or emotional reward for themselves. To the extent intelligence means solving abstract problems to the exclusion of concrete ones, I’m yet more skeptical.
I value the ability to solve non-abstract problems. I enjoy solving abstract problems like what IQ tests test, but I don’t value inborn talents connected to it. Life doesn’t have abstract problems, it has concrete problems.
Wishes that something were different than it is are fantasy. They may make for a nice children’s book or movie, but wishing doesn’t improve my life. Wishing distracts me from action.
Hope is what you have when you can’t expect. You expect when you know your effort will create the outcome you want. When you don’t know because you don’t have the skills or things are outside your control you hope for the best. The more skills you have the less you hope and the more you expect.
Skills also take the most work and place on you the most responsibility, which is why I think many people decline to pursue them. In my experience they create the outcomes I want the most.
Learn to make Meaningful Connections
with a simple, effective exercise from my book, Leadership Step by Step.
- Step by step instructions
- Video examples of me and Marshall Goldsmith
- An excerpt from my book