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Here’s How You Can Be Successful Even Though You Have No Special Skills

Here’s How You Can Be Successful Even Though You Have No Special Skills

Since we were young, we were always taught that having special skills’ necessary to our future success.

We’re forever being sold a lie on how to prosper in life: discover what you’re best at, work hard at it, swim in an ocean of riches and happiness.

That works brilliantly if you were born the best at something, but for everyone else, it’s kind if soul-crushing. What if you don’t have any world class skills? What if you’re just ok at lots of things?

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The good news is, nearly everybody is like this, and that includes ultra-successful megastars. Very few successful people are actually the best at something. They’re usually a really effective mix of lots of things that matter.

Bill Gates is not the best programmer in the world, nor is he the world’s greatest speaker, salesperson, visionary or accountant. He’s good enough at these things though, and he’s learnt to weld his skills together into something far more valuable.

Will Smith doesn’t claim to be the world’s greatest actor or musician. But he’s coupled these skills together, combined with a charming personality, shrewd personal branding, and a die-hard work ethic. His whole is far greater than his parts.

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Most such people would have made a terrible mistake had they solely focussed on the one skill they were ‘best’ at. Steve Jobs might have become a used car salesman.

Even when your skills are mediocre, an astute combination of mediocrity can turn you into something priceless.

Say you’re a passable tennis player. You love the game, but you know you’ll never be a world champion. By itself, this skill isn’t worth much. But you learn to combine that skill with the ability to teach well. Later, you figure out how to make tuition videos, and how to promote yourself on the Internet. You won’t be the best at making videos, or online-promotion, but even mediocre skills combined are unique. You could build a thriving online business doing what you love and yet all your individual skills never advanced beyond ‘good-ish’.

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This works for any profession. An average businessperson who learns a bit of law, or body language, or programming, or design, or public speaking can assert a monumental advantage over their peers. Indeed, you might say what makes someone a great businessperson is a fusion of relevant skills, like psychology and self-discipline.

Individual skills are common. Combinations are rarer. If you want to raise your value, take a step back from your strengths, and consider building a broader combination of them.

Oliver Emberton is an entrepreneur, writer, programmer and artist who writes about life and how to make the most of it.

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Featured photo credit: Superhero kid sitting on a wall that controls the city via shutterstock.com

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Anna Chui

Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the Content Strategist of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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Last Updated on January 25, 2021

6 Reasons Why Perfectionism Kills Your Productivity

6 Reasons Why Perfectionism Kills Your Productivity

Perfectionism sounds like a first world problem, but it stifles creative minds. Having a great idea but doubting your ability to execute it can leave you afraid to just complete and publish it. Some of the most successful inventors failed, but they kept going in pursuit of perfection. On the other end of the spectrum, perfectionism can hinder people when they spend too much time seeking recognition, gathering awards and wasting time patting themselves on the back. Whatever your art, go make good art and don’t spend time worrying that your idea isn’t perfect enough and certainly don’t waste time coming up with a new idea because you’re still congratulating yourself for the last one.

1. Remember, perfection is subjective.

If you’re worried about achieving perfectionism with any single project so much that you find yourself afraid to just finish it, then you aren’t being productive. Take a hard look at your work, edit and revise, then send it our into the world. If the reviews aren’t the greatest, learn from the feedback so you can improve next time.

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2. Procrastination masquerades itself as perfectionism.

People who procrastinate aren’t always lazy or trying to get out of doing something. Many who procrastinate do so because perfectionism is killing their productivity, telling them that if they wait a better idea will come to them.

3. Recognize actions that waste time.

Artists and all creative people need time to incubate; those ideas will only grow when properly watered, but if you’re not engaging in an activity that will help foster creativity, you might just be wasting time. Remember to do everything with purpose, even relaxing.

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4. Don’t discriminate against your worth.

No one is actually perfect. We often have tremendous ideas or write things that move people emotionally, but no one attains that final state of being perfect. So, don’t get down if your second idea isn’t as good as your first—or vice versa. Perfectionists tend to be the toughest critics of their work, so don’t criticize yourself. You are not your work no matter how good or how bad.

5. Stress races your heart and freezes your innovation.

Stress is a cyclic killer that perfectionists know well because that same system that engages and causes your palms to sweat over a great idea is the same system that kicks in and worries you that you’re not good enough. Perfectionism means striving for that ultimate level, and stress can propel you forward excitedly or leave you shaking in fear of the next step.

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6. Meeting deadlines beats waiting for perfect work.

Don’t let your fear of failure prevent you from meeting your deadline. Perfection is subjective and if you’re wasting time or procrastinating, you should just finish the job and learn from any mistakes. Being productive means completing work. You shouldn’t try for months or even years to perfect one project when you can produce projects that improve over time.

Featured photo credit: morguefile via mrg.bz

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