The 1 Question You Must Answer Before Choosing a Skill to Master
As I was nearing the end of my second master’s degree, I understood I’d have to choose a skill to learn and excel at if I hoped to earn a living other than through having an office job.
I looked at all the options out there: I wasn’t super visually creative, so I let graphic design go. One of my best friends was a computer scientist, so I considered learning to code but didn’t make it past HTML (which isn’t even code).
Later on, I found out that there was a shortage of about 500 000 data scientists in Europe. As I browsed for a python-advice article, I realize many data scientists were quitting their jobs in high numbers.
The last option remaining on the table was writing. I wasn’t bad at it. I had come up third in a local speech writing tournament at 17 and had been chosen many times to deliver public speeches in my city.
Unlike many of my peers, I didn’t hate writing. But I didn’t “love” it either, mainly because whatever I wrote had always been commissioned by a teacher, with rules and structures to respect.
In February 2020, I started my personal blog after my brother kindly offered to host it on his account. I started writing while thinking I wouldn’t go past five articles.
This present one is my 117th.
The truth is that I didn’t know I liked writing so much until I started. And the more I wrote, the more I enjoyed it.
Slowly, the idea of earning a living through writing made its way until my computer scientist friend told me a secret about skill-building I will never forget.
We were discussing his experience learning code and my interest in doing it too when he said the following:
“If you are not ready to code every day, don’t learn it”.
That stroke me. I wasn’t ready to code every day.
In fact, out of all the skills I had considered learning to monetize, writing was the only one I could reasonably see myself practice on a daily basis. Writing was the one I could see myself excel at. Writing was the one I felt comfortable enough to earn a living with.
Practicing a skill every day seems daunting. Cards on the table, it is not easy. However, it doesn’t have to be “painful” or “bad” if you enjoy the practice. There are plenty of other things you do every day without them seeming wearisome.
Eating, commuting, taking a shower, reading, and sleeping are only a small number of tasks we repeat and for which we don’t feel any remote feeling of boredom.
So next time you’re looking for your next skill to master, ask yourself if you’d feel comfortable practicing it every day. Then go for it, and practice. Practice. And practice.
Execution is the real secret of success.
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