We live in a society where people depend on each-other. Maybe a little too much.
A man that can stand on his own two feet is rare. A man who can support others is almost unimaginable.
This used to be expected.
People these days and men especially have become surprisingly ‘specialized’ I.E. useless. They know nothing outside of the functions of their day job and when asked in-depth questions about what they do, they usually don’t have much more insight.
Someone else cooks your food, does your laundry and here in the lovely state of California, someone will even come and change your flat tire for you within 5 minutes of pulling over. This is all well and good – but what about when there is no one there? Will you be able to rely on yourself? Will someone else be able to rely on you?
When someone proves themselves competent in a multitude of situations, time and time again, that person is valued. When the going gets tough, the least valuable people are cut first.
Skills are what make you valuable.
Every skill you acquire is like a tool in a tool belt. You may not always need it, but there are times when it comes in handy. So dabble in many things and you will be valued.
So what are some good things to know about then, Charles?
Cars – they are just about everyone’s means of transportation. Sometimes they break.
Computers – everyone uses them. Sometimes they break.
General first aid – Everybody gets hurt from time to time.
Construction – everyone lives in a house, even if you live in an apartment, some landlords don’t fix a thing.
Basic Navigation – if you are ever lost.
Social Dynamics – how you interact with people is probably the greatest factor in determining your station in life.
Here are a couple examples of times when unexpected skills came in handyfor me:
Once, when selling baseball tickets door-to-door, I was challenged to climb a rope, legless. He said that if I did it, he would buy the tickets. If I hadn’t been training my body for the past year, that wouldn’t have been possible.
At my current job working IT, I’ve been asked to spray-paint and hammer/drillthings. Knowing how to use tools (being the son of an electrician) I handled these tasks with ease.
Long before I worked in IT – knowing about computers helped me in just about every job I’ve had. That skill also helped me make money on the side when I was in college. Friends around me often got jealous and ‘wished they could do something like that.’ I often gave them a puzzled look, as just about everyone has internet access and can learn anything they want.
So how can you become more useful?
Broaden your horizons.
Try plenty of new things, even if it’s only once. Learn how to play a new sport. Go work a job completely unrelated to your career where you are out of your element. Work on projects around the house. It’s better to know a little about everything and how things work. Work on your car, just once. It will open your eyes to the troubles that mechanics go through every day. The experience of having done these things will better serve you – you will know what you are talking about and be less likely to get swindled.
No one has ever been worse off for knowing even an obscure skill.
They don’t always have to be skills though. Having many experiences will give you an unparralleled frame of reference. So travel if you can and if you can’t – meet people from other countries.
Those are some rather specific skills. You can work on those or you can build skills that will enhance every aspect of your life.
Become stronger. Being stronger has helped me in every aspect of my life from learning how to be more driven to more people wanting to be around me.
Learn about social dynamics. Learning how to persuade others will help you get anything you want in life.
Learn how to dress well. People judge you by how you look. Deal with it.
All skills will serve you, some more than others.
No matter what you choose to do.
One thing is certain, you must always be learning.