When we think about financial investments, long-term is usually better than short-term. The longer we hold to our assets, the higher the interests/benefits we might potentially earn in the future. As long as we learn and get educated about the investment instruments we use, most of the times we will be better off sticking to a ‘buy and hold’ strategy. We can think of skill-building in the same terms.
There’s a difference in learning something and using it during the next few weeks or months, and learning something and using it for years. Of course, many skills are not worth spending years with. We just learn the basics, get the job done and put them aside. But these are not the most important, meaningful skills.
Some skills have the power to give purpose and meaning to our existence. Think of a writer, a musician, a surgeon. Becoming a good writer, a good musician or a good surgeon involves getting highly skilled at writing, music, and surgery, respectively. These skills represent what they do and their gift to the world. They’re deeply connected to who these people are.
If you are lucky, you have already found a skill you want to master for the rest of your life. But if you haven’t found it yet, there’s hope for you! 🙂 You can come up with one. It’s possible you need to go out there more, try out new things, and develop your curiosity. And don’t worry about ‘passion’. That’s something you grow with time, after spending months and years with the skill.
One Long-term Skill
In the meanwhile, here are some questions to get your imagination fired:
- Which skill would you choose if you could only pick one?
- What’s the single skill you would like to develop for the rest of your life?
- How would you approach it if you knew you’d be practicing it for the next 20, 30, or 40 years?
- What could you accomplish in a couple decades of commited practice?
Compound Interest & Skill-building
When you spend increasingly longer stretches of time with and activity, you can generally expect to get better at it. It’s not only about spending a lot of time with it, though. You need to be focused, mindful and attentive. You need to examine and evaluate what you’re doing. Fine-tune your approach and find ways to get even better.
If you stick with the same skill for the long haul, you will have the opportunity to develop depth and mastery. The benefits grow exponentially. The higher the mastery level achieved, the bigger the benefits you will reap. As you get increasingly better, you get increasingly rare. That makes you even more valuable to the world. Your contributions will be bigger and your satisfaction will grow along.
Choosing a skill to develop for the rest of your life doesn’t cost money. It’s free for everyone. Now, getting better is not easy. You need to commit, to put in the time and energy, and show up to practice. If you’re patient, consistent, and persistent, the results will eventually manifest. And you’ll get to benefit from them for a long time.