Develop a Swiss-Army Knife of Skills

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Adaptability is your greatest weapon.

A wise man once said that everyone should always carry a “second blade.” He wasn’t referring to knives; it means life skills. Almost everyone has at least one thing that they’re definitively good at. By all means, talent should be nurtured and improved upon. But one solitary skill won’t get you through your whole life. You need supplementary skills, extra talents and know-how that you can fall back on when your primary talent isn’t applicable. So how does one develop a second blade?

The best course of action for expanding your skillset is to find jumping-off points in what you already know. For example, let’s say you’re a talented artist. You can draw all sorts of great pictures in a style that people find visually pleasing. Okay, great, but just being good at art isn’t enough. You need to know how to market yourself. Explore other independent artists, ask them how they market themselves. Read up on marketing psychology. After all that, you can market yourself. In other words, you’ve developed business skills. Sure, those skills are tied at first to your art, but they can be easily tweaked to apply to a broad swath of scenarios.

Developing skills is all part of improving yourself, which you should never stop doing. More skills just means more talking points on a resume. More talking points means you’re more appealing to the jobs you want. Going back to the artist example, you might not be able to start out as a freelance artist with your skills alone, but your business skills could help you to get your foot in another part of the industry. As long as you’ve got the drive to continuously better yourself, nothing is outside the realm of possibility.

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2 weeks ago