When You Are Not the Best: Stack Skills

Not The Best at Anything? You Need a Skill Stack ⤵️

Scott Adams introduced the skill stack in one of my favorite books: How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big. Here is the idea:

Every Skill You Acquire Doubles Your Odds of Success. Quote by Scott Adams

No need for excellence or being world-class. You can raise your market value by being merely good — not extraordinary — at more than one skill.

My Application of the Skill Stack

The skill stack is perfect for the generalists and curious. Focus on adding valuable skills and improving existing ones. When choosing a skill to add or enhance, evaluate if it will complement the skill stack. If it does, take it seriously. If it does not, it is a hobby.

I trust there will be opportunities where (a subsection of) my skill stack is unique and valuable to solving a specific set of problems.

My favorite aspect: Building the skill stack and applying it to problems is fun. I never get bored when I’m learning by doing. Learning a new skill is like leveling up a character in a video game, but better because it is real!

A Word on Specialists

I’m a fan of specialists. Anybody focusing on becoming the best in the world in a narrow niche has my respect. Contrary to Scott Adams, I believe specialists are more likely to succeed. Specializing just isn’t for me.

Eight years of going deep into poker taught me I’m happier learning by leaping than creeping. That’s why I had to quit poker and make a career change.

Path of the Generalist

While grinding for incremental improvements is necessary to get good at anything, I don’t want to spend my life inching forward at a single skill. Sprinting is just more fun than running a marathon.

I select the path of the generalist, even if it’s vague and contrary to popular advice. I choose not to compete with specialists in their specialization. In the right circumstances, my combined skills will add more value.

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