Really important skills

My friend’s brother once asked me when he was about 15 what it takes to become really skilled at something. I’ve remembered our conversation ever since I sat down and talked to him. It’s also the advice I’ve given to people when I’ve been coaching them in entrepreneurship. It all comes down to good ideas anyway:

1. Be more curious. Always.

2. Do NOT surround yourself with yes-men, and people padding you on the shoulder telling you how amazing you are. There’s little development that comes from it, and you wont get your ideas tested. On the other hand, you can’t survive without supporters, and you must have a good portion of screw-you mentality towards no-men. In other words: trust yourself, but be good at listening to critique. It will make you better.

3. Be humble. Admit you don’t know everything, and that you aren’t born a leader, nor are you a boss unless you earn the skills to be so. You gotta learn, pay attention to the process, and move towards the goal. That requires ability to recognize complex patterns,  be emotionally smart, and keep your feet in a bucket of ice.

4. If you want it. Work for it. I know it’s easy to say –  however, there’s no such thing as a 40 hour work week to become really skilled. But you have to listen to yourself, too. Intuition and creativity are things most people forget, when they say work work work. You can’t just work and expect things to become brilliant. You need your spirit to do so.
Remember how it is to play an instrument, or paint? If you keep forcing yourself, stressing yourself, you wont get to what you want. If you remember to keep your body and mind in balance and listen to both you’ll obtain a much better result. (Take this from me who practiced violin since the age of five, seven hrs a day. It made me darn good. But I didn’t just play the notes. I played music) Got it? OK!

5. Passion. Passion. Passion! If you’re not excited about your work, you aren’t going to influence anyone, nor make an impression. You gotta live it, dude! It will make people support, follow, and listen to you.

6. Do things that scare you. If you think no one is going to try to get to you; steal your ideas; do the work better, then you should run home and ask mama for a gardening job. But if you’re ready to look the big kids in the eyes – even that tiny girl with that awesome brain in the back of the class – then you’re ready for it. Remember, you won’t know everything at any point in your life, you’re at a constant learning curve, so there’s no time for ready, there’s just DO IT.

8. Art – you need to engage in art. If not, your skills will become like undefinable gray paint. Color them up! xoxo

7. Don’t call yourself anything you aren’t. If you haven’t invented something and actually implemented it, don’t call yourself an entrepreneur. It takes blood, sweat and tears. And you’re not a social innovator just because you walked another way around the block to collect money for the Save-The-Children campaign. This is about being humble like I said before. You have to earn it. And when you earn it, you gain self-respect. And seriously, that feels so ‘effing good! But remember.

8. Even though I believe in the process, complexity and the full supply chain of good ideas and innovations, we mustn’t forget the result, and what we’re working for. Process oriented work has become extremely popular. But there exists things called 1st edition, 2nd edition and so forth. I never thought I’d say this, but I have to agree with my old grandfather who built hydro-power plants in Sweden, and saved both the fish and wildlife at the same time: “You have to make both thing work, no one is more important than the other (humans or animals) But you need to get the job done! Not just talk and feel how good it can be once it is.”

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Kajsa Li Paludan

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