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Every New Skill You Acquire Doubles Your Odds of Success

“Every new skill you acquire doubles the odds of your success.” -Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert Comics

A Super Bowl-winning quarterback needs to know more than how to just throw a ball.

They also need to learn mental toughness, nutrition, diet, team leadership, contract negotiations, brand building, strengths and conditioning, interview/public speaking, and more.

After studying literally thousands of the world’s top performers, high-performance coach Brendon Burchard once explained:

“Someone who reaches high performance in any career must have competence in many of the areas that touch that career.”

You may have expertise over your “main” skill — but what other skills could you develop that would elevate you into a truly elite status?

Every new skill you acquire doubles your odds of success.

The truth is, most people aren’t willing to do the work necessary to succeed. This means that by “doing the work”, you separate yourself from the herd and become a top competitor.

But by continually mastering new skills, you’ll be able to handle and adapt to the nonstop evolution of the world (technology, personnel change, new and foreign obstacles).

The world’s most successful people aren’t “busy,” they’re focused. Specifically, they’re focused on mastering a diverse set of skills that will elevate them into elite status and mastery.

“The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways.” -Robert Greene

Your Road to Mastery Requires a Diverse Skill-Set

Odds are, you probably don’t have the skills right now to fully manage your “dream life.”

I think it’s a bit funny when people complain and pine over the extravagant lifestyle of “all those rich people” — athletes, actors, entrepreneurs, singers, etc. These people don’t realize the level of self-discipline and responsibility these individuals have to practice, every single day.

  • Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s daily workout and diet routines would probably kill most people.
  • Academy Award winner Anthony Hopkins has practiced his craft in over 120 movies. (Samuel L. Jackson has appeared in over 165 movies and counting).
  • LeBron James (and every other active NBA player) hone their skills over 82 games across a 9-month season.

Your road to mastery requires a powerful skill set — not just in your “main thing,” but also several other supporting areas. Few people ever choose to master these areas.

The life you want — a live lived on your terms — requires many new skills. If you don’t acquire and develop these skills, you’ll never reach your full potential and gain your ideal life.

Here’s a personal example.

Years ago, I was a no-name blogger with a dream to be a “writer.” Back then, I thought that the only skill I needed to master was “writing”, and maybe a few other things like knowing how to use Mailchimp.

It wasn’t until I finally started to see some writing success that I realized:

I needed to learn a lot more skills if I wanted to be successful.

I’ve learned that writers need to have a diverse skill-set if they want to succeed. In the past 2 years, I’ve had to learn lots of skills (prepare to scroll):

  • Email marketing
  • Online course creation
  • Domain and URL set-up
  • Coding
  • Video editing
  • Public speaking
  • Networking
  • Webinars
  • Sales letters
  • Email pitches
  • Self-publishing
  • Shipping/order fulfillment
  • Coaching

The list goes on.

A Super Bowl-winning quarterback needs to know more than just how to “throw a ball”.

A NYT best-selling author needs to know more than just how to “write a book.”

An Academy Award-winning actor needs to know more than just how to “act.”

You need a diverse skill-set if you want to achieve truly extraordinary, top-tier success. That’s why the world’s most successful high-performers are always focused on learning, growing, and developing new skills for an ever-changing world.

In the words of best-selling author Hal Elrod:

“Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development, because success is something you attract by the person you become.”

Your ability to succeed depends heavily on your level of personal growth (i.e. skill-set), because success doesn’t happen to you, it happens because of you.

Focus on Learning and Creating, Not Entertainment and Distraction

“If you want to live an extraordinary life, you have to give up many of the things that are part of a normal one.” -Srinivas Rao

The average person seeks entertainment and distraction.

But truly extraordinary top-performers focus on learning and acquiring new skills.

The only way to achieve the life you want is to focus on learning and personal development. Remember — you attract success by the person you become. How much success do you think you’ll attract

It’s far easier to focus on entertainment that it is on learning and growing. It’s easier to watch TV than read a book. But you reap what you sow.

Learning new skills takes time. It requires you to try, fail, try again, and fail again, endlessly. In the end, most people opt to sit on the couch and numb themselves with any number of substances, TV shows, video games, or social media.

Becoming a master — living life on your terms — has a high entry barrier. That means it’s tough to actually live this life; it’s why most people aren’t living the life they really want.

If you want to live life on your terms, you need to focus more and learning and growing.

Look — entertainment is fine. I love TV shows. My wife and I are on a serious Super Smash Brothers video game kick right now. Giving yourself a well-deserved break is a skill many workaholics are completely inept at.

But once this type of entertainment and distraction becomes your main focus

You stop growing at the rate you need to succeed and high levels.

In the words of Ramit Sethi:

“At the moment when we accept our weaknesses and stop deciding to grow, we’re the BEST we’re ever going to be. It’s all downhill from there.”

Every New Skill You Master Brings Opportunities, Connections, and “Luck”

“Process creates events others see as ‘luck.’” -MJ Demarco

When you focus on the process and develop bigger and better skills…

Your life and opportunities expand.

A couple years ago, I really wanted to be a life coach for college graduates. I knew a little about career coaching, and I had big dreams of getting paid a ton of money doing something cool.

I wasn’t ready — at all. I had no experience and made almost no real efforts to learn.

Then, I crossed paths with a rockstar life coach. He just so happened to be looking for a rockstar life coach to help mentor college graduates.

Holy crap, I thought. This is it!

But when he had coffee and he asked me about my qualifications…

I realized I had none.

He chose someone else because that someone had been spending their time mastering new skills. When opportunity came, they were ready. And while I tempted to get resentful and chalk it up to “luck,” I knew the truth:

They had the skills that I didn’t.

In the words of Tony Robbins:

“Human beings follow through on who they believe they are.”

If you believe you’re a qualified, competent, skillful candidate, you treat yourself differently. When you treat yourself like a professional, your self-respect and self-confidence go up.

This attracts new opportunities, connections, and situations most people never get to enter. And when a truly golden opportunity comes along (like that rockstar life coach)…

You’ll be ready and get the reward while others are still scrambling.

“Opportunity is a haughty goddess who wastes no time with those who are unprepared.” George S. Clason

In Conclusion

“High-performers are very clear about the skill sets they need to develop now to win in the future. They don’t draw a blank when you ask them, ‘What three skills are you currently working to develop so you’ll be more successful next year?’” -Brendon Burchard

What got you here won’t get you there.

There’s no shortcut to your ideal life. The way to get there? Do the work. Specifically, learn the skills that surround your primary skill. That’s how to reach top-tier status.

Most people prefer to passively complain about “unfair” others’ advantages are.

Few people choose to act anyway, learn valuable skills (and lessons), and strive to reach the top.

Every new skill you acquire doubles your odds of success.

Ready To Level-Up?

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This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by +422,678 people.

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