Scott Adams (I think) proposed the concept of the “skill stack,” and if he didn’t propose it, he certainly champions it, and has done great work in popularizing it.
Short version, you can try to become the best in the world at a particular skill, and achieve success through that, but let’s be honest, getting into the top tier, world class level of any skill is extraordinarily difficult. It is out of the reach of most of us.
However, getting “pretty good” at a particular skill is within the reach of everyone, and if you get pretty good at several things, and combine them in a unique way, you will be able to offer the world a unique skill stack which you can use to achieve great success.
- I’m a decent writer, and I sit here daily trying to get better.
- I’m a pretty good teacher/presenter/public speaker, and made a YouTube channel to get better.
- I’m a pretty good athlete; fit, healthy and strong with a fairly widely developed sports skill set.
- I love, and have acquired pretty good skills in yoga and Pilates.
- The yoga and Pilates skills came about as I researched and learned a fair bit about healthy movement, back pain and posture.
- Middle age and muscle recovery forced me to learn about nutrition and supplementation.
- Moving my work from the office to my home led me to develop a deeper understanding of ergonomics.
- It also led me to a deeper understanding of self motivation, time management and work life balance.
Am I a professional writer or athlete, a yoga or Pilates instructor, personal trainer, nutritionist or ergonomist? No, I don’t know those tunes, but if you hum a few bars, I can fake it.
In short, I have a nice base of skills to build on, even leaving aside a whole crapload of other stuff from my professional life.
It’s that first one that I think is key. If I can make myself a better writer I think I can take the rest of those skills, mash them all together, and come up with some sort of opportunity outside of sitting in front of Pro/Engineer all day, grinding out product for someone else’s profit.