The Skill Stack
I have written on the topic of the “Skill Stack,” the basic idea behind which is that there are two ways to achieve great success:
- Become elite at a single thing
- Become really good at a bunch of things, and combine them together in a unique way.
The first is the path most people take; take whatever thing it is you’re passionate about, and/or already good at, and try to become the best in the world. The single minded dedication to pursuing this brings us our top athletes and performers. It also leaves untold numbers behind.
For every Keith Richards, there are thousands of kids we’ll never hear of, who are almost as good, maybe even better, but who never got the break to become the Rolling Stones guitarist.
The second path is the one Scott Adams expounds. He talks about his own skills, in persuasion, drawing, humour, etc., that allowed him to become one of the top cartoonists in the world. He is self admittedly not the best at any of his skills, but by combining a unique set in a unique way, he made it to the top.
A New Skill
Of late, I decided that I would add creating video content to my skill stack and to that end, I started a YouTube channel.
In the beginning, I dedicated the majority of my video content to my mental health struggles; battling my depression (and to a lesser extent anxiety) in front of the world. That left this little blog as a place where I could focus more on pain, mobility, posture, etc.
That division has worked out pretty well. The very act of talking about my mental health problems acts as a form of talk therapy. Simply putting the problems out there gets them OUT THERE, and out of my head, at least to some degree.
At the same time, I’ve learned to mentally frame out a 5 to 7 minute video to record in a single take, developing my ex tempore speaking skills. So, in moving into video, I’m not developing just one new skill for my stack, I’m really developing two.
Okay, there’s more.
I originally filmed everything with my phone, which takes HD video by default, making the file sizes absolutely atrocious. In spite of that, I kept an archive of them because I imagine that sooner or later I’m going to piss someone at Alphabet off and get myself deplatformed, and I want to keep a backup. Just as I kept backups of the first several years of posts here.
Anyway, the backup folder was getting too large, I don’t really want to buy a hard drive just for these videos and keeping them is not just about having a record should I get banned. I mean, should I get banned I’m probably not going to put those videos up on some other platform, so it’s also about having a record.
A record of my thoughts as I go through the healing process, and a record of my improvements in creating video, so, I don’t really need HD copies of my videos.
Now, I’m learning a little bit about editing software, at first so I can quickly convert them to a lower resolution to reduce storage space, but I’m also learning to actually edit video.
A Synergy Rears its Head
It is here that I found a synergy beginning to arise. While I kept my StandUpRight writing and my YouTube videos topically separate from one another, the work in each is helping the work in the other.
As I generate ideas for videos, I find myself sorting them into bins of “better for video” and “better for written,” and the same happens as generate ideas for writing.
As I get better at plotting out a short video, I find that outlining an article also gets easier.
As I get better at editing one, I find I get better at editing the other.
Even the very act of generating ideas has become easier as I do it for two separate media, with two generally separate themes. In short, I never want for an idea for a daily video, or daily posting, and getting them out of my head and onto the page/camera is easier and easier.
The best thing about it? Getting better and faster at both leaves me more time to work on other things. I don’t know maybe to add another skill to the stack?