Are You Focusing On Permanent Skills Or Expiring Skills?

Decades ago, being able to draw was a critical skill. Individuals who knew how to draw maps and record a battlefield’s topography were highly valued in the military. Today? Not so much. While the ability to draw was a critical skill during a certain time period, it’s not as necessary today due to advancements in technology and mapping software.

Morgan Housel, a partner at Collaborative Fund, notes that every field, from the military to the medical field to the education sector, needs two kinds of skills:

1. Expiring skills – those skills that are critical in a given time but likely to diminish in importance as the field evolves
2. Permanent skills – those skills that are as essential today as they were 100 years ago and will still be vital in the next 100 years

Housel points out that expiring skills tend to be trendy and valued by employers, but the permanent skills are the skills that compound over time, making them more valuable.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Housel’s insights into the permanent skills that will serve you well today and throughout your career.

Being a decent person. Too many people act like jerks, which counteracts their talents. Housel says that you can’t learn how to be a decent person in school, but this is one of the most important permanent skills you can ever develop.

The ability to accept when your skills have expired. Sometimes, a skillset that was once highly valued runs its course. Employers and clients no longer need that certain skill. Housel says a lot of what we believe about our fields is either right but temporary or wrong but convincing. Be willing to accept when it’s time to develop new skills.

Being able to work with all kinds of people. You won’t always like or agree with your colleagues, supervisors or clients. However, you must be able to deal with them diplomatically. Housel says that those who view every disagreement as a battle that must be won will end up stuck and bitter.

Cutting to the chase. Another important permanent skill that will always be valuable is being able to get to the point quickly. Say what you need to say and move on. People are busy.

Acknowledging luck and risk. According to Housel, acknowledging risk is when something happens outside of your control that influences outcomes and you realize it might happen again. Acknowledging luck is when something happens outside of our control that influences outcomes and you realize it might not happen again.

Adding value in the right way. Sometimes, this means staying out of the way and other times it means actively helping. Always look for which is the right way to add value to your team or organization.

Accepting hassle when it is necessary. Life won’t always be easy, which is why Housel says it’s important to learn how to deal with trouble when it comes.

Being patient but never stubborn. Housel says it’s also a useful skill to know when something is “temporarily out of favor” and when something is “wrong.” Every field is cyclical, and the only way to be part of the good times is to weather the bad.

Both expiring skills and permanent skills are important to your success in business and in life. But if you’re going to invest your energy refining a few skills, make sure they’re ones that will last. Being good to people and always trying to improve yourself will always be important.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Morgan Housel is a partner at Collaborative Fund and a former columnist at The Motley Fool and The Wall Street Journal.

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