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Amateurs and skills — Nr 122
Scott Adams created the Dilbert comic—it’s a major success. Yet, in his book, he admits that he is not an expert in writing, has poor art skills in drawing, and is not necessarily funny.
“I’m like one big mediocre soup,” Scott points out, “None of my skills are world-class.” In our discussion yesterday, I mentioned that amateurs accept mediocrity. Does this mean Scott is an amateur? Of course not. We are crazy if we consider him as an amateur.
When you see a problem in life, you can change, accept, or ignore it. Amateurs accept mediocrity. Professionals don’t accept mediocrity. Pro seeks a way to change—to reinvent herself. If you want to turn pro, you must find a creative way to change your situation and process, which will then affect the output.
Professionals don’t have to be an expert at everything. This is a liberating insight. Because we don’t have to be Serena Williams or Steph Curry. To be a professional, we don’t have to be the top 1% globally.
Amateurs are reluctant to learn new things. Product designers or product managers often ask me, “Should I learn how to code?” My usual response to this is yes. Yes, you should learn how to code. At least learn the basics. Remember, you don’t have to be an expert at everything.
Learning a new skill changes how you see the world. If you learn typography, you become more aware of kerning. Try to learn music. You will listen to music differently. After you know how to draw a human face, you will be more observant of people’s faces.
Action point for you: Decide one skill to learn for next year. You still have 3 months to do the research until 2024. Take one skill and commit to it. If you don’t feel excited about it, change it.
PS. What skill do you want to learn? For me, it’s programming and learning a conversational Korea.