Read This One Article!

Lidor WyssockyBlog

If you were an alien with a Twitter account, you would think earth is Heaven, and the life on our little planet is as easy as If you want X, do Y.

These are strange times. On one hand, the media floods us with success stories about self-made millionaires, amazing people doing amazing things, and some celebrities sometimes doing some less amazing things. Everything around us just screams: this is what you should aspire for. On the other hand, nobody talks about what it takes to get there. Scratch that: everybody is talking about what it takes to get there, but most of the discussion is misleading at best. The one thing that is almost never being discussed is that no matter what you aim to achieve, you must have the right skill-set for achieving it.

People want quick solutions. The media prefer to provide people what they want. The result? An endless series of items with every possible voodoo tip you can imagine so you can achieve what you want. Except for the obvious tip: learn, practice, and build your skills.

In a previous post I already addressed the trend of aiming for quick wins instead of building skills in the context of creativity and innovation. But the same rationale applies to every area you want to improve and get better at.

“Jeff Bezos Knows How to Run a Meeting. Here’s How He Does It” the headline screams. Just three simple rules and you are the new Jeff Bezos (at least in terms of running meetings). All you have to do is keep the forum small, have a written memo instead of a PowerPoint, and start with silence. That’s it! Can you believe it? It is that simple. Organizational culture? Na. The ability to listen? No need for that. Critical thinking? No way! All you need is a small team, a memo, and a few minutes of silence.

I will bet there are some companies with some effective meetings going on with a PowerPoint. I’m also quite sure I can assemble a small group of people, send them a memo and start the meeting in silence, and hell will break loose soon after that. The premise of such a simple recipe for having an effective meeting is ridiculous. Yet, strangely it was worth writing an article about it, and thousands of people around the world are reading it. I saw somewhere an even more simplified version of the same concept: just kill PowerPoint. Wow! That was easy!

“Want To Be More Confident? Do This One Thing Every Morning” another headline promises. This is a perfect example of something that makes sense and can even be helpful. A bit. Sometimes. For some people. All you have to do, the author says, is not leaving bed before you write something you are grateful for. It’s a great advice, really. But the definitive voice of the title is just too much. One thing only and I will be more confident? Thousands of psychologists are looking for a new career now. Who knew life was so easy? Who knew the amazing human brain with all its complexity comes with such a simple manual: write something down when you wake up, and you are good to go and full of confidence.

“Want to Be an Entrepreneur? Here Are 4 Most Important Guidelines to Follow. Yes! Just four guidelines and I’m good to go?! Let’s see: the first is “find a market with a need you can fill.” The second guideline is “create a product that transforms people lives.” Who can argue with that? It sounds so right. And you know what? It is right. But each such one-liner is a world of its own. It requires practice, knowledge, trial and error. It requires skills.

No one-liner in the universe can capture what makes a good Chef. Or a successful entrepreneur. Or a highly productive person. Or a very creative one. There's only one word you have to know: SKILLS.Click To Tweet

Sure, you can find some examples of this magic happening overnight either thanks to luck or because some people are born with the relevant skills built-in. But as advice for the vast majority of us, these guidelines are meaningless, unless we take the time and effort to build the skills required to practice them.

“Want to be a Successful Chef? Do This One Thing Before You Start Cooking!” — wash your hands.

I made this one up, but can’t you see the connection? No one-liner in the universe can capture what makes a good Chef. Or a successful entrepreneur. Or a highly productive person. Or a very creative one. There’s only one word you have to know: SKILLS.

Building skills is the only way to go. It is a mandatory condition for achieving anything. And it will take time. Guaranteed.Click To Tweet

Are you born with the right skills? Sometimes.
Can you learn them? In most cases.
Should you practice them? Absolutely.
Is learning and practicing a bullet-proof method for achieving your goals? No way.
If you start today, will you be successful tomorrow morning? I doubt it.

But building skills is the only way to go. It is a mandatory condition for achieving anything.
And it will take time.
Guaranteed.

If you want to succeed in anything at all, stop reading do-this-one-thing articles. Instead, identify the right skills and start the journey toward mastering them.

Today.