You’ll Be Left Behind If You Don’t Learn These 4 Sexy Meta Skills

Photo: Martin Lauge Villadsen / Shutterstock
woman smiling

Imagine you’re running a marathon.

Painful feet. Sweat-drenched t-shirt. Unbroken determination.

And you’re doing pretty well. You’re running at a good pace — and you’re consistent with that pace. You’re ahead of most people, and you feel like you might even score a medal. But then…

You see a person make a giant leap and overtake you. And then another does the same. Seconds later, several people have overtaken you by making leaps.

You’re baffled.

What the heck is happening?

All your efforts feel wasted. You feel miserable. And pissed. You’re left behind — and you don’t like it.

Now, something like this isn’t possible in an actual marathon because it defies the laws of physics. However, something like this is very much possible in the omnipresent competition within society.

RELATED: 4 Unsexy Habits That Will Eventually Make You Rich

The world is changing rapidly — and hence — new skills need to be mastered to make it in the modern world. If you don’t, you will be left behind. It’s inevitable. Let’s talk about what these meta-skills are.

You will be left behind if you don't learn these four sexy meta-skills:

1. Deciding what to work on and who to work with

People romanticize hard work a lot. And yes, hard work is important. But it’s nowhere near the most important factor in success. What you work on and who you work with are far more critical.

Let’s talk about the importance of what you work on first.

For instance, here’s what the career of most people my age looks like as of now:

  • They make anywhere between $500 — $1500 per month (in my country)
  • They work 30–40 hours per week.
  • They work for someone else.
  • Their freedom is limited.

Now here’s what my writing career looks like.

  • I make at least $1500 every month. Sometimes much more than that.
  • I work less than 10 hours per week as a writer.
  • I work for myself.
  • I have unlimited freedom — I can work whenever I want to, and from wherever I want to. And I can choose to not work as well, without having to worry about a pay cut.

Now, I enjoy these perks not because of ‘how hard’ I work. Truth be told, I barely work. My peers work much, much harder than me. It’s simply that ‘what’ I’m working on is much more lucrative than ‘what’ others are working on. The creator economy is booming — and I get to reap the benefits without working super-hard.

The second part of the equation is who you work with. And it’s pretty obvious.

A gardener working for a billionaire can make a lot more money than a doctor working for himself. Even though, to be a doctor, one has to work much harder than a gardener has to.

That’s why deciding what to work on and who to work with is a meta-skill you cannot afford not to develop.

2. How to multiply your efforts

Consider a potter making a pot.

If it takes him 30 minutes to make a pot, and he sells that pot for $10, that pot can never be sold again. He can only sell it once. In a way, the time he spent making the pot was financially mortal.

On the other hand, take a writer. It might take him months or years to write a book. But — he can keep selling that book again and again. He doesn’t have to write it again and again — he just has to get it printed again and again. Hence, every hour he spent writing that book was financially immortal — as it will continue to make him money as long as the book is on sale.

RELATED: 7 Extremely Rare Signs Of High Intelligence You Should Look For In Yourself

This is what I mean by multiplying your efforts. The agent that you use to multiply your efforts is called leverage. For instance, in a writer’s case, the printing press acts as leverage.

According to Naval Ravikant, there are two kinds of leverage. Let’s talk about them in the context of how a potter can use these to scale his efforts.

  • Permissioned leverage: Capital or labor. You can scale your efforts by using money to increase production and hiring people to help you do so.
  • Permissionless leverage: Code or media.
  • Code: A software developer has to code an app only once — and he can sell that app again and again while needing to spend time only to tweak and maintain it.
  • Media: A YouTuber has to record a video only once. And it can keep accumulating views for decades hence.

In the context of a potter —

  • He can use capital and labor to multiply his efforts by installing a production unit.
  • He can create a digital course or write a book on how to make pots — and people can buy it online.

In both ways, a potter can scale his efforts.

Whatever your career may be — if you’re spending your time in a sense that it’s financially mortal, find ways to use leverage to multiply your efforts. That'll help you keep making money not just once, but again and again.

3. Betting on new opportunities

The world is like a vessel on flame with corn kernels inside. There are tons of opportunities that constantly keep popping up.

But the thing about popcorn — as anyone who’s ever gone to the movies with other people and gotten a tub of popcorn might know — people coldly compete over popcorn. Such is the case with opportunities.

In the world we live in today, opportunities are always cooking. Entrepreneurs are launching startups left and right — and with those startups — there are always new adjacent industries that are waiting to flourish.

RELATED: 4 Psychological Skills I Stole From Super-Smart People

Hence, it’s vital that one learns how to beat others in grabbing those opportunities. Here are some meta-steps on how to bet well on new opportunities:

  • Be observant: Keep learning about the world and trying to figure out where the world is heading.
  • Know what opportunities to bet on: As a general rule of thumb, don’t ever hesitate to bet on opportunities that have a low risk but high potential output. Simply put, bet without hesitation when the odds are great.
  • Develop opportunity preparedness: To bet in a casino, you need to be prepared to spend money. Just like that, to bet on opportunities, you need to be prepared. What that preparedness looks like may vary — but on a general basis, it might mean having the time and money to be able to bet on that opportunity.
  • Develop an impatience with action: In many opportunities, the person who acts the fastest gets a headstart over others that’s hard to overcome.

4. Learning how to capture attention and gain trust

People often make the mistake of favoring one over the other. On one hand, some people might focus entirely on gaining attention, but don’t know how to build trust.

For instance, a YouTuber might record videos with clickbait titles — but not add much value to a viewer’s life through the video. Hence, while 10,000 people might watch his video, only 2 might buy or invest in his products — a 0.1% conversion rate.

On the other hand, a person might be great at building trust, but not that great at capturing attention.

For instance, a YouTuber who records great videos, but does not know how to title his videos or market his brand. Only 100 people may watch his videos and out of those, two might buy his product — a great conversion rate of 2% — but still, the overall sales are the same.

The answer is to be great at doing both.

Learn how to capture attention. Learn how to market your product. Learn how to build a brand.

And then, once you have captured people’s attention, learn to gain their trust. Provide them with quality and value that’s hard to ignore — and earn people’s trust.

The combination of knowing how to capture attention and knowing how to earn trust is absolutely lethal. It can help grow your business — whatever it may be — to incredible heights.

  • Learn the skill of figuring how what to work on and who to work with — because those things are much more important than hard work.
  • Learn to multiply your efforts by using leverage in the form of capital, labor, code, or media.
  • Learn to bet on new opportunities. Know about the world. Save money and time to be able to bet on opportunities. Always bet on opportunities with great odds. And be fast at betting on those opportunities.
  • Learn how to capture attention and gain trust.

RELATED: 4 Signs You’re A High-Level Thinker

Akshad Singi, M.D. has been published in Better Humans, Mind Cafe, and more. 

This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.