Saturday, 23 September 2017

Talent Stacks

Why a life is better than a career


The video above was recorded in July and released ten days ago. The following is from the description:

'The Dilbert comic strip artist and political philosopher Scott Adams sits down with Peter Robinson to discuss his book How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big. He discusses with Peter his theory of “talent stacking,” the idea that rather than being an expert in one particular skill (i.e., Tiger Woods and golf), one can become successful by stacking a variety of complementary nonexpert skills. Adams demonstrates how talent stacking has been beneficial in his life because he has stacked comic artist skills with his MBA and experience in corporate environments to create a wildly successful comic strip that resulted in spin-off books, a television series, a video game, and merchandise. His business skills gave him the tools to create a business satire comic strip and the skill set to manage the business that evolved from that strip.'

Investor James Altucher, who has his own broad talent stack, advises in his book Choose Yourself that the best thing you can do now in order to provide for yourself and your family is to have multiple sources of income. Relying on one talent (yes, exceptions can be made for talents and skills that are always in demand, such as plumbing, electrical engineering etc.) or, even worse, one employer is ridiculously risky. Increased automation combined with companies and governments being forced to cut costs (and there are several factors behind this that cannot be discussed now, but European and Anglosphere countries are drowning in unprecedented debt) means that "reduncancies will have to be made in the human resources department".  In other words, your job is not secure.

Aside from the financial risk, what about the psychological risk, or the emotional risk? Being good at only one thing means that you have to be the best at it, so you have to work extra hard to stay on top of the competition. This means that other aspects of your life will suffer, such as your family and your friends. Tiger Woods, mentioned above, is a brilliant example. On the other hand, if you can be better than most people at five things, you do not have to work as hard and you can devote more of your time to your family, your friends and whatever activities you find meaningful. You will have flexibility, or the ability to adapt, as circumstances change.

To put it differently, do you want one thing in your life to be 150% or would you prefer to have five things at 80%? It should be obvious where a richer life lies:

And with the Lord is every success.

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