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How to Be Better at Almost Everything: Learn Anything Quickly, Stack Your Skills, Dominate

How to Be Better at Almost Everything: Learn Anything Quickly, Stack Your Skills, Dominate

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How to Be Better at Almost Everything: Learn Anything Quickly, Stack Your Skills, Dominate

ratings:
4.5/5 (30 ratings)
Length:
185 pages
3 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jan 29, 2019
ISBN:
9781946885692
Format:
Book

Description

Mastering one specific skill set might have been the key to success 20 years ago . . . but being the best at a single thing just doesn’t cut it in today’s global economy.

Think about those people who somehow manage to be amazing at everything they do—the multimillionaire CEO with the bodybuilder physique or the rock star with legions of adoring fans. How do they manage to be so great at life? By acquiring and applying multiple skills to make themselves more valuable to others, they’ve become generalists, able to “stack” their varied skills for a unique competitive edge.

In How to Be Better at Almost Everything, bestselling author, fitness expert, entrepreneur, and professional business coach Pat Flynn shares the secrets to learning (almost) every skill, from marketing and music to relationships and martial arts, teaching how to combine interests to achieve greatness in any field.

Discover how to:

  • Learn any skill with only an hour of practice a day through repetition and resistance
  • Package all your passions into a single tool kit for success with skill stacking
  • Turn those passions into paychecks by transforming yourself into a person of interest

To really get ahead in today’s fast-paced, constantly evolving world, you need a diverse portfolio of hidden talents you can pull from your back pocket at a moment’s notice. The good news? You don’t need to be a genius or a prodigy to get there—you just have to be willing to learn. How to Be Better at Almost Everything will teach you how to make your personal and professional goals a reality, starting today.

Publisher:
Released:
Jan 29, 2019
ISBN:
9781946885692
Format:
Book

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How to Be Better at Almost Everything - Pat Flynn

Author

INTRODUCTION: WHY SKILL STACKING > SPECIALIZATION

You don’t have to be the best in the world to get ahead. You don’t need to be number one to see the limelight, strike it rich, or find meaning in life. You only need to be good or great—or at least fairly competent—at a few things and then combine those things to foster that uttermost creative quality within yourself. Specialization—a goal that has been instilled into most of us from an early age—is a snare that has entrapped people for long enough. This book is about to put an end to that.

I don’t intend to teach you, step-by-step, some new way of starting a business. I want to teach you, one step at a time, a new way of learning and acquiring skills that you can use (if you so choose) to start a business, and thus give you a much better chance of not finding but creating success. People can take businesses away from you, and so can a bad economy. But no one can rob you of skills, unless they rob you of life, which just wouldn’t be very nice. You don’t need to be born with special DNA for this book to work. You only need to be willing to learn.

If you’re looking for a mega-inspirational story, you won’t find that in much of what I’m about to tell you. But if you’d like to read about a person who came to earth without any special inborn ability, someone who overcame a lifelong battle with neuroses and went on to acquire skills anyway, someone who turned sharply away from the conventional trajectory in life toward building a line of successful businesses—becoming a writer, a musician, a black belt, a B-level fitness celebrity, and a whole lot of other seemingly unrelated but pretty cool things that all merged dynamically into one another—then you’ll probably want to read this.

This book is about generalism. Our goal is to become better than most people at most things, even if we aren’t the best at any one skill. Why do we want to do this? Well, the first thing I would say is that, at the very least, being a generalist makes you a lot less boring to be around. To be great at many things is, frankly, a quality that very few people have. Most people are somewhat OK at one or two things and then either completely incompetent or downright terrible at everything else; they typically can’t even do simple things like keeping a houseplant alive. Not that I would know myself how difficult that is, since the only plant I ever owned was stolen by my college roommate, who thought it was marijuana of some kind—only the joke was on him because that’s not what it was. It was just a totally regular plant that my mom got me. And I knew my roommate was the person who stole it because one day it just magically appeared on his side of the room. Would you look at that? I thought. I wonder what’s going on here. So I said, Yo, dude, did you steal my plant or what? Then he told me to relax, so I was like, Whatever man, that plant isn’t what you think. And then I got over it. Because that’s how life is: you get over things. Lesson number one.

Second, if you have any interest in running or starting a business, then being able to stack a variety of skills is a thousand times more powerful than trying to be the best at just one. We call this skill stacking: combining skills in a unique and useful way, which gives you more breadth and versatility than someone who specializes in one thing. This is something I plan to teach a lot about, so please make yourself comfortable.

Finally, because happiness, as the philosophers will tell us (philosophers like Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas, anyway—I’m not talking about the hedonists here), involves engaging in and enjoying a genuinely good activity, it seems our fulfillment is found not in what we accumulate but rather in what we endeavor to do. In other words, skills are good because they give us something good to engage in, and we all need that.

So to put it all together, this book is about becoming good or great at many things and at least fairly competent at (almost) everything else, and then learning to combine abilities to form a competitive advantage while at the same time finding total and complete fulfilment in life. Not too heavy of an assignment, right? The secret to all of it? Skill stacking. (Yay!) The enemy? Specialization. (Boo!)

Mostly, I want to teach you how to get better at getting better at things—the skill of acquiring skill so you can build a reputation and a thriving business (if you so choose) with all the skills you never had and never thought you needed to have. The problem, as I see it, is that since most self-help books these days are about topics like finding confidence when you’re semi-overweight or marketing yourself on social media, nobody’s thought to teach you these inclusive skills. And while I’m all for finding confidence when you’re semi-overweight (I used to be one such person; we’ll talk about that in a bit) and marketing yourself on social media, those types of skills have little to do with being happy and successful on the most fundamental level.

Happiness is a skill; business is a skill. I’m going to teach you how to get the skills you need and then how to combine those skills to find your competitive streak and creative spirit. Am I a super creative person? Well, I should like to think I’m at least somewhat creative. I draw things, I record music, and I write. I even entered a video game tournament once. I didn’t do half bad. I won the first round, anyway. But the reason I’m creative (if I’m creative at all) is that I’m a generalist. I’m somebody who got good at many things and then found a way to pull them together to come up with ideas for (and this always sounds somewhat self-aggrandizing when I say it like this) making money and, even more important, having a pretty fun time doing it. I only say pretty fun because there were one or two times that didn’t go quite as well as I had hoped. I’ll get over it. (You know what, it is hard being me. Thank you for saying that. No, really. It means more than you know. Here, let’s sit and maintain eye contact.)

So this is the way this book will work: First (I like numbering things; it keeps me organized), I’ll talk about generalism, the principles behind it, and why I think this philosophy can help you (or anyone) find success and happiness by doing the things you love and making money from them. Doesn’t that sound nice? I think that sounds nice. Second, I’ll talk about skill stacking and why it’s more effective for being an entrepreneur (and human) than specialization, or trying to be the best at just one thing. Third, I’ll talk about how to get better at anything that interests you through a series of principles that makes learning new skills forty million times easier; I’ll also share with you the skills I think (almost) every person needs to start getting ahead both financially and figuratively. And don’t worry: it’s not like any of these skills take all that long to develop. It’s just that most people never think to develop them. Finally, we’ll talk about how to actually build a skill stack and put all your newfound talents to work in attaining the good life—ah yes, the good life—because it wouldn’t be a self-help book without talking about that.

Along the way, we’ll discuss some well-known people who used this philosophy of generalism—case studies, you could say, of those who became good or great at many things to find success and meaning and fulfillment. (You’ll also find more of these, additional opportunities to see generalism in action, in the appendix.) People like George Washington Carver, whom I did a book report on in third grade, just so you know a little about my credentials. For example, George Washington Carver was more than just an innovator with the peanut and the sweet potato. He was also well known for his advocacy of a proper understanding of the relationship between faith and science; in addition, he was a strong, original proponent of environmentalism while, at the same time, offering advice to business leaders and establishing outreach programs. The man did a lot because he was capable of a lot, and he had a huge heart. He was even a competent painter. I’ll also mention several contemporary figures along the way, which is my way of saying people who aren’t quite so, well, dead.

As I said, my goal isn’t to teach you step-by-step some new way of starting a business, because that, I think, would be boring. My goal is to teach you principle by principle how to become better at (almost) everything and then help you figure out what skills you may need to do all the things you want in life.

I get that this book may be saying some peculiar things and that you probably think I’m somewhat peculiar as well, but trust me when I say I’m on to something and that specialization is not the way to go in life. So many people are still so preoccupied with trying to become the best at just one thing, but the greatest opportunities present themselves to those who are preoccupied not with excelling at one skill but with being just good enough at the right combination of abilities.

Perhaps the greatest feature of generalism is that you don’t need to have any sort of genetic head start. You don’t need a perfectly groomed set of eyebrows, or a strong pair of arms, or a fast set of legs; you can just be whoever you are and that’s enough—this philosophy is all very Mister Rogers. And since you’re not trying to be the best in the world at one particular thing, you don’t have to be the best in the world at anything. You can just be you and I can just be me, and that’s more than adequate because anybody can get better at (almost) everything. I’m not saying the world doesn’t need specialists like Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps or whoever designs microchips for NASA, but I am saying I was never going to be that good and (not to sound insulting) I doubt you were either, and that’s fine because most people shouldn’t be specialists to begin with. That’s why we have generalism.

It’s not that specialization is unimportant; it’s just that so many people think that it’s way more important than it is or that specializing is the only way to get ahead in life, when they’d be better off focusing on breadth, as much as depth, of skill. Generalism allows people the freedom to become moderately skilled at a number of different things and then to put these skills on top of each other to sneak ahead, because the competition, God bless ’em, never thought the game could be played in such a way.

So that’s what we’re going to do. If you’re reading this book you may already know a little bit about me. Or maybe you don’t. But that’s where I’m going to start because, believe it or not, I know a lot about me. And, you’ll see, a lot of it is going to apply to you.

Chapter One

WHEN GREAT IS THE ENEMY OF GOOD

It’s not like the idea of generalism just occurred to me. It’s something I had to figure out after going a long time in the opposite direction. Like many of us, when I was a kid, I thought I should grow up to be the best at something—and for me that something was the guitar. I wanted to be the fastest and most virtuosic guitarist around, so I could become famous, get tattoos, and do drugs and all that. Obviously, this isn’t how things turned out. Here’s why.

First, I have maintained a healthy paranoia regarding substance abuse, because with a family history of addiction problems, I know very well what I might end up like. I also maintain an unhealthy fear of needles in general and have way too much of an indecision problem to settle on something as permanent as a tattoo. Plus, I don’t care all that much about becoming famous anymore, for reasons we’ll later get into.

Those, ahem, lofty goals aside, I realized about five years into playing guitar that specialization wasn’t getting me to the places I wanted to go. By the time I was in high school, I was (in my opinion) the best guitarist around, but only a few people enjoyed hearing me play, since I only played stuff that other guitarists wanted to listen to, like sweep-picking guitar solos. (For nonmusicians, an example of sweep picking can be heard quite prominently throughout the work of virtuoso guitarists from the 1980s, like Yngwie Malmsteen; check out Arpeggios from Hell.) Because—and this is something every specialist eventually realizes—there comes a point in every skill when you become so good you suddenly lose people on a common level and begin appealing only to other specialists, and that’s when you know you’ve gone too far. Most people in my high school didn’t want to hear virtuosic guitar solos; they just wanted to be asked to the prom by some singer-songwriter kid with a Dave Matthews haircut. So it would have been better if I hadn’t spent so much time perfecting sweep picking and instead had gotten just a little better at singing. This was a clear case of where a skill stack (singing and playing the guitar) was more attractive than specialization (being a solo guitarist), because if the goal was to get attention as a person/musician, it was the generalist (in this case, my friend Tom) who was doing so, and not the specialist (me), who might every once in a while impress people with a fiery guitar solo but could not write a catchy melody. And since most people are basically philistines when it comes to this stuff—they don’t care for all that technical mumbo jumbo—they just want a tune they can hum along to.

That was lesson number one, in which somebody who was not as good at the guitar as me was getting the thing that I wanted out of being a guitarist, which was having people say how good a guitarist he was, when everybody should have been saying how good a guitar player I was. But how would they know that, since none of them were musicians? As you can imagine, all this made me somewhat

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30 ratings / 8 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (2/5)
    It would have been fantastic as an article. It's repetitive and way too long. I always enjoy the author's work, but this one should have stayed an article.
  • (5/5)
    This is an exceptional book. Immediately i finished reading it, I felt the eager to work hard in so many areas to become good in many things. Thanks sir for this book. Worth reading. God bless
  • (5/5)
    I can relate...well written...pertinent points. Inspired to research a little more on the subject! Generalism is something I have probably done my whole life without realising...
  • (5/5)
    Excellent, practical and fun to read. It helped me get unstuck from a “doing nothing” string of days. Thank you Pat Flynn.
  • (5/5)
    Really good, although skipped past the faith part of Religion isn’t my thing but it was decent!
  • (4/5)
    Great book, tbh it was way better than what I expected it to be. I would recommend it for sure.
  • (5/5)
    Very practical actionable lessons in purposeful learning and doing. Fun to read
  • (5/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    This is truly an amazing book. Definitely recommend it for each and everyone.

    1 person found this helpful