Investing In Skills

I’ll never forget the advice Paul Hand gave us seven years ago on the last day of summer math class.

Given the choice between a fancy, fun-sounding class like “Supersonic Space Robots”, and a more basic skill development option like “Statistics 101”, you should strongly consider the latter.

Paul’s wisdom didn’t stop me from taking Apocalyptic Storytelling, Foundations of Internet Policy, and Advanced Algorithms. All were fascinating and worthwhile.

On the other hand, Intro to Weightlifting, Spanish, and Software Construction have not only stood the test of time but grown into significant parts of my life and identity.

Ideally we can have our cake and eat it too. Getting scuba certified last week was an exotic, novelty-filled adventure as well as an opportunity to download a life-changing set of skills.

A month ago, I didn’t think I’d ever scuba dive in my life. Five days and ten dives later, I see it as a wonderful hobby and a lasting community. It’s a no-brainer, like learning to drive or ride a bike. The best $500 I’ve spent this year.

We can’t always expect beautiful encounters with turtles, but we can take pride in maximizing our personal toolkit. In challenging ourselves, and thereby broadening our opportunities and worldviews, for the rest of our lives.

Preorder my new book, How To Enjoy Chess for Adult Beginners, at a discount before it’s officially published in the next few days!

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