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Help Yourself with the Skills of Others

Remember how Tom Sawyer convinced all those other kids to paint the fence he was supposed to paint? He made wise use of other people’s skills.

One of the secrets to success in life is making use of the fact that others can contribute to your success with their diverse interests, skills and talents.

There are things you do better than other people; these skills and talents are what you do naturally. Your joy, satisfaction, and meaning in life come as the result of opportunities to do these things. The more you focus on activities that draw on these skills and talents, the better you will perform and the more success you’ll have in life.

There are also things you’ve learned to do but that don’t make use of your natural skill set. Even though you may do them at a reasonable or even expert level, they tend to require greater effort and usually don’t bring the same rewards.

Don’t Try to do Everything, You Can’t

Out of the Human Potential movement came the idea that people can do anything they want if they just put their minds and efforts into it.

Unfortunately, this has lead to the idea that if you can do anything then you should be able to do everything. As a result, we often take on too much, frequently in areas where we don’t have natural talent or ability.

How do you like to spend your time? What brings you the most satisfaction?

Since the possibilities of how you choose to spend your time (either at work or at play) are literally endless, it’s crucial that you have some kind of filter for deciding where to put your attention.

There are People Who Like to do That? You’ve Got to be Kidding Me!

If you look around at what other people enjoy doing, you’ll probably discover that there are far more things that strike you as boring or uninteresting than there are things that grab your attention.
Spending your time in the full expression of your talents requires that you give up roles and skills that are not where your passion and talents lie – just like Tom did. This latter category includes what we call “distractions.”

Distractions are the jobs or activities (and their accompanying sets of skills) that clearly do not interest you, or that require a great deal of effort on your part to learn.

What might be drudgery to you is someone else’s ideal job. Discovering someone who loves to do the things that you don’t enjoy is an opportunity for celebration rather than disbelief.

It’s important to know what you don’t do well. This is important for a few reasons: not just so you can avoid situations in which you are called on to perform unsuitable tasks, but also so that you can find and work with others for whom your distractions are natural talents.

Take Action:

Make a list of all the various tasks you perform in a single day. Next to each item, mark “L” if you love it, “N” if you feel neutral about it and “H” if you hate it.

Pick the top three items on your “hate it” list and make a plan for getting them off your plate, either by discarding the activity altogether or by passing it along to someone else.

Dance to Your Music and Let Others Dance to Theirs

Your steps will be truer and your expression more joyful when you delegate to others those things they do best while you discover and concentrate on doing what comes naturally to you.

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