To all my friends and colleagues out there, I would like to say, never stop learning. You have no idea how much it can change your life!
⚒Try to acquire one niche skill (vertical) and 3-5 horizontal skills
Try to acquire one niche skill. This is a vertical skill and this could be your area of specialization. You tend to go deeper into an area of study and become an expert in that field.
Try to develop 3-5 horizontal skills. These are extra skills that you didn't learn in school. These could be something like video editing, graphic design, web development, writing, research skills, soft skills, coding, psychology etc. Horizontal skills can complement your vertical skill.
💡Combine both - vertical and horizontal skills and you become very unique. You could do a lot of things that other people can’t.
This is not a new concept. In fact I learnt of the concept of being a “jack of all trades” from Tim Ferriss. He speaks about it in his article - The Top 5 Reasons to Be a Jack of All Trades. I have to say, reading this changed my mindset.
Scott Adams also talks about this.
I made a list of skills in which I think every adult should gain a working knowledge. I wouldn't expect you to become a master of any, but mastery isn't necessary. Luck has a good chance of finding you if you become merely good in most of these areas.
- Scott Adams
😁I am a big fanboy of Tim Ferriss and Scott Adams!
⛏My vertical and horizontal skills
Being a dentist and Oral Pathologist is my vertical skill.
Learning technology (horizontal skill) has changed my life! I have embraced being a jack of all trades (by learning horizontal skills). I might not be an expert in any of my horizontal skills, but I have made efforts to learn the fundamentals of many skills and put it in good use. Here's what I have been dabbling with in the last few years.
A list of horizontal skills I acquired over the last 5 years
Learning and using NoCode tools. I run a dental Ed-Tech company called HackDentistry (web app) using NoCode tools.
Learning to digitally illustrate, edit video and use YouTube. I run two YouTube channels one with almost 92,000 subscribers - HackDentistry (dental education YouTube channel) and one with 200 subscribers - FourZeroThree (personal YouTube channel).
Overall I have created a little over 100 videos across both my Ed-Tech platform (bulk of my videos are dental) and personal vlog FourZeroThree.
Learning Search engine Optimization (SEO). I used to struggle with SEO and finally picked up these skills recently. SEO skills can be of serious help. For me, it helps in marketing my Ed-Tech company and running my blogs.
Learning the fundamentals of web hacking. I reported a total of 26 security bugs from June 2019 to June 2020 in my free time. This gave me a sound understanding of how web applications worked which was very useful especially when I had to revamp and rebuild my Ed-tech platform from scratch.
Fundamentals of Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) improved my research skills, made me realize I could search for anything on the internet. This blog was born because I learnt OSINT and Internet privacy and security. I still have active subscriptions for my OSINT courses, and I keep revisiting and re-learning when I have the time.
You see, all these skills give me the confidence and the ability to run my company without the need of help from engineers or my tech friends.
The idea is to use these skills together to do something unique.
You see, these skills give me the unique ability to run an Internet business/ Ed-Tech company on my own. I am a minimalist entrepreneur (a term I have copied from a book I have been reading recently written by Sahil Lavingiya - The Minimalist Entrepreneur: How Great Founders Do More with Less) and these skills help me do more with less effort, like it says in the title of the book.
However, the disadvantage here is that I might get rusty or forget how to use a few skills every now and then (since I dabble with many), and I might have to go back to them, to re-read/re-learn albeit quickly and start using them.
I have embraced being a jack of all trades. It makes me unique, its almost like a superpower.
🏃♂️Where to next?
And hey, by the way, please do give FourZeroThree a shout-out to your friends and colleagues, would you? Would really appreciate it! Cheers and happy reading :)