The Only Skill You Will Ever Need

When I was a young’n, one of my grade school math teachers asked the class “What is the most important subject in school?”

What with it being a math class and all, we naturally said math.

“Wrong,” he replied matter-of-factly. “The most important subject in school is reading.” He then went on to explain that if what you know is math, then all you know is math. If what you know is science, then all you know is science. But if what you know is reading, then what you know is whatever you choose to learn.

That still sticks with me, after all these years. If you can read, then you can learn. And if you can learn, then you can accumulate wisdom. And if you can accumulate wisdom, it’s just a matter of time before the world is your oyster. With reading, all things are possible. In this manner, it is my God.

Of course, I need to make a little room in my theory for those who can learn better in a way that’s not sticking your nose in a book. Maybe you’re one of those people who learns through watching others. That’s fine, you can join us. Maybe you’re the type who needs to scrape your chin before you apprehend knowledge. God bless you, you’re one of us. Maybe you’re one of those rare breeds who doesn’t care for reading but can pick something up with your hands and understand it as thoroughly as if it were a part of you (lookin’ at you, tinkers). You’re part of the club, too.

As we can see, there are more ways to learn than merely reading and all methods are legitimate so long as the end result is the accumulation of knowledge. Bottom line: has learning occurred? So let’s not get too hung up on the reading phase of the success continuum and focus on the broader, more salient point: the ability to learn. I’ve written on how to get awesome at life by becoming more of a learner so you can follow the link for more specifics.

But first, we must understand that the ability to learn is, in and of itself, without limits. Often, however, we find that, where the rubber meets the road, it does have a limit. So what limits learning? To only limit to learning you will have in your life is dependent on one thing: your individual desire to learn.

Adjusting your desire to learn can be a difficult task. Some of us are inherently complacent, and don’t crave any more from this world. Some of us have self-esteem issues; we feel we don’t deserve any more. Some of us are scared, and that makes sense. Life is scary. But if any of these describe you, then all you need is a change in your perspective. The things that hold you back—complacency, shame, fear—are the very things that you can change about yourself. Trust me, you just have to get off your ass and do it. The ability to learn makes you limitless as an individual.

First you can learn about psychology and understand why it is you’re so messed up in the first place. Then you can learn about how to throw the monkey off your back and start living. Then you can learn about how to self-motivate. You can learn about all the possibilities that this world has to offer, and how other people have pursued them. Once you flip the switch in your mind that you will develop the skill of learning skills, there’s really no stopping the snowball effect. Armed with no other skill in the world but the ability to learn, you have a better chance than anyone else at shaping the world in your image, securing your legacy, and manifesting your own destiny, so stop reading right now and commit to learning how to learn.

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