10-Year Skills

Steve Pavlina:

I encourage you to think a decade or two ahead as well, especially when it comes to skill-building. It takes years to build really strong skills. It would be a shame if your investment only has a short lifespan, and then you have to start over. It’s so nice to continue leveraging skills that took 10+ years to build, knowing that they aren’t going out of style anytime soon.

To figure out which skills to invest in, you can guess or try to predict how the future will be different, but it’s actually easier to predict how it won’t be different.


What will you still love, enjoy, and appreciate in 10 years?

Your answers to this question signal another good way to decide how to invest your time and energy in the years ahead.

Your tastes and preferences will change over time, but some interests will remain stable for decades. What are those stable parts of your character?


When you understand the stable parts of your character, you can invest in them more deeply. You can make much bigger bets on those areas of your life that you know you’re still going to enjoy and appreciate many years ahead.

Now if you combine the stable parts of your character and lifestyle with the stable parts of your work and skills, that’s where you can make your biggest bets of all.

For me a pattern in both areas is personal growth. It’s part of my business and my personal life, and I can predict that these patterns will remain stable for at least another 10 or 20 years. So that’s where I can justify betting bigger – a lot bigger.


Investments in personal growth are very different because those investments don’t depreciate. In fact, they tend to appreciate. Due to the long-term stability of personal growth, I can recoup huge gains over time. What I spend for 2020 is likely to still be paying dividends 5 years, 10 years, 20 years out, and beyond. The payoff is just so wonderful.


Are you spending more on the unchangeable parts of your life (like personal growth or communication skills) than you do on the changeable parts (like tech)? If not, consider flipping that pattern around, and watch the long-term ROI from your investments soar.


To make really good investments in yourself, your knowledge, your skills, and your lifestyle, seek to identify and understand the unchangeable core within you. What about you seems stable and isn’t likely to change much in the next 10 years? These are terrific areas for making big, bold bets on yourself.

By contrast, what’s really just a whim that you aren’t likely to care about in 10 years? Steer clear of plunking money down on those areas.


If you aren’t willing to spend your money on what truly matters to you, that’s a sign that you’re probably holding back due to fear, self-doubt, or some other internal misalignment. Be willing to bet bigger on yourself.

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