If you are a knowledge worker (as most of our listeners and readers are) then your ability to be productive, create value for others, and make money is not necessarily tied to how many hours you work.
Rather, it’s more tied to abstract qualities like deciding what you choose to work on, how you manage your time, the decisions you make, and that you are developing your talents and interests in a deliberate way over a long period of time.
This is an important and overlooked subject, and there is no clear-cut way to do it. (We all know universities don’t do a good job, and you can’t rely on your workplace to put your long-term development at first place.) Therefore, you have to take responsibility for it yourself.
One of the best ways I (Ludvig) have found for doing this is to reflect on a number of questions related to fundamental characteristics.
Without further ado, I bring to you, my top list of self-knowledge notions that I revisit and reflect upon every now and then. Three of these have been the subject of podcast episodes, and possibly more will be in the future.
Consider where along this continuum you would place yourself:
Y ____________________________ X
- Are you an Executor or an Idea Person?
- Are you visually oriented or informationally oriented? [Pictures vs lists]
- Do you usually overplan or underplan?
- Are you impulsive or are you too careful?
- Do you like to experiment and mix things or do you prefer simple solutions?
- Do you pick one thing to do for a long time, or do you have too many ideas?
- Are you an introvert or an extrovert? [work with closed door or open door]
- Is it easier for you to fit in and be popular, or to stand out and act contrarian?
- Are you better at raw creativity, or at editing and refining an existing idea?
- Do you easily take risk or do you keep multiple options open?
- Are you a Maximizer or a Satisficer?
- Can you only keep one goal in your head, or can you shift between several goals?
- Are you a good second-in-command or are you more of a manager/leader?
(Note: You might want to take out a pen and paper and do this exercise right now. Draw a line and place an “X” along the continuum where you think you belong on each of these self-knowledge notions.)
Other important self-knowledge notions to re-evaluate:
- What motivates you? When do you perform best?
- What kind of people do you work with best?
- What are you good at?
- What are you bad at?
- How do you prefer to communicate? (Body language, speaking, writing)
- Where can you go to be paid a premium for your talents? (Somewhere where there’s a scarcity of people like you)
Assume a 40-60 year career as a Knowledge Worker. That means you spend around 50 years of your life working. It would make sense to find something you like to do & have a talent for.
Be long-term oriented about this.
We touch on more of these type of questions, and how it translates into decision making, finances and your career, in the Future Skills Program.
-Mikael, Ludvig, and Oskar
We have created the Future Skills Program which is an online video course covering career advice, decision-making and financial skills with weekly homework and evaluations.