I want to continue yesterday’s article about the superpower, the ability to create empowering context for work, my superpower. I want to attend to the sad fact that most people have no skills to mention.
Google has 1,410,000,000 results. That is one trillion… And the most frequently asked question: what jobs can I get if I have no skills.
I got an email from one of my teachers, Ben, one of his 1-3 emails a day… I read 99% of them, and love them or hate them, they never leave me neutral.
But how does this connect to the context? Or skills? It does, don’t worry.
He started out as a copywriter. He learned the skill…
…of writing persuasively like everyone else, he hand-copied sales letters, headlines, bullet points from famous people to retrain his self-expression, to write not like he learned in grammar school, nor write as he learned to speak in the street.
He learned to write in a way that actually engages the reader and consequently sells.
I can tell you: it is not how most people speak or write, you need extensive skill training.
It is not dissimilar to learning to swing the golf club, or taking breaths while you swim. Or calmly follow the ball in tennis.
Your natural inclination is insufficient in writing a sales letter, in hitting the golf ball, or swimming long and fast…
Your natural inclination is to be jumpy, to be reactive, to be accident-prone, and undisciplined.
To learn skills is hard work, and feels unnatural.
I’ve never managed to learn effective copywriting, by the way. But he did to the degree that he did (70%)… and then he quit copywriting as a profession.
You call a copywriter someone who writes sales letters, advertising for someone else.
That is what he stopped doing. Instead he calculated that he can make more money and have more freedom and life if he writes for himself. And that is what he started to do nine years ago, and that is what he is doing today.
Now, why do I write about my teacher?
Sometimes you can only see yourself when you see what someone else did, and you see then what you did or do.
This works with both effective and ineffective actions…
Why? Because working as an architect was pure hell for me.
I didn’t have an empowering context for doing the tedious, boring, soul-crushing work. Except for occasional competing in national competitions, or working with a talented partner on something worth working on, I hated those 17 years. With a passion.
So if the work you do for a living is category 1 (soul crushing) for you: don’t wait 17 years to do something else, like I did.
In 1986 I did two evening seminars, back to back, with the then Werner Erhard and associates (today Landmark Education), Accomplishment and Excellence.
They dovetailed beautifully, and I learned to create an empowering context for work, and that made a few months of my life an experiment, interesting, and therefore enjoyable. I also did the Communication Course, same company, and that offered a yet different way to create a context… that helped as well.
But you can only do so much for an incurable disease… it remains incurable, doesn’t it?
So I was fired, and that was that for architecture for me.
And after that even when I was offered big bucks to work for a contractor, or whatever that dude was, I said no.
And started a new phase of life where I was starting to work for myself… but I needed skills. Many skills. But the context of escaping slavery, tedium, boredom, soul-deadening work was enough ‘hate’ for me to push me, in a way empower me, to learn the skills of this new life where I was going to do everything, write, sell, photograph, design, deliver, manage, pay all the bills… everything.
So in a way when I quit architecture I made the same jump as my teacher made, except i had no mentionable skills…
I still don’t have fully developed skills for the publishing part of my business. Muscle test says my skill level is 30%. But I make a living, and I don’t have to do anything soul-deadening any more.
So what is it that you should take away from this story…
How? If you can, learn the skills of the next thing while you are doing the ‘job’. Ben did the same: he learned the basics and the most important part of writing sales letters ‘cheating’ on his wage-earning job.
I did a little bit of that too, but I was caught and got fired.
You don’t have to become a champion level golfer to play golf for a living. Substitute the word ‘golf’ with whatever you want… In my case the skills of writing, speaking, advertising, teaching. My skills are only 30% compared to a ‘champion level’ person.
But without skills, some skills, you cannot start a new thing and hope it would work out.
- I have a student who hopes to learn to write good advertising for his brother’s business… But like surgery: med students first perform surgery on cadavers, not on live people, and especially not on their brothers. Left to his own devices, his own motive power, he doesn’t do anything past touch and go… No energy there.
- I used to have a student who liked starting businesses, while he had a main job. He didn’t like to ‘do’ business, he liked to ‘start’ businesses. He hated his job but he never developed the skill of business… because to start one you don’t need to have skills…
- I used to have a student who liked the idea of being a coach who tells people what to do. But she herself didn’t know what to do, she didn’t like to do the things she told people to do, so there was a profound inauthenticity that didn’t allow her to become good at anything.
And here is a last part, that I know many people have and would ask if I gave them a chance…
This is a tough question to answer, but I am going to try.
People who ask this question didn’t have a varied enough life experience.
In the What color is your parachute book there is a section called ‘strength finder’ and the exercise is designed for the reader to identify the skills/strengths they enjoy using. (pages 246-281). If there is a demand, I’ll conduct a strength finder workshop in the near future…
The people who have this last question don’t have enough experience in using any skill or strength, so they cannot effectively do the strength finder exercise.
The exercise goes like this: you recount an incident in your life, a project where you aimed at accomplishing something, and you succeeded. Moreover you liked the process, you enjoyed it.
It doesn’t have to be complicated: organize a birthday party, move house, find a new place to live, organize a moving party, find a new job, set up your water energizer system, change your diet, lose weight and keep it off, plan and create a garden, write the story of your grandfather, etc. etc. etc.
There is one criterion: the a project has to be big enough that when you write it up it will contain 30-40 skill verbs… or it is not useful to see what you enjoy to do and do well.
You likely have one, maybe two of these… not more. So your job is to start doing projects.
A project has to have a certain, measurable outcome, and it has to be in time… with a ‘deadline’.
And for it to be usable for our purposes, to find out which direction to take your life, it has to be big enough, and involved enough.
It has to be revealing about you.
You probably have minimal or no skills in setting up a project, so your first projects will be training projects… But eventually you’ll develop some skills an creating and managing projects… or not, of course.
But please know; context is powerful, but cannot change the underlying reality.
If you are trying to put a fantastic context on crap, it is still going to be crap, and you’ll just gain some respite from suffering… like I had in architecture: in fact i expanded my misery.
It is an important life-skill without which our life will go nowhere… guaranteed.
The projects we set up are broken up to tasks, and then we accomplish those tasks without fail… moving the project and our integrity forward in the process.
It is a skill to see what task to do… so it needs some management and some guidance.
I have set up an area on my site, a kind of ‘forum’ where you can post your tasks so I can guide you about them.
Expect to be bad first. If you are not willing to be bad, you won’t ever become good. Guaranteed.
The live Integrity workshop is closed to new registrations, but you have an opportunity to work side by side with the live course participants in the Discussion Forum even if what you bought is the home study version of the workshop.
If you sign up before this coming Friday, I’ll also offer you a discount as a push to get you off your tuffet.
Clean up your integrity
You’ll need to quickly catch up… so you are not much behind… The workshop started two weeks ago and its next session will be in about 20 days… so you have time to do the first leg of the course: the incomplete cycles… where you dig for stuff to complete, so you get the energy back from them. You’ll need it… you are working with only a fragment of energy of what you actually have.
OK, go and buy it now… if you want to have a better future than your present…
PS: I could write an article to tell you what jobs you can take with no skills, and be one of the over one trillion articles to tell you that it’s OK. But if you have no skills, the chances that you’ll find a job you enjoy and pays well are between zero and none. And because you spend at least half of you life with that job… your life will remain what it is: empty and unfulfilling. So better late than never, let’s find out what skills you could develop in the Integrity workshop, so your future can be better than your past. OK?
PPS: In searching for images for this article, I found hundreds of articles that say that you can start an online business without skills. It is a lie. In fact even ‘natural’ jobs for women, for example, like being a ‘service provider’ requires skills.
So really, every single job requires skills, the only difference is: some skills are less complex, so are easier to learn. But there is nothing you can actually do well without skills… not a thing.