Your Excellent Skill-Set Is Keeping You Poor

by Matthew on May 29, 2011

I have a reasonably diverse skill-set and this might be a problem. If you are good at a lot of diverse things, you may have a similar problem.

See, I am a voracious learner and have a huge number of interests. With a background as an auto mechanic and having serious DYI inclinations (my wife and I purchased a fixer-upper which we are still fixing up) along with a technical background, I try to do everything myself. Why not? It seems easy. I change my own oil, mow my own lawn, renovate my own house, and tend to look askance at folks who proudly proclaim “I wouldn’t know what to do with a paintbrush and roller if they magically dropped from the sky along with a set of instructions!”

But it’s specialization which leads to wealth, as many economists will tell you. Over the course of history, societies have become more wealthy as people have moved toward specialization. You probably don’t grow all of your own food; rather, you work at something you are good at to make money with which to buy your food.

If you are spending a lot of time trying to do everything yourself and doing things outside of your area of specialization, you might be cutting down on time spent becoming or staying an expert in your area of specialization. “Jack of all trades; master of none” sounds a bit harsh, but you can’t become an expert if you’re spending all of your time trying to do things you could easily hire out for reasonable money considering the time. Even the inimitable Pat Flynn has mentioned how he spent a lot of time when he was getting started just learning blogging and some of the technical aspects of websites and blog platforms.

Think about what you spend your time doing and learning, and consider whether your time is being spent most efficiently. If you’re spending all your time doing things which aren’t efficient uses of your time, you are probably shorting yourself a lot of opportunity in your area of specialization.

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