Be unique

In order to be unique in a professional career, you need to be in the top 1% of what you’re doing. But reality is, it’s hard to be in the top 1%. Your chances are near null, unless you started doing it early, have good mentors, and a bit lucky.

Scott Adams suggests another thing instead, and I completely agree with him. Instead of trying to be in the top 1% in a field. Try to be in the top 25% in three or more fields. And make sure one of them is related to communication: public speaking, writing, etc.

You now communicate well, know 2 or more skills, and you’re pretty good at them. You’re now unique.

Shut up

The last quote was, be interesting. And now you need to shut up. Or more importantly, you need to balance between keeping quiet and talking.

Always talking will make you a jerk. Even if you have knowledge. Only talk when you feel you’ll add information to the subject. And sometimes, even if you think you can add something, keep quiet. It’s all about the balance.

Be interesting

Everyone want to talk to interesting people. Those sharing knowledge, ideas and experiences.

To be one, get ideas about fields other than what you’re working on. Try things people do not usually do. Try minimalism, fasting, podcasting and others. Read about history, how things work, children books, etc. Make these your default time companions, instead of Netflix.

Being interesting will help you grow personally and professionally. Anyone wants to talk to interesting people. And anyone wants to work with interesting people.

Keep your ethics

Throughout life, many things change. Our ideas, priorities, perception of life, etc. It’s normal and it’s a sign that we are growing.

One thing you need to be extra cautious about, is your ethics. Those are the things you need to keep your whole life. They will keep you on track while you’re discovering the world.

Years are only numbers

“Stop playing, you’re an adult now!”. I’m sure you’ve heard this before. What do being an adult mean anyway?

As humans, we have problems quantifying things. So we always tend to use universal measurements. My pinch of salt, isn’t your pinch of salt. But 3 grams of salt is the same for both of us.

This also applies to our usage of years. We use them to make our communication about time easier. When we talk about an engineering major, for example. We can’t say you should study until you are ready. People are different. Some will be ready in 3 years, but others in 5. And to avoid this, humans normalized it and said: at least 5 years. But, is it normal all engineering majors require the same number of years to complete? Isn’t there at least one major harder/easier than others?

All this to say, using number of years as a measurement is flawed. Stop thinking you should not play if you’re an adult. Stop thinking you need at least X years doing something to be a senior. Stop thinking you can’t start something because you’re old/young.