Three important business skills that I wished I had learned in college are pitching, effective execution, and pouring acrylic paint onto the canvas. These skills are so valuable for me today that I can’t even imagine not having them, or why I never picked them up back in the day.
Everyone is selling something, from products, services, ideas, information, spirit and even hope – so applying for a job, you’re selling yourself as a whole package with your skills (be it technical skills, soft skills, intelligences, credentials, experiences, and networking ability). When you’re applying for a university spot, you sell your GPA, extra curricula history, and other academic achievements.
Unless you’re great at pitching, most likely you’re looking at a so-so life. Pitching is the ultimate tool of those with a winner’s mentality. You need to knock on closed doors, call influential people, and impress stakeholders to move up the career and business ladder. Eventually with the right pitching, you’ll bring yourself closer to your prized goal that you’ve been internalizing and imprinting all along.
- Effective Execution
Ideas are cheap. You can talk about doing this, that, this, and that times billions. An idea doesn’t mean anything unless it’s executed.
How often did you listen to people who said, “I almost became a/an x,y, and z. But I didn’t, because I was too so and so.” Does that statement mean anything? Of course not. Anyone can say things like that, it simply shows that at least their grey cells under the skull are working. However it doesn’t show their actual capacity in getting things done.
I’ve met a 16-year old who can accomplish many things without much assistance from others, including his parents. On the flip side, I’ve also met many 40-year olds who couldn’t keep a single job, never accomplished anything, failed in personal relationships, and still lived with their aging parents.
The 16-year old was an impressive executor of ideas. He cracked the books and hacked how things work. I’m using the terms “crack” and “hack” in both literal and figurative meanings. Was he born with a superb execution skill? Most likely, but it’s actually learnable, like I did.
- Pouring Acrylic Paint Onto the Canvas
This one is my hobby, which I’ve been finding very relaxing. The shift between using the left part of the brain hemisphere to the right part can be felt immediately. Whenever I feel burned out, I’d pour some acrylic paint of various colors onto the canvas and create some artwork.
It’s a mindfulness skill, where you let go of the chaos in your mind and start looking at the world with a fresh pair of eyes. There are various mindfulness skills, like sitting meditation, jogging, swimming, and other activities requiring complete focus.
Such activities would eventually bring you to the state of “flow,” which is a psychology term coined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, where he outlined his theory that most people are the happiest when they’re in this state.
In “flow” state, concentration is singular, which allows complete absorption with the activity. Most people forget about time when they’re in this state of mind.
Pitching, effective execution, and mindfulness can be learned. They do, however, take determination and practice. We all get distracted and talk more than we should. It’s time to focus and talk less, but execute more.
What are the three skills you wish you had learned in college?