Is money more important than skills or skills more important than money? I suppose it could be looked at the same way as ‘does the chicken come before the egg or the egg before the chicken’ debate but my experience has demonstrated that skills are more valuable than money.
I have been in the same desperate situation as many of you, wishing for money thinking it will solve all my worldly problems. I still remember the intense feelings of insecurity and worry about my finances when I was a single mother, therefore I understand the value of money and the quality of life it can give you. However, if I was to receive a pile of money when I pleaded with the universe to give it to me I would have never attained the amazing gifts, opportunities and life that I have now. Why is that? Because I was forced to dig deep within myself and figure out what talents, strengths and skills I possessed at that time, build upon them and use them to deal with whatever was causing me stress.
I didn’t have the magical life I do now, there was a time when I was drowning in more than just financial problems. And what was I doing to solve them? Blaming, pointing fingers at others and validating my poor decisions. Luckily I wasn’t stuck long in the blaming and shaming phase and realized that it wasn’t bringing me any resolutions. When I began my self-analysis I discovered my flaws and weaknesses and began a strategy to address them. One, of course was money management (admitting to my $h*t). This is where skills and the money part come in. Money is fleeting and is as valuable as the market or economy (which is often out of our control) AND it takes skills to manage it efficiently. I was forced into a situation to learn how to manage my money and to make better money management decisions. I also learned had other skills that could potentially bring me in more money so I started building on those as well. Skill-building changed my life and I soon became addicted to attaining new skills and learning as I was becoming more and more confident in dealing with any situation or challenge I was faced with.
Knowledge and skills builds confidence – something we all desire. There is a pull to stay where we are comfortable as our brain protects us from pain and unpleasant experiences. So we stay in a job where we know how to perform tasks that don’t require much effort to avoid the risk of failing or falling flat on our face. Are we happy? Probably not, but fear keep us there. I now purposely put myself in work situations where there is a big learning curve and/or a major challenge because it takes me to a whole other level in terms of skill-building, I suppose it could be described as a sink or swim situation. Why? Because I absolutely dislike the feelings of frustration, incompetence and insecurity I am VERY motivated to learn and grind through as quickly as I can. We are made to survive and I use that ancient compulsion that is embedded in our DNA to adapt and evolve.
I am again in another leadership position but this time in a foreign environment and new culture without anything familiar to me – I am completely on my own. I have a lot to adapt to including living on a remote island. I am very excited about this new opportunity as it puts me in a position where I am dependent on others to guide and teach me, this time I am not completely in control. Imagine, where you have to set aside all your biases, worldviews, opinions (this is a hard one), and ego to let new learning and experiences in. When you open your mind and yourself up to new experiences you can almost feel all the neurons in your brain firing and making new connections. This truly is living.
Although my contract here is for only two years I know my future and career will always involve continuous learning and skill-building. I have seen the positive effects of it and can’t imagine my desire for new learning will ever fade. I have achieved many of my goals that I have laid out for myself but it was never the destination that gave me the most satisfaction, but rather what I acquired along the way. Money is great but there is nothing more thrilling and exciting than attaining a new skill that brings more value, new paths and increased opportunities in your life. Skills bring more life satisfaction than money because they will always be there when you need them.