I’m a huge fan of Thomas Sowell.

If you don’t know Sowell, he’s a 91-year-old economist who’s written a couple dozen books on race, culture, and disparities, based on actual facts and empirical research, not narratives.

When asked in an interview what advice he would give to a young African-American who wants to make something of themselves in America today, the great Sowell, an African-American himself, said this:

“The way anyone else would. You equip yourself with a set of skills that people are willing to pay for.”

Mic drop.

I mean, it really is that simple.

Not easy, but simple.

In my opinion, what’s lacking in our society today is skills. More specifically, people who are willing to put in the long-term, daily work it takes to develop a set of skills that’ll solve people’s problems in exchange for payment.

The thing is, skill development is the opposite of instant gratification.

There is no download button for the skills you (African-American or not) need to make it. You have to sit your butt down every day for hours on end, dedicated and committed to being really bleeping great at something.

There are no shortcuts.

You start today and maybe, just maybe, in 3-5 years you’ll be scratching the surface of greatness.

Little by little, a little becomes a lot.

But you’re gonna have to decide what problem you want to solve, which skills you have to develop to solve it, what you’re going to say no to, and if social media is really that important.

What I know for sure is that if you don’t have any skills — skills that people are willing to pay for — you’re royally screwed in this life.

Expecting to receive something of value when you’re not offering anything of value is what failures do.

So, what skills do you have?

If you’re coming up empty, then today is the best day to get started on developing and crafting your valuable service.

If not, you’ll just keep waiting for someone to come save you from your own indecision, poor time management, and addiction to instant gratification.

No one is coming.

Well, except for Les Brown.

Today, Les kicks off a 3-Day Skill Series on the podcast, encouraging you, like Sowell, to become excellent at a skill that serves a pressing public need.

Source: Classic Les Brown

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