3-4 Passion and Work Part 3

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Scott Adams, who's the creator of the famous Dilbert cartoon, points out that he's got mediocre skills in a lot of areas. For example, Singapore entrepreneur, Adam Koo, found that his skills in magic And in DJing, completely unrelated to his degree in business, have taught him a lot about how to effectively engage with audiences. The result, he now runs one of Southeast Asia's largest private educational institutions training to tens of thousands each year.

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[MUSIC] In the last video we talked about careers and skills as being either t-shaped, with only one deep skill, or pi-shaped with two areas of emphasis. But of course there are other ways to think about careers and skills and don’t forget that hobbies can also play a role in your life of learning. Not do they make you happy, they help keep your brain fresh and agile. Sometimes they can even end up enhancing your career. For example, one of my hobbies is to watch a bit of television in the evenings with my husband, Phil. And this help me develop insights over the years about how the video medium looks and works, which in turn has helped me to build better MOOCs. But look at how other people think about building their skill sets. Scott Adams, who’s the creator of the famous Dilbert cartoon, points out that he’s got mediocre skills in a lot of areas. He’s a second grade artist, with reasonable writing, business, marketing, and social media skills. Put all those middling skills together, however, and it becomes clearer why Adams has been so successful as a cartoonist. His overall talent stack is terrific, even if he’s not particularly good at any one area. Many individuals focus on acquiring a specific skill, say, a certain programming language. But they forget that other skills, such as being able to speak humorously and effectively, can add formidable value to their talents stack. US sales entrepreneur Rodney Grim for example, keeps his focus on his broad profession in selling electronics. As he points out. » I’m a jack of all trades. While this limits me from truly excelling at one thing in particular. It also serves as a strong defense in a technological world where the rate of change is only accelerated. I’ve been an electronics technician, a programmer, a salesman. I also own my own business. And I shift my roles drawing on my background as opportunity and change dictate. » Brian Brookshire who’s worked as an online marketing specialist, looks at second-skilling from a related perspective. » To tell the truth, often there really isn’t that much difference between someone who’s been on the job for six months and someone who’s been working that same job for six years. So second skilling doesn’t need to be as difficult as you might think. Skill development careers are typically logarithmic and not linear. Which means that, while developing deep expertise may take a long time, often, you can rapidly accelerate to the point of diminishing returns in a fairly short period of time. And this is often good enough to get a toehold in a new area. Personally, I find that I really enjoy requiring lots of new skills because of that thrill you get with the initial rush of progress. » Sometimes you might find yourself blocked when you’re aiming for a certain career. For example, Princess Allotey, couldn’t afford to go full time to the university to study the mathematics she loved. » So I intend to give back to my community. I volunteered as a math teaching assistant, and I taught kids math in Ghana. I certainly proved language can improve things for kids in Ghana. And I ended up going around Ghana making presentations. Surprisingly, I developed this skill what I always wanted to do enough, and that was public speaking. » Intishar Rashad from Bangladesh has also made the most of a startling change of fortune. » When I graduated from high school, I decided to go into the military to become an air force engineer. However, due to an accident, I suffered a severe spine injury and it seemed to ruin my potential career choice. Instead of losing hope, I changed my mindset and now I’m a medical student focusing on a career in medicine. » So if you’re blocked, either temporarily or permanently in what you want to learn or do, that’s often a great opportunity to second skill yourself, or do something else that’s equally exciting or fulfilling. Once you started learning the new skill, you’ll often be surprised to see the powerful enhancement it makes with relation to your preexisting skills. And remember, non-academic topics can be invaluable assets to your career. For example, Singapore entrepreneur, Adam Koo, found that his skills in magic And in DJing, completely unrelated to his degree in business, have taught him a lot about how to effectively engage with audiences. The result, he now runs one of Southeast Asia’s largest private educational institutions training to tens of thousands each year. In the end, it’s always important to keep your mind open and to keep learning. This is the best way to ensure your skills don’t become obsolete. Read, take MOOCS, and take courses and seminars to keep yourself prepared, no matter what twists or turns your career may take. Do you have a skill or hobby that’s been overlooked but that could be valuable? Are there new technical areas you could start now to gradually learn about that you’ve previously dismissed as being something you wouldn’t be able to do? Head on over to the discussion forum and let us know about some of your hidden talent, potential and desires. And get ideas from the hidden talent and potential of others. [MUSIC]

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