- Mastering a skill could help you make more money, leverage your career, and reach financial independence sooner.
- On an episode of the Mad Fientist podcast, Cal Newport, an associate professor at Georgetown University, says skills are our “strongest weapon” for building wealth and career satisfaction.
- The more money you earn, the more you’re able to save and invest, and the greater control you’ll likely have over your future.
Refining or mastering a skill is our “strongest weapon” when it comes to building wealth or career satisfaction, according to Cal Newport, an associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University and a bestselling author.
“You could generate more money. You could generate much more autonomy and leverage over how you generate that money. You get much more flexibility about when and how you work,” Newport told Brandon, an early retiree, on his podcast the Mad Fientist.
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“I’m huge booster in skill. I think that sometimes gets lost,” Newport continued. “I could get lost in the conversations of spreadsheets and savings rate and trying to push things out. The one lever that you also could give you this huge, huge return is the better you are at something that the market values, just the more control you have over almost all those factors.”
Many financial experts agree: Savings can only get you so far on the path to building wealth. The more money you earn, the more you’re able to save and invest, and the greater control you’ll likely have over your future.
John, an early retiree and blogger at ESI Money, interviewed nearly 100 millionaires and said one of the biggest contributors to their wealth was investing “time and energy to grow their careers and the skills needed to get ahead.” He found some of the most lucrative skills include public speaking, decision-making, writing, negotiating, and strategic thinking.
There’s also immense value in mastering skills of a particular trade, like playing the guitar. Often, skills can bring you further in your career than passion, Newport argues in his 2012 book “So Good, They Can’t Ignore You.”
“It really is like a magic elixir for career satisfaction — be really, really good at something,” Newport told Brandon. “Even if that requires a sort of in-the-desert apprenticeship type period where you’re really just in the woodshed doing the practicing.”