Some people might say why do i need to learn all about developing my non financial resource, if i have money and all the material things i need and want then surely there is nothing else to learn. Well, with all intent and purposes you could be described as a success. That might be true to a point but you miss the important message and potential long lasting success you can have if only you realise that you need to develop your inner self before you can be truly successful.
How many rich people have you heard of or seen on TV that just do not seem content or happy with their lot ? The issue is not that they don’t have money or wealth etc…but they developed their financial resources before working on their non-financials, this is partly the reason why there is an ever growing increase of psychologists and rehab centres springing up everywhere…..
Do you remember watching the programme where contestants work on various tasks with the aim of securing a lucrative job with a business tycoon. The UK version had Sir Alan Sugar as the tycoon, but it was something he mentioned which also proves this point, it was during one of the tasks when the budding apprentices were sent to an east end market to sell goods and beforehand, it showed Sir Alan visiting the market where apparently he had plied his trade and selling skills. He basically said, he could re-accumulate his wealth even if he had to restart all over again.
So why would he say that, initially, i thought this is a man with incredible riches and massive confidence in his ability. But, when you think of it deeply, you begin to realise that he could certainly do it, as what he has developed all those years growing up in the tough streets of the east end of London was his people skills, life skills, essential for the journey which is life. Therefore, i personally have no doubt in him when he says he could re-accumulate his wealth all over again.
What about Sir Richard Branson, Anita Roddick, Bill Gates, Ted Nicholas, George Soros, to name but a few, do you think they could re-accumulate their wealth if they all had to start over again? Of course they can, they will obviously face challenges, but no more than what they have had to face in reaching the heights they have reached.
To further show you how developing your non financial resources is critical to your success in your career or business i wish to share with you a story i came across from an excellent book i read, called Dream Making in a Dream Taking World, by Dr. Price. It follows and answers why you need to work on developing your life skills, your people skills, why for instance a lawyer might need to attend a workshop on communication skills, or why an engineer should read plays by shakespeare, or why an accountant should watch a DVD on leadership skills.
You may have heard of the story of the “swallows of capistrano”. It is the story of these tiny birds on their migration habits. Each year, the swallows fly 6,000 miles from Buenos Aires, Argentina to San Juan Capistrano, in southern California. Most of the journey is over open ocean and for a long time Researchers could not work out how they managed this trip. The birds could not swim, and they could not fly 6000 miles non-stop.
It was later that Researchers found out that the swallows on their journey carried twigs in their beaks, and so when they got tired they would drop the twig into the water and float on them until they were rested. After a while, they would take off again until they reached their destination.
Like swallows, people are on a long journey, so like twigs are to swallows, soft skills are to people, without them, you are likely to sink! You see having life skills enables you to move from one career to another, they are portable, for example, if an auto mechanic suddenly decided to change career, and there is a good chance this might happen to you, long gone are the days of job for life, and all research shows that people are likely to change careers at least 10 times in their lifetime, and those are conservative estimates, it is the soft skills that will enable you to move on, as once you have the communication skills, the interpersonal skills to back you up the transition is easier.
Soft skills vs Hard skills
I am not saying that hard skills are non-essential of course they are, if you are a car mechanic you need to know your hard job specific skills, and if you are an accountant the same applies or whatever career you are in, but the difference between those climbing the ladder of success and those stuck at the bottom of the ladder of success are the soft skills.
Those people with far developed people skills are likely to be in position of power and moving upwards in their careers. Let me give you a little assignment, in your company where you work try to examine your managers, directors and the CEOs of the business and try to determine what separates them from the rest of the group, by and large you will find it is their soft skills, and not necessarily any particular hard skills. To be in a position of authority you need to have people skills, life skills to be able to manage, show vision and lead your team.
There is a great saying – the people that know the how’s will always work for the people that know the why’s. Not all the directors of a company will have the hard specific skills needed for their business to succeed, but i bet you they know a man who knows how! Look at our leaders today, presidents, prime ministers, they all have highly developed soft skills, i mean you can’t do a course in how to be a president or how to become a prime minister. So what skills do you need for these roles, well it is exactly the skills we have been talking about, i.e. good organisational skills, good communication skills, good time management skills, good problem-solving skills, good sales skills, good listening skills and good leadership skills…So does it not make sense to work on developing your non-financial skills?.
Tony Buzan and Raymond Keene are world experts on the study of intelligence and IQ, you can look them up, they have produced hundreds of material on the subject of the brain and intelligence. In one of their studies they concluded that there were 10 types of intelligence, however only 2 gets tested most of the time, and so most of the tests we receive were not conclusive on a persons abilities. But they pointed out one characteristic which they regard as being key, and that was the interpersonal intelligence, this in short is the ability to relate to other people, and alongside this was the intrapersonal intelligence they described these 2 as perhaps most essential as they help in facilitating the other skills and intelligence that they mentioned (to be discussed in later posts).
It is really amazing stuff, and gives everyone hope, especially those who have been discarded or abandoned by the school system. If you read about most of the successful people on earth, so many of them do not have high IQs in the traditional areas which are often tested in our schools, not that these are not important, they are, but it is to show you that having a high IQ or exceptional hard skills does not necessarily determine your success in work or business.
So how can you improve your non-financial resources, well some of the answers have been expressed already, but in all you need to develop your self help training. Self-help is essentially helping yourself to succeed, whether it is having a mentor, an advisor, consultant work with you you still need to be responsible for the design of your course, your training, where you go and what you read. Benjamin Franklin once said: “You will be the same in 5 years, except the books you read and the people you meet”. I think that kind of sums it up. You need to learn from others, your peers and your mentors, a prudent person will learn from their own experience, but a wise person will learn from others.
Furthermore, you are likely to find, and this may prove controversial, that people with soft skills earn more money than people with hard skills. For a start all the directors, CEOs are people with soft skills. But you do the research yourselves, you are likely to discover all those sales related positions within your company are those with the highest wages and perks. I am also talking from experience having started my working career within a software company.
There are 3 main types of jobs, all coming under one of these three headings, you can disguise them all you like, it will fit under one of these: sales, administration and technical. All essential in any business, but somehow, the sales positions when you consider the OTEs etc.. earn far more.
Now does that mean we should all become salesmen and women, of course not, but what i do mean, is we need to perhaps think more like salespeople, unfortunately sales staff get a bad headline, but if you think about it we are sales people, everyone lives by selling something. As a child you would have requested for your favourite toy or gift and somehow you were able to negotiate, setup a deal with your parent, in which they bought you the present, these are sales skills in action.
As we get older, we seem to loose these soft skills we had in abundance whilst growing up, however, unless you get specific training you loose it for good. Sales people on the other hand get regular re-programming of these essential skills through tailored training for their jobs etc…And so it is no wonder why some of them are some of the highest paid people in business…So regardless of what you do, you need to basically learn these skills which sales people seem to have autonomy over, as these are the skills which will help you get a promotion, help you build confidence in yourself, help with your organisational skills, listening skills etc.. and more importantly could also help you in landing your ultimate DREAM job.
Finally, to wrap up this particular post, i would like to leave you with an excellent quote from Ansel Adams, it follows:
“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera
You bring to the act of Photography all the pictures you have seen,
the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.”