“Every Adversity, Every Failure, Every Heartache Carries With It the Seed of an Equal or Greater Benefit.”
Empathy as Valuable Life Skill
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”
―Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
One of the 3 valuable life skills is to learn empathy with a sales job. In a world where the more value you create for others, the more of what you want you to get, empathy is an immensely valuable skill. How would you give others what they want if you can’t see the world through their eyes? That is where those valuable life skills come in.
“Can I get paid while learning empathy? What is this sorcery?” These must be things going through your mind right now. The answer is: “Yes, you can!”
Empathy is crucial because it helps you understand how others feel, how they make decisions, and what they want. If you ever want to earn substantial amounts of money, you’ll need to understand what people want before producing it and bringing it to them.
You don’t need to work full time, but it needs to be commission-based. Think of this as learning to ride a bicycle.
Having a fixed salary is the kiddie-wheels. Getting paid by commission only is the real deal.
“I’d never work in sales. It’s a stupid job that requires no qualifications.” It is the kind of statement you often hear, notably in the old world, where more formal paths are preferred. It’s partly true. Sales require no formal education.
Not everyone can be a great mathematician, but everyone can learn calculus.
There’s nothing stupid about sales, however. Great car salesmen outearn engineers by far. You don’t need to be an expert to generate sales. Looking like an expert makes the sale. Being an expert keeps the returns low. I’ve noticed so far that people who frown upon sales jobs do so out of spite. Because they can’t do it. I don’t think they understand selling is an exercise in empathy and eloquence. Empathy because you need to be in the skin of the other person. What you want doesn’t matter. It’s all about them and their problem. Eloquence because you want to communicate simply and clearly what your value proposition is, and you want to show how it solves your future customers’ problems.
They say you don’t sell drills; you sell holes.
There’s no greatness in being pedantic and not connecting with people. There’s just no degree that will certify you can do it. The market will.
Sleazy salespeople? Maybe. The truth is, human beings love to buy stuff. They just hate being sold to. We love to buy things that have the potential to make our lives better. More often than not, bad salespeople just get in the way of us buying.
An example I encountered recently is when dealing with the sales manager at a company manufacturing machines I needed for Marco’s Grounds. To give you the long story, in short, I needed a 400 kg machine shipped by air. As I asked the salesman if he could ship it by air the next day, his answer was “why?”
Take a second. This may be subtle for some people.
It’s also the stupidest thing a salesperson can ever do. Do you imagine going to an ice cream truck and asking for a scoop of strawberry and a scoop of pistachio ice cream just to have the sales associate there ask you, “why?”
The only thing he should be saying is “Yes, right away!” and “We have an offer on XYZ ice cream; if you take one additional scoop, you get a 50% off ” or something similar.
When you question what the customer wants, you’re putting yourself in the equation along with the opinions that bring nothing to either you, the customer or your company. All of a sudden, the conversation is about you when it should be about them. Don’t do it.
You’ll learn that your success is dependent on giving other people what they want. This is huge. It applies to business, dating, friends, and family. It applies to everything.
Social Acumen as Valuable Life Skill
“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”
― Oscar Wilde
Social skills are an integral part of functioning in society. Displaying good manners, communicating effectively with others, being considerate of the feelings of others, and expressing personal needs are all important components of solid social skills. In fact, children gain most of their skills through playing.
The art of being assertive while not offending others becomes very valuable when you’re the one paying for everyone’s time.
You might see managers and other leaders mistreat employees or colleagues. Not working on themselves hard enough to control their emotions has no direct impact on their finances and, down the line, eventual survival. So, some don’t bother.
You’ll rarely see a company owner (or at least a successful one) offend anyone. The reason for this might be twofold. It might be that as an owner of a company, you actually feel responsible for people and their well-being. It might also be because they won’t have the same motivation to work on your vision if you offend anyone. Or it might be a mix of several things. The point is that there is a real currency value to being sociable.
How to learn this?
Maybe you’d think the best way to learn this is through starting your own business. Maybe. Another view on this is to have someone else actually pay for your “learning.” This is ultimately the magic of having a real job. Other people will pay you so that you acquire a bunch of skills. If you ask me, it’s nothing short of a series of minor superpowers to stack on top of each other.
The best way I know to learn social acumen while getting paid would be to work in a bar or wait tables. These are excellent jobs to build the traits that underline charisma.
Especially if tips are a major part of your compensation, you’ll learn that making other people happy directly impacts your financial well-being.
This is an excellent job to do if you want to travel the world for a bit and meet interesting people all over the place.
Adaptability as Valuable Life Skill
“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving. We get stronger and more resilient.”
Oftentimes it is not if we fail but when we fail and how we react to it. It’s not what happens to us but how we choose to handle it.
The reality is that when you start a business, you are almost certain to fail at some of its elements, if not at all of them.
Even if you don’t want to be a business owner, I’d argue that what you learn by having a side hustle and trying to make it fairly sustainable is of great value.
It’s critical to accept that you will fail and become comfortable with that fact. Not complacent—repeated failure does not equal commercial success—but eager to fail in order to acquire the lessons necessary to advance with better, stronger ideas and approaches.
There’s a huge caveat to this. The side hustle destiny needs to be meaningful to you in some sense. If you’re doing it just for fun, invest little time, and have no financial skin in the game, then what you’ll learn will not be as valuable. Perhaps it will not be valuable at all. Think of this as the difference between trading with fake money and trading with real money. Those are very different things.
The value of this learning is directly impacted by how much has been invested in the side hustle.
Also, there is intriguing evidence, popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in his book David & Goliath, that people who are more accustomed to and comfortable with failure can actually be more successful as a result of it—the theory being that because they are more accustomed to and comfortable with failure, they do not give up as easily.
I do not mean failure in the conventional sense of failure to achieve rapid success. Other genuine and physical failures may occur along the route, such as failing to make a deadline, dissatisfying a client, failing to deliver on a company commitment, or failing to manage an employee issue effectively. This will all result in failure and the gift of adapting to it.
While failure can be discouraging, it is critical to realize that it is a necessary part of the process—and, in fact, can provide some of the most valuable lessons for developing a stronger, more adaptable organization.
That’s it. This was my countdown of 3 valuable life skills you can learn while making money. I hope you find the inspiration to apply some of those to your life.