It's all about leverage.
Here's the deal: everyone, through unique life experiences, has their own unique sets of skills, strengths and talents.
But more importantly, you have a unique combination of those sets of skills.
If you find you have a talent for writing, the first thing you're going to figure is "Hey, maybe I should do something where I get paid to write!"
Congratulations, you're already a step ahead of the curve.
But what if you're also great at systems thinking or negotiating or physical expression... or whatever else you happen to be good at?
The more time you spend doing the things you're the best in the world at, the more you will get paid.
If you're great at writing, you have a slight edge.
But if you do something where you can get paid for doing MORE of the things you're good at -- in COMBINATION -- that makes up your personal USP (unique selling position) -- and your income goes up exponentially, and your competition goes DOWN exponentially.
The more things you do that you are great at, the fewer people have your exact combination of skills and strengths and talents.
It's a simple question of supply and demand.
A doctor is well paid because it's hard to become a doctor, so there's fewer of them. At the same time, they perform a highly valuable service. Because there are so few of them, hospitals need to compete for them.
If you identify five things you're exceptionally talented at, and you figure out a way to combine all of them in your work or business, there will be almost no one else on the planet who can do what you do.
If you're great at writing, cool. There's a lot of other people who are great at writing, too. Big pool of competition if you want to get well paid for it.
But if you're also great at systems thinking AND negotiation AND physical expression AND public presentation skills...
A lot of people are good at those things, but virtually no one else will have your exact combination of talents.
If you can leverage that to do something that's valuable to others, you will be one of a kind. No one else will be able to solve problems the way you can solve problems. You'll have a monopoly on it. You can charge $2000 an hour for your time.
The first step is figuring out what you're the best in the world at.
If you insist that you're mediocre and you're not really good at anything, you're lying to yourself and you're afraid of facing who you are. You've allowed yourself to get rolled over by society. Everyone has a unique combination of EXPERIENCES, and that's where perspective and insight comes from.
Figuring out what you're the best at may be the most important thing you ever do.
It may take a while. I haven't fully figured out myself either. I know I'm good at writing. I'm GREAT at strategy and what I think of as "design thinking," I'm naturally good at selling and I'm good with people.
Some of my writing is also pretty bad, because while I'm good at writing, I'm really bad at editing.
Another aspect of this is figuring out what you absolutely SHOULDN'T be doing. If you're good at writing and you can get paid for it, your time spent writing might be worth $50 an hour. However, if you're BAD at writing and you still spend your time writing, that time is probably worth -$50 an hour when you factor in opportunity cost.
Don't do things you're not naturally good at doing. It drains you instead of energizes you, and it's a huge waste of opportunity since you (A) could have done something with that time that you're actually good at and (B) you could have gotten someone else who's good at that thing to do it.
The ultimate 80/20 application of how to spend your personal time is:
1. Figure out your exact combination of skills and strengths and talents
2. ONLY DO THOSE THINGS
3. Build a team around you. A team of people who ARE good at those things you're not. This way, you will end up with a very very valuable group of people who, as a team, are exponentially more valuable than the sum of its parts.
Do you get it now?
That's about all I had to say. I'm thinking a lot about this kind of stuff. I just finished reading my (signed) copy of Perry Marshall's new book "80/20 Sales and Marketing" and my brain is violently throbbing trying to digest it. Probably the most important business book I've ever read.
Most of the ideas in this post, I stole from Perry, as I understand them. A lot of things I write are just for personal benefit, so I can better figure it out for myself. In this case, I thought this would be extremely valuable for just about anyone else.
I shall leave you with this thought from Gary Vaynerchuk: <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/5fpyoxUAMbE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" />