Damn. I guess eight of of ten ain’t so bad. I started going down this list of 10 skills you need to succeed at almost anything and I was doing fine until I got to number seven.
You don’t have to be able to integrate polynomials to be successful. However, the ability to quickly work with figures in your head, to make rough but fairly accurate estimates, and to understand things like compound interest and basic statistics gives you a big lead on most people. All of these skills will help you to analyze data more effectively – and more quickly – and to make better decisions based on it.
And number ten threw me.
10. Basic Accounting
It is a simple fact in our society that money is necessary. Even the simple pleasures in life, like hugging your child, ultimately need money – or you’re not going to survive to hug for very long. Knowing how to track and record your expenses and income is important just to survive, let alone to thrive. But more than that, the principles of accounting apply more widely to things like tracking the time you spend on a project or determining whether the value of an action outweighs the costs in money, time, and effort. It’s a shame that basic accounting isn’t a required part of the core K-12 curriculum.
OK, really I guess I can do those things. Or at least I can do them well enough most of the time. I can do some figures in my head, fairly quickly. I had to look up compounded interest to find out that I already knew what it was. And I can do statistics well enough to understand the between the mean and the median.
And I can track my income well enough to keep a positive balance in the bank, and to know when I need to curtail spending for a while.
The only one that seriously trips me up is number three.
If success depends of effective action, effective action depends on the ability to focus your attention where it is needed most, when it is needed most. Strong organizational skills, effective productivity habits, and a strong sense of discipline are needed to keep yourself on track.
My ADD makes that a constant struggle, and often a losing battle.
But seriously, does anyone do all of them well, all of the time? If they do, they’re not human.