#SoG141 - 5 Most Important Skills in Life!

5 most important skills that you need in life. (#SoG141)

This one comes from Naval (if you don't know him, google him up. His thoughts have influenced mine like no one else's. A great starting point to know more about him is to listen to this 2-hour long podcast that literally gave a new direction to my life).

In his most recent podcast (and the blogpost), Naval says that "The five most important skills are reading, writing, arithmetic, persuasion, and programming."

While everyone would agree on reading and writing, the other three are kind of tough to comprehend at first. Lemme try and explain those.

While Naval has a certain perspective on this, my interpretation is different. For me, Arithmetic is Numbers. Money. Compounding. Logic. Rationality. Predictability.

I mean, you could do maths in any language, anywhere in the world, in any situation, 2 + 2 will always be 4. There is nothing purer and complete than Maths (apart from some problems that remain unsolved). Arithmetic is a great way to get fluency going on basics of how things work.

If nothing else, just the grasp on even the basics of concepts like Compounding, Physics, Mental Maths will set you apart from a large proportion of the population.

No, he's not asking you to go write the code for the next version of Facebook. He means that if you learn to code, you get to the depth of a certain subject. You learn how to understand a complex thing in depth. And since you can code now, you can leverage that knowledge by creating experiments (even MVPs). And maybe at some point, give inputs to coders to get things done at scale.

The world we live in, ideas are dime a dozen and execution is a rarity. The ability to code gives you that edge to come across as someone who's done the hard work of a prototype. Couple it with the ability to sell (aka the ability to persuade), you are set for life!

I left this for the end. While this may sound negative (persuasion essentially is getting someone to do things that they normally would not do without persuasion), as an individual, I think this is THE single most important thing if you want to succeed.

From the time we are born to the time we die, we are constantly selling. And we use tricks of persuasion to sell. While it's considered "negative" it is required to be able to nudge your cause forward! The best source to learn about persuasion is to learn from insurance agents, used car salesmen, PUAs, VC brokers and MLM "leaders". In fact, I would love to meet some of you that do this! And if you want a book, look no further than Cialdini's Influence. It outlines 6 "principles" that when applied, allow you to persuade others.


So yeah, these five skills are important.
Most of you read.
Some of you write.
About time we added maths, code and persuasion to our arsenal.

If you had to add just one? I'd say Persuasion.

Oh, and the lesson for you?
Go find people who are adept at persuasion. Go meet them. Learn from them. Apply in your day to day life. And if required, practise!

That's it for the day!

Thank you for reading,
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Previous letters are archived here and here.

TAGS: Naval Ravikant, Cialdini, Selling, Sales, PUA, Persuasion, Ethics.


1. I don't really like the content of this letter - I am mere copy-pasting something that is already out there. There is no new information that I am adding. There is no cross-pollination of ideas. There is something that anyone in the world could've done.

However, this had to be sent because this is one of those "so simple yet so deep" messages.

And, promise that such emails remain an exception. And do not become the norm.

2. Also, the last few days have been busy and thus, the time has become limited. I did not want to miss two days in a row and hence this short, rehashed letter.

3. I would've loved to write more on this. I feel strongly for Persuasion and I am unable to pen my thoughts. This is challenging and exciting at the same time. Over the next few days, I will try to crystallise my thoughts and share. Do bear with me!

1. Now that I've used MailChimp for a few days, I have a clearer understanding of who all of you read, when do you guys read and how do you read.

If you are curious, the average open rate is 30%. That is HUGE if you ask me. This number is not important, to be honest. What is important is that on weekdays, the number is between 33 and 37. And on the weekends, it goes down to 28%. Which sucks because on the weekends I put in more effort than the weekdays and thus I consider my weekend writes better than the ones on the weekdays! And these are not being read! So, maybe I will stop sending emails on the weekend. And slot them on the weekdays. This week on.

And to be honest, at the subscriber base that I am at, these numbers don't really matter. This is yet another experiment. Let's see how it goes.

In case you have an opinion, please do let me know. It's your patronage that keeps this going!

"Always remember. You are only a character in someone else's life story but you are the superhero in your own story. Never take your happiness for granted." - From S's twitter feed.