Skills vs meta-skills

For the longest time, I’ve wondered why education systems don’t focus on teaching essential skills like good interpersonal communication, logic, the art of presenting, persuasion, developing continuous self-awareness, knowing how to receive any type of feedback and knowing how to give good feedback, effective reading, …

The answer—I just realized—is very simple. What I had thought of as skills are actually better described as meta skills.

What’s the difference?

A skill is something you can get paid to practice: sales, marketing, programming, photography, etc.

On the other hand, no one will pay you to be self-aware or to know how to be good at receiving/giving feedback.

The reason we’re not taught meta skills is because it’s hard to put a direct dollar value on them.

So they teach us the stuff (skills) that companies want to hire us for. But not the stuff (meta skills) that will make us successful at literally any job we end up taking.

If you, like me, haven’t been taught these skills in school—it’s not too late. Start now. You’ve gotten this far without them. Which is great—in a way. Because once you have them, there will be no stopping you!

Happy learning.