Everyone Should have Three Basic Skills

If you thought I was going to list specifically which three skills, I apologize for the ambiguity in the title. How would I know which three basic skills you should have? I only assert everyone should have three. I’m going to share with you mine.

(Bear in mind that were you to ask someone which three skills he or she thought you had, you are bound to be given a list with which you may not agree. Sort of like a horoscope: there might be some aspects which are accurate, but more often than not, it’s a guess.)

Everyone should have three and everyone should figure out which three to lay claim to.

Here are mine . . .

  1. I am skilled in seeing the very best trait in any one person;
  2. I am skilled in seeing the very worst trait in any one person; and
  3. I am a skilled sleeper.

Skill #1 example: I have a friend who is generous. She is the personification of a cup-floweth-over, shirt-off-her-back type of friend. That’s her very best trait.

Skill #2 example: This same friend is selfishly demanding of advice and attention when in crisis. That’s her very worst trait. (Both for the crisis she is in the midst of and my having to not only listen to her rant on about it but also serve as her bottomless font of insightful guidance.)

Skill #3 example: I can fall asleep in fewer than ten minutes if I am lying down. I don’t need a pillow or blankets. If those are supplied, my falling asleep time is cut in half. I can sleep in the car, on a plane, on the beach, at the movies, watching TV, watching someone else’s TV, on a desk, at a lecture, etc. (My “et cetera” is no flowery addendum. You name a place, I’ve probably fallen asleep there.)

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Skills #1 and #2 remind me to look for the best in people while guarding against the  worst. I make my observations without judgment, for surely I have a best and worst of my own.

Skill #3 reminds me how fortunate I am to do with ease that which many find challenging to the point of frustration.

In some ways, I wish everyone had my same basic three skills — then I’d find out what my best and worst traits are.

Well, I would right after I woke up.

One thought on “Everyone Should have Three Basic Skills

  1. If the distinction is not in Strunk and White it is unlikely I would know it: EOS is my preferred reference.

    I am of the opinion humans do not have an infinite number of skills, more like fifty or sixty. Of those, I am curious about “which” ones from that limited number. To my mind, there is no need to inquire after “what” ones. I rest my distinction — between “which” and “what” — on the premise that “infinite” is not a descriptor to attach to human talents.

    If anything, your critique shows your underlying optimism in human nature over my practical assessment of it.


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