How skilled are you? Do you seek to identify, acquire, develop, and improve the most important life skills, in an ongoing way?
We often think about success, and even happiness, as if it's mostly about talent and luck - what you're born with, and what comes your way, completely apart from your control. But obviously, this is a passive and even fatalistic viewpoint. We don't get to choose our talents, or innate levels of talent, and we can certainly position ourselves for luck to strike, but we can't call it down from the heavens. It happens, or it doesn't. That's inherent to the concept of luck.
I've come to realize that this common way of thinking is both wrong and terribly unhelpful. Life success is more about skill than it is about either talent or luck. A skill is something that can be learned and developed. Riding a bike, swimming, dancing, and golf all involve skills. You don't start off in life innately knowing how to do these things well, but you can learn, and you can get better with time, effort, and deliberate practice.
A lot in life is like that. Goal setting is a skill. Listening well is a skill. And because of that, great conversations tend to result from the cultivation of a skill, or a set of skills. Building and maintaining confidence is a skill. So is the mental act of concentration. Building a business, or a career, is all about cultivating the right skills and using them well.
I've come to think that building a life of fulfillment and happiness is like that, too. There are skills to be learned and cultivated. They are things we can get better at doing, as we seek to improve. But if we have a passive mindset, we won't even try. To me, the exciting thing about the concept of a skill, and especially the idea of life skills, is that once we have the concept and begin to apply it, we can change our lives for the better, and improve greatly. We begin to see little things everywhere that we can work on in our emotional and behavioral repertoire. And as we become more skilled at doing the things that count, that elusive partner called luck seems to find us more often, and treat us much better.
For good books related to this, books that will help you to understand this more and develop your own best life skills, go get Talent is Overrated, by Geoff Colvin, and Mindset, by psychologist Carol Dweck.