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Succeed in 2020: 7 Essential Skills You’ll Need

To succeed in 2020 and beyond requires new skills.

If you’re reading this on New Years Eve, or even in the first days of the New Year, you’re probably feeling:

  1. Optimistic that 2020 will be your year; or
  2. Quietly afraid that it won’t work out

Maybe both at the same time.

Whilst I can’t read your future, I can tell you the skills to learn that give you the best chance of breakthrough success in the new decade.

The good news is, you can start to learn them for free and many of them you already have.

Here they are:

#1 – Delayed Gratification

Delayed Gratification means –

“To resist the temptation of an immediate reward in favour of a later reward.”

For example, ditching junk food for 12 weeks, until you can see your abs again.

If you’re trying to build something great (write a book, build a business, get a promotion), it takes a lot of hard work with little reward.

Days of “nose to the grindstone” work with few results to show for it.

Days upon days of nothingness and even going backwards.

The process is designed to break you. 

It does that to separate the people who really want it from the pretenders.

The only thing driving you forward during these dark days is your vision.

A vision of a better tomorrow.  A world shaped in your mould, even if only slightly.

Delayed gratification is an essential quality required by entrepreneurs trying to make the world better.

Make sure you choose the path you’re willing to tread even when there’s no money.

Sometimes there’s no one clapping for you and the only joy you get is from doing the work.

You have to show up everyday anyway, so show up for something you enjoy.

#2 – Sustained Concentration

In a world designed to distract us, the future belongs to people who can concentrate on a single task the longest.

Great works require great focus. Real results come from sustained focus.

To succeed in 2020, focus on being a creator, not a consumer.

To create effectively, you need tunnel-vision focus and long blocks of deep work while everyone else Candy Crushes and Tik Toks their life away.

My best hacks for sustained concentration are here.

Use your new superpower for:

  • Reading more books
  • Having more experiences
  • Think about who you want to become
  • Plan how to achieve the results you want
  • Make time for learning new skills
  • Review the year before
  • Identify what you want to change in 2020
  • Listen to feedback from employees and customers

#3 – Digital Competence

We’ve been through 4 revolutions:

  1. Hunting Age
  2. Agrarian Age (Farming)
  3. Industrial Age (Manufacturing)
  4. Information Age (Computers)

We’re currently on the cusp of the 5th revolution, the Super Smart Society (Artificial Intelligence) or Society 5.0 as its known.

If you’re still not “good with computers” you need to step up your game fast. Change is already here.

The Information Age required us to be able to work with computers, and Society 5.0 will take this to new levels.

People who can’t command the technology, will be commanded by it.

The Digital Competence Framework from the European Union gives you a process for the skills to learn to succeed in 2020 and beyond.

Use YouTube to study them for free, there’s literally no reason we can’t learn anything with all the resources available to us.

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#4 – Relentless Work Ethic

The internet has allowed anyone (even those with little talent) to extract fortunes from the internet.

They do that by commanding attention.

As a result, today’s first-world kids grow up expecting massive success.  

The Instagram private jets and posts of luxury goods made anything seem possible to these impressionable young minds.

This means there’s more people competing for the rewards you’re chasing after.  It used to be easier, because less people believed success was possible.

You might not be able to compete with the younger generations technology skills.

They’re literally known as Digital Natives (kids who grew up with technology from birth), but you can outwork them.

The “expectation of success” has also created a sense of entitlement in many youngsters, so this can become your advantage.

To succeed in 2020 requires the combination of relentless hard work and the other essentials in this post.

#5 – Vision

Technology has accelerated everything.

To take advantage of the future, its helpful to know where its heading.

You can’t tell the future, but you can decide what a better future looks like for the people you decide to serve.

When you know what change would bring value to the world, you just need to build it.

To know if the thing you plan on building will work, the golden rule is this:

  • People will always buy things that makes their life easier and/or saves them time

Make sure your idea passes this test.  If it does, then get to work building it!

If you don’t consider yourself someone with vision, you can partner with a visionary instead.

Steve Balmer became a billionaire as Bill Gates #2, so don’t think you have to be the main guy (or gal).

There are millions of frustrated visionaries (I’m one) crying out for competent people to help bring their dreams to reality.

You can succeed in 2020 even if you don’t feel like you’re ready to be “the main guy” in a company.

#6 – Digital Marketing Expertise

Maybe I’m biased, because its my field, but hear me out.

The reason I’m obsessed with digital marketing, is because its the key to unlimited wealth.

It literally gives you the ability to pull cash out of the internet, from people you’ve never met (and never will!).

And the world today is digital, so if you understand it, you’ll be in demand for a long time to come.

There are many areas within digital to focus on, I’d recommend you have a grounding in all so you can see the big picture, but also specialise.

Specialists get paid more than generalists.

But…make sure you don’t spend 2 years specialising in something that only lasts for 5 years before it dies out.

The things I specialised in are copywriting, content marketing, Facebook Ads, Google Ads and conversion rate optimisation.

#7 – Entrepreneur Skills

Whether or not you can acquire this skill or not is up for debate, but I do believe everyone has some level of natural entrepreneurial ability.

If you have even just 1% entrepreneur DNA, then the goal is to amplify it.

The traits required, according to Harvard Business Reviews study of 17,000 serial entrepreneurs found the following skills are essential:

  • Persuasion
  • Leadership
  • Personal Accountability
  • Goal Oriented
  • Interpersonal Skills

The study pointed to entrepreneurs being focused on getting a return from the projects they work on.

Getting a return requires:

  1. Something the market will buy (an offer)
  2. Making more than it costs you to provide (profitable product)
  3. Managing the money (financial control)

Without these 3 fundamental skills (or hiring someone to plug the gaps if it doesn’t come naturally to you), you’ll struggle to make money.

Great marketing can’t fix a bad offer.

More sales can’t fix bad economics.

World-class execution can’t fix poor money management.

Succeed in 2020: Summary

The world is changing constantly.

If you don’t change with it, you’re likely to become extinct.

We get paid in direct proportion to the value we create for other people.

The pathway to access other people is the internet.

Being able to connect with the people you serve on the platform of their choice is the key to remaining valuable as you enter society 5.0 and beyond.

With that said, you don’t have to master them all right now, but carve out time to study them.

Of course its not easy and most people won’t do anything with this information, but its the process to succeed in 2020.

So start now, follow the process and keep taking steps forward.

Your future self thanks you.

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