The term “talent stack” refers to developing a collection of skills that work in tandem to dramatically increase your value to the world. It’s the thought that instead of being great at one skill, you can be at least “good enough” at a variety of skills that work together. “Talent stack” is a phrase that was coined by Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert.
“Talent stack” is a useful phrase, but Scott Adams didn’t invent the concept. The concept of having a skill-set well versed in multiple valuable skills has been discussed by many wealthy authors of “how to get rich” books.
I have been meaning to write an article on this on Western Mastery for a little while now. Frankly, this is one of the key themes of Western Mastery — developing your skill set in useful, masculine skills, and leveraging them to your greatest advantage.
As Rich Dad Poor Dad author Robert Kiyosaki says, “most people are one skill away from becoming rich.” Rich Dad Poor Dad is a classic book that will teach you how to really improve your view of your personal finances, which is the key to dramatically changing your lifestyle and earning a lot more money throughout your lifetime. Unless you’re already an expert on finance, this book is as close to a must-read as you’re going to find.
Basically, Robert Kiyosaki is saying that most people lack marketing skills. If they had them, they’d dramatically turn their fortunes around.
Marketing skills are an essential aspect of your talent stack. Simply put, marketing skills are how you get a product and yourself noticed by the rest of the world.
You can be a master at any one skill, but if you can’t market your talents, you won’t make much money off of what you do. In fact, many will tell you that it’s better to be “good enough” at what you do, or to have a “good enough” product, and be a great marketer than to be great at what you do but have no idea how to market.
Marketing, however, is only one aspect of the talent stack. There are a lot of men who are experts in various fields, whether they’re great janitors, mechanics, writers, lawyers, or anything else. But if they remain stagnant and don’t take the time to add useful new skills to their talent stack, they hold themselves back significantly.
They might make enough to just scrape by, or they might even earn a healthy living, but whether their goal is more money, a better lifestyle, or both, they’re still limiting their potential.
I’ve met many men who are incredibly hard-working, but their mindsets hold them back from escaping their 9-5 wage-slave lifestyles. Ask them why they continue to work so hard for the same pay, and they’ll typically give you a litany of excuses. In short, they refuse to put int he effort to learn anything more than what they know.
And this fact will continue throughout history simply because it’s human nature. You can’t motivate everyone to do something worthwhile. If you’re trying to teach your fellow man, the best thing you can do is find those who are motivated and help them learn. But most importantly, you have to start with yourself.
If you read Western Mastery, there’s absolutely no excuse for you not to develop your talent stack. Unless you’re exactly where you want to be in life (highly unlikely), you need to take time out of your time to develop your talent stack and leverage your talents.
The following includes ten of many reasons to develop your talent stack.
1) Opportunities Open Up For You
If you have skills, people will notice. If you can sell yourself, many more people will notice.
If you always have your resume out there, and your resume includes a wide variety of talents, you’ll notice a lot of inquiries about various skills in your resume. Often times, people will be curious about them in tandem. Generally speaking, you’ll have much fewer inquiries if your skills are one-dimensional.
I don’t know what your goals are, but whether you work for yourself or someone else, your opportunities are much more pronounced when you have a deep talent stack of marketable skills. You can be a competitor in countless markets instead of juts one.
2) It Enables You to Escape the 9-5
On that note, again, developing your talent stack is essential if you want to escape the 9-5.
Even if they don’t use the phrase “talent stack,” anybody who tells you how to escape the 9-5 will tell you that you need to build up a set of valuable skills to do so.
Even if you already have most of the skills you need, you need to use a combination of your previously developed skills to work for yourself. Those skills, at the bare minimum, include whatever you’re good at which you’re selling, plus general business, financial, and marketing sense.
If you don’t have at least these basic money and business skills, you’ll be a wage slave forever.
3) It Develops your Abundance Mentality
The abundance mentality is an essential mindset for all men to maintain. It doesn’t matter if it’s with women, your job, or anything else. You must develop and maintain an abundance mentality towards life.
It shows in your words and actions if you are one-dimensional and need certain relationships. You can bet that men and women alike can both tell when you need them more than they need you. They will take advantage of you the same way (or worse) than you take advantage of others who need you more than you need them.
If you don’t have an abundance mentality towards life, you will be more stressed when your source of income is threatened. You’ll accept the wage slave mindset that you must work for one person to get all of your money.
Your relationships with women will be very limited. Your girlfriend or wife will nag at you more because she’ll assume that you need her for sex and companionship. Women have a sixth sense for how much you need them and will exploit you mercilessly.
Develop your talent stack to develop your abundance mentality. Your talent stack will enable you to bounce from talent to talent to make money, if necessary, so you are not reliant on any one talent or job for income.
The feeling of knowing that you have many options in life is a sense of true freedom.
4) You Can Pick Up A New Job Easily
When you have a lot of skills, you can pick up a new job much easier. Even if that job requires learning a new talent, you’ll notice that because you have a lot of experience in other useful skills, it will generally be a lot easier to learn that new talent.
If that job is related to a skill you’ve already developed, then great. That’s even easier, and you’ll be able to negotiate a higher pay than you would otherwise.
So if you’re an engineer with sales experience, and you’re asked to go from an engineering gig to a gig selling supplies to engineering companies, the transition will be obviously much easier for you than if you never had sales experience.
Most likely, you’ll learn some valuable skills in the new job that will add to your talent stack. If not, you can always learn purposeful skills on the side to take your skills even further.
5) It Teaches You How to Learn
All the skills I’ve learned over the last year and a half, including becoming better than conversational in Spanish, learning basic marketing, writing better, developing a website, generating and leveraging traffic, and a lot more, have all taught me more about how to learn.
This is an extremely important article to read about learning. It will clear up many misconceptions you have about learning and teach you how to learn much more efficiently.
I highly recommend that you bookmark it and read through all of it. If you sit down and read it all at once, it will take you less than 20 minutes, and it will be an extremely valuable resource down the road.
When you’ve learned a lot of useful skills, you develop a strong grasp of how learning works. You’ll learn how you learn. It will also become easier to learn new skills because everything is interconnected in your brain like a web, and previously learned knowledge makes it easier to attain new knowledge.
And quite simply, learning how to learn is one of the most useful skills you can have. With this, the question of whether or not you can learn a new skill becomes a matter of whether or not you’ve actually tried to learn it or not.
6) It Develops Your Self Confidence
If you know you’re talented with many skills, your self-confidence skyrockets.
Even if you feel like you’re already self-confident as a whole, which hopefully you are, knowing that you’re talented in many skills will develop that self-confidence even further. As you should know, it’s possible to already be self-confident and to become even more self-confident.
So if you know you can make money from multiple sources, your self-confidence goes up significantly.
You start to look at how other people look at their lives and their jobs and you look down upon their lack of ambition. Their mindsets are weak, but because you’ve taken the time to develop your talent stack, your mindset is powerful.
With a well-developed talent stack, you realize your money making potential is a lot higher than you’d ever previously imagined.
7) You Won’t Need to Be The Greatest At Any One Skill
If you want to aim to be the best in the world at something, be my guest. I will never dump on your aspirations unless you want to be the best at something almost entirely useless such as video gaming. (Although honestly, if you figure out how to sell your talents, then more power to you!)
It’s extremely competitive at the top of any field. It’s incredibly unlikely that you’ll be the best in the world at anything unless you devote virtually all of your waking hours developing it. And even then, in many cases, it’s still a better return on investment to focus on developing your talent stack instead of focusing on one skill.
Like Scott Adams says, if you have a well-developed talent stack, you can be “good enough” everything you do. You then use those skills in tandem to be great at something. For an example, read his description of Donald Trump’s talent stack.
8) You See Potential That Others Don’t
If your talent stack is deep, you’re more likely to see the potential in situations that others can’t.
A man with a solid background in investing has an eye for profit when others cannot see them. A man with a background in entrepreneurship can see business opportunities that others would never even imagine.
When your talent stack is thick, you will have a sixth sense opportunity that others cannot see.
9) It Gives You An Eye For Talent
If you have a developed talent stack, you develop better eyes for others’ talents. You can see the “hidden value” or unrealized potential in other people’s skills. You can also probe them to see if they have the mindset of someone who can become successful.
You might see, for instance, that someone is a skilled writer but a poor orator. Or a great lawyer but a poor marketer. Or maybe someone has obvious talent and appeal but simply hasn’t been noticed yet.
This gives you ample opportunity to invest in people for various reasons. This can help you create friendships and business partnerships with people who are up-and-coming that will benefit the both of you.
Don’t underestimate the power of developing relationships with someone before they get big. Even if it’s strictly a business transaction, you can get “discounts” on great labor by working with someone who is clearly up-and-coming.
10) Specialized Talents Tend To Earn You More Money
Ah yes, money.
Specialized talents tend to earn you more money. Specializing requires a deeper talent stack than non-specializing, and thus, you’ll generally get paid accordingly.
This is true mostly because of simple supply and demand. There are simply fewer people out there who are skilled in multiple disciplines.
A lot of people simply get into one field and forget about it, or they only change when they really can’t stand what they’re doing. Obviously, this is a broad generalization but it holds up reasonably well.
What Are the Most Important Skills To Add To Your Talent Stack?
The answer to this question varies a bit depending on what you’re doing. But generally speaking, the following are among the most important skills to work on.
General Psychology and Persuasion
Psychology is used in everything we do. And we are always attempting to persuade others, whether we realize it or not.
Imagine if you could get people to comply with you 10-20% more often. Imagine if some of these people made a lot more money than you.
Do you get the point already? Learn persuasion.
Marketing and Sales
I’ve probably said it to death in this article, but marketing is essential.
It doesn’t matter what skill(s) you’re great at. There is an audience for everything. It doesn’t matter if you’re a great slackliner, boxer, or painter; all of these skills have markets filled with people that will spend their attention (advertising dollars) or money to watch and/or get better at those skills.
You have to learn how to put your knowledge and skills out there in a way that people will willingly digest and pay you money for what you know.
If you want to practice basic marketing, you don’t even need a website to start learning. Use a Twitter account and focus on getting a bigger Twitter following. You can always learn to leverage and monetize your following later. You’ll be amazed what you can do with even a few hundred Twitter followers and a great connection with them.
When you’re building your audience, pay attention to what your audience likes the most from your feed. Twitter analytics allows you to analyze what tweets people are most engaged with. Figure out what they like the most.
Link to online articles and pay attention to what people click on. “Sell” the article as much as possible. Concisely give people the clear benefits of clicking that link, and pay attention to what people click on. People tend to click on titles and images that arouse their curiosity, promise to make them more money, are focused on sex, and more.
This will teach you the basics in your free time. Once you’re ready to get serious, there’s plenty of great books that will teach you how to leverage your Twitter following and make money online, and a lot of other things.
You can start a website with Bluehost (shameless plug for a Bluehost referral here – I use them and they’re cheap, reliable, and have excellent customer service). Link it with your twitter feed and learn affiliate marketing.
Finally, writing and Copywriting fall under “Marketing and Sales” as well. If you can learn to write to sell, you can make a solid income online.
Intermediate-Level Computer Skills (Or Better)
You don’t have to be a tech geek, but if you are, then great.
Just look around. Everyone is online. People are literally addicted to their smartphones.
You want to be the way of the present and the future, not the past.
Cryptocurrencies are exploding as people realize that, while a new system, if they are relatively unhindered they will revolutionize the technology of the internet along with the way money is spent. Even those who refuse to invest in them because they think they’re a bubble are missing out on the chance to make a lot of money. You can still make a ton of money in a bubble.
Anyway, learn how the Internet works. If you want to make money online then learn SEO, traffic generation, website design, online marketing, and anything else that’s applicable to whatever you want to do.
If you want to be huge on Youtube, you’d want to learn video editing skills, SEO for Youtube, online marketing, public speaking skills, plus you want to be talented or knowledgeable in whatever subject your channel is about.
You can easily learn these things as you go by reading about them from credible experts while applying the principles you learned to your videos, and by using your audience and success as viable feedback.
No matter what you do, by investing your time with these types of skills, you’re learning things that will only become more useful throughout the rest of your life.
Game and Charisma
That’s right. Game. Get good with women.
Look at all the men who are losing their fortunes and careers for being betas, and getting screwed by it years down the road. Make women want to bang you, and make people in general want to be around you.
Charisma, in general, is essential to maximize the most out of life. If people like you, you will get a lot more out of them. Virtually everything you do is interconnected with other people, whether you realize it or not.
Health, Weight Lifting, and Martial Arts
Even if you have no plans to sell anything, you want to have your fitness, health, and self-defense skills in check. Nobody respects a fat guy who never looks like he’s lifted anything in his life.
People are attracted to attractive people, almost to a fault. You might as well use this reality to your advantage.
Your health is essential too; you don’t want to get rich and unhealthy. You’ll be missing out on the point of getting rich. You want to be healthy to enjoy your wealth and everything you’ve accomplished!
And last but least, self-defense is essential. If it’s legal in your country, buy and learn how to shoot a gun. Learn at least some basic MMA. What’s the point of building an empire if someone can take it away because you’re weak and defenseless?
If you want a list of more skills to focus on, read this article. You can also find lot more in the book How To Fail At Almost Everything and Still Win Big.
In a nutshell, worthwhile skills include money, sex, personal power, and self-defense.
The Most Basic Way to Develop Your Talent Stack
I’m going to give you a two step-formula to develop your talent stack. Are you ready?
- Find a subject you’re interested in, then read a great book by a credible author. Or, meet a mentor who will take you under their wing.
- Once you’ve learned enough, go out and put the information into practice. Learn from your feedback and read more as necessary.
Education AND action are essential. You should not educate yourself without doing, and you should not act without education.
With the majority of fields, you don’t need to go to school to learn anything. I’m currently learning better marketing skills just by reading books and applying the knowledge here, Twitter, and another project I’m working on. I’m learning Spanish just by reading things in Spanish and practicing with native speakers when I can. You get the idea.
Note that certain fields like medicine and law require schooling and a government-issued license in order to practice. These are not examples of skills you would want to add to your talent stack, in most cases, because of the extremely heavy time and effort investment.
However, if you’re already a doctor or lawyer, learning marketing, business, persuasion, and media skills will make your opportunities expand significantly.
The last thing I’ll mention here is that no matter what you do, remain consistent and persistent. If you “fail,” at anything you do, who cares? It’s part of the learning process. Learn to enjoy the process. Failure is nothing.
Maintain a powerful growth mindset. Everything you do, success or failure, adds to your repertoire of experience and skills. If you think this way, you cannot fail.
I think I’ve said enough here.
Your talent stack will inevitably deepen just by investing your time, even just as a hobby, and by maintaining the growth mindset.
As long as you keep at it and invest your time in the right skills, you will inevitably become much more valuable to the world around you. This bodes extremely well for you down the road because you will have talents that you can use, market, and sell.
Even if you have no idea exactly what you’ll do with your life in a few years, just spend your free time learning useful skills. You seriously can’t go wrong in the long run doing this, unless you never end up taking time to market them!
So unless you’re rich and/or truly content with your life, get out there and develop your talent stack. No excuses.
And as always, follow me on Twitter at @WesternMastery if you haven’t already to get updates and all sorts of great material to accelerate your personal self-development.
Win Bigly – This is an excellent book by Scott Adams that gives you real-world examples of marketing, persuasion, and psychology from the last two years or so of political events. You’ll learn to see politics from a totally different light, and you’ll learn a ton of about persuasion. Read my review here.
How To Fail At Almost Everything and Still Win Big – Among many things, this book tells you a lot about developing the talent stack and what skills to focus on. I haven’t finished it, but everything I’ve read in it has been great. In short, it’s a highly rated book with excellent life advice.
How to Write Copy That Sells – This book does an excellent job of teaching you how to sell using the written word. LIke all the other books here, it’s top rated for a great reason.
Rich Dad Poor Dad – As I mentioned before, this is an excellent book on personal finance. If you have no personal finance background, you need to read this book. It dispells a lot of myths about money and you will learn how to make money work for you instead of against you.
Project Life Mastery – This guy has a ton of great advice on affiliate marketing, making money online, and a lot more.
Of the above four books, I generally recommend Rich Dad Poor Dad the most because if you take its advice to heart, you will earn a lot more money over the course of your lifetime. It’s also the cheapest. That said, all of the above resources are excellent and highly recommended.