Tag Archives: skills

On being moderately gifted, and the pain and pleasure that brings


This piece by Austin Kleon on being moderately gifted got me re-thinking this idea he discusses.

I say re-thinking because it is something I have thought about since I was a young man. Back then I was getting into  jazz (as one does) and someone told me: the problem with being a jazz musician is your new album is always competing with the albums of Armstrong and Fitzgerald and Davis and Coltrane and Simone. People putting out pop music don’t have to worry about that. It’s tough to be moderately gifted in jazz, I thought, for you are always competing with the best. But in pop music, you are usually competing with the now. There’s more room to get by being moderately gifted. (Especially in the era I grew up when three chords was all you needed.)

If you have a creative spirit but moderate talents, it is easy to get dispirited and put your tools away. You will never be great you say, why bother? But I think the answer comes from looking at pop music. You may never be great, but you can enjoy putting in play whatever talent you do have. Maybe you can only paint flowers, or knit scarfs, or bake brownies. Do it with gusto! Do it like a punk rocker pounding away on his guitar with the 3 chords he knows! You might never be great, but in the moment, you are living large and the audience at the time is loving it. That’s enough. And enough is as good as a feast.

Perhaps you will go on to greatness. Whether you do or not, shine on as brightly as you can. Not all of us can be the sun, but sometimes being a campfire is fine.

It’s Monday. You want to get into some good habits. These two things can help

Perhaps you’ve developed some bad habits over the pandemic. Habits you want to shake off.  You might need help developing new and better ones.

Here’s two things that can help. First is James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits. He takes a methodical approach to how habits form and how you can break them.

Second, there is the habitlist app that can help keep you going on your way to building new habits.

If you really struggle with developing new habits, try this. Make up a habit that takes little time and effort and practice making it a new habit. For example, you could take 30 seconds each day just to stretch. Or 10 seconds each day to breathe deeply. Heck take 5 seconds each day to say: I can develop new habits. 🙂 The point isn’t so much the habit as it is developing the ability to form habits. Once you can form some really basic but good habits, other habits that you might struggle with will get easier.

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Skills you might want: how to make a basic stitch

It’s too bad we don’t get taught more practical skills in grade school. So many of these skills are only taught if you aren’t pursuing college or university. That’s a shame, because how to cook, clean, and repair things are skills everyone should know or be able to learn.

One such skill is how to make a stitch. Here’ a link to 5 Basic Stitches You Need to Know, Plus Other Textile Tips.

Go now and fix that piece of fabric that you love and want to see last a long time. You can do it.

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How to take your git skills to the next level

One way is to read this: How to become a Git expert – freeCodeCamp.org. There’s a lot of good pages on how to get started on git, but if you are joining a software project, you may be expected to know more than the basics. You may be required to know the kind of things that piece talks about. Of course you can ask people on your team for help, but why not get as much skill as you can first and then ask better questions? There’s always something new to learn when it comes to git and software management: learn as much as you can by yourself and increase your skill set and your value to the team.