“During my 87 years, I have witnessed a whole succession of technological revolutions. But none of them has done away with the need for character in the individual or the ability to think.” – Bernard Baruch
One of the reasons I chose a liberal education (thank you Hobart College) was my belief that the abilities to think clearly and widely, form and communicate useful and persuasive ideas and to develop a sense of ethics were key to success — long-term. (And that narrowing my focus my focus as an undergraduate, when I had little idea what I wanted to do, or what I might be good at, was probably a mistake.)
The above quote, and my experience over time, have begun to validate that choice. I have had three distinct “careers,” so far, and know that my ability to adapt and learn skills, think clearly and effectively and do the right thing, has under-girded whatever success I have had.
Skills come and go. And, yes, without the ability (and willingness . . . ) to do work and create results and value, there is little chance for success (outward or otherwise). But the key to long-lasting, and truly satisfying success, is the ability to think clearly about challenges and opportunities and take action that is ethically and morally sound. Case-in-point: if you want to sleep well at night, you must both know that rest and recovery is important, but have acted in such a way that a good night’s sleep is possible.
So, learn skills, keep current and charge hard, but always measure your actions against what is intelligent and sound — for the both the stake-holders, and your soul.