February 1, 2012

So called “people skill” is probably a better predictor of success than any other tangible skills that can be measured or tested. This is particularly true as we get older. Tangible skills are easy to acquire because they are one dimensional (and that is why they are easy to measure and test). Because of the ease of acquisition, tangible skills are the primary focus of younger people, which leaves the older people with intangible skills such as “people skill”.

Tangible skills are also popular among the developing countries where the cost labor is cheap. The Chinese, for instance, are dominating in this area. Because of the ease of acquisition and measurement, they focus on tangible skills just to be safe and certain. (They can’t afford to take chances at studying intangible subjects like fine arts.) This means that, if you are living in a developed country like the US, it would be a parenting mistake to overemphasize tangible skills because you would raise a child only to compete head to head with these Chinese kids. And, your child would have no chance of winning because, for many Chinese children, acquisition of these skills is a matter of life and death.