10 Powerful Life Skills for the New Decade

Learn the rare skills of admirable people

Neil Kakkar
6 min readJan 27, 2021


Photo by Sead Dedić on Unsplash

Over the past few years, I’ve noticed certain skills in people I admire, from Paul Graham, Vitalik Buterin, to Ender Wiggin.

These are rare skills, responsible for making them who they are. Most normal people, including me, don’t realise it. This makes the skills powerful — not everyone can see them, and very few people have mastered them.

However, I aim to change that. What follows below are 10 skills sourced from admirable people that I want to develop.

Learn to take compounding seriously

It’s not just your wealth that compounds, but life experience and knowledge, too.

So, learn the most basic, most useful skills first. The longer you wait to learn skills like these, the less time there is for compounding magic. That’s what this entire list is about: powerful skills to learn and use for the rest of your life.

And even though you’ve heard about compounding, this item is first on the list, because taking ideas seriously is hard.

A good way to figure out what compounds is to figure out what’s a platform.

Learn to develop taste

Despite prevalent beliefs, taste isn’t subjective.

While it may seem like it on the outside, when you say “I just love this painting” or “I just love this coffee machine” — all it means is that the defining characteristics are illegible to you. And noticing this is the first step.

Let’s take a specific example. Say you’re designing a high quality clay pot — and you’ve never done this before.

What’s a good way to develop taste for quality here?

If you’ve heard this claypot parable, you know the answer: start by making lots of crap pots.

The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales



Neil Kakkar

I write about Code and Life philosophies. Sometimes both. | https://neilkakkar.com | Engineer @PostHog | Write (Code). Create. Recurse.