Keep Your Sword Sharp

Who doesn’t love the trope of the peaceful farmer suddenly forced to open an old chest full of weapons no one knew about and demonstrate a set of skills he assumed he’d never use again?

It’s usually not that dramatic (or violent), but this pattern definitely plays out in life. As you accumulate skills, experiences, knowledge, and a network, it’s easy to forgot the context-specific ones as you move from one phase of life to the next. But you should do your best to keep them fresh. Keep them sharp.

You will find at the most unexpected of times a sudden call, demand, or opportunity to dust them off and put them once again to good use. Keep them at the ready. Don’t forget the feel of wielding those tools, don’t lose the horn that summons those companions.

Over time, you’ll end up with lots of secret old chests, full of a variety of special skills, experiences, knowledge, and networks you can tap into if and when the need arises. You’ll be ready to handle whatever comes.

This doesn’t require anything crazy. Just be curious, work hard, be diligent, connect with people in whatever phase, task, or job you have at any given time. And when you move on, occasionally exercise those muscles again.

You never know what’s next.