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May 24, 2022

Attributes And Skills

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Last week I had the pleasure of connecting with former Navy SEAL Rich Diviney and he shared an insight I wanted to pass along to you. Rich is the author of the book “The Attributes” and as one of the most optimized humans on Earth, he made a very fundamental distinction that he uses to help others optimize the ways they contribute and exist within society.

It’s the difference between attributes and skills. Attributes are intangible. They’re something that you’re born with in some capacity and your attributes get expressed in everything you do. In that way your attributes inform your behavior because they are the context that everything you do exists within. It’s your character traits, qualities, and dispositions.

Skills are different from attributes in that they’re more measurable. A skill can be presented or performed in a way that clearly demonstrates if you have it. You are not born with skills, they are learned and acquired over time.

Why is this distinction important? You want to surround yourself with people who have the right attributes. These are the people that have fundamentals like grit, mental acuity, and drive that make you better. Their ideals, values, and standards of operating inspire you to be better. That’s not to say that attributes can’t be developed, they absolutely can, but unlike skills they develop slower and in ways that are difficult to observe.

To put this in an example, last week I learned how to do a backflip. Doing a backflip is the skill, it’s clear whether I can do it or not, and how good I am at it. The attributes that were expressed in that process were having the courage to try, learnability to integrate instruction, and humility to not expect a result immediately.

Rich has put together a great assessment so you can see for yourself which attributes you most possess within your grit. You can go through that exercise by visiting his website here: https://theattributes.com/grit-assessment/

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