Byron's Babbles

Acquired Skills

Posted in Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development, Mark Twain by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on May 27, 2022

On Monday of this week I finished Volume One of the Autobiography of Mark Twain. As I have told others, it is one of the most fascinating and toughest reads all at the same time. One of the things I wasn’t sure of at first, but grew to love was how Twain chose to write his autobiography in a way no one ever had before. He chose to dictate it, so it is very conversational. And he chose to write it as thoughts came to him and not in any chronological order. As he put it, he would talk about something until it didn’t interest him any more and then he would go on to something else. To me it is great because it eliminates those stretches that get long and drawn out in most autobiographies and biographies. I’m not sure, however, that anyone but Twain could pull this off. I’m just getting started in Volume Two, but it is just as great.

Needless to say, I took a bunch of notes and have lots of thoughts to develop. The first was Twain speaking of being proud of our acquirements. Twain said, “An acquirement is something you’ve worked hard to master.” I loved this because it had nothing to do with things or possessions, but with skills and knowledge. I like Merriam-Webster’s definition of acquirement: “a skill of mind or body usually resulting from continued endeavor.” Twain refers to many skills he worked hard to acquire and those of others. I believe need to contemplate the acquired skills we need to developed in ourselves or help to develop in others. These are the skills and expertise obtained through education and/or experience.

I also believe we should view all those things we call soft skills, hard skills, professional skills, or whatever the buzz word of the day is, acquired skills. To me this acknowledges that there is work to be done for acquirement. The “continued endeavor” from the Merriam-Webster definition. What acquired skills must you nurture and develop over time? Better yet, how can you help others nurture and develop acquired skills?


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  1. Happy Accidents | Byron's Babbles said, on June 17, 2022 at 8:43 am

    […] just about half way through Volume Two of the Autobiography of Mark Twain. As I already stated in Acquired Skills it is an is an incredibly fascinating and tough read all at the same time. To be sure, the beloved […]


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