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Boring is Good!

The laws of economics state that the greater the scarcity of a resource, the greater the value it commands. Scarce land in a prime locality is expensive compared to large tracts of agricultural land. Scarce diamonds are infinitely more expensive than common iron.

This law is applicable as much to the skills and knowledge that we as human beings possess. Any skill that is tough or difficult to obtain commands a premium. Think about the surgeon who undergoes 15 years of training to learn the trade; an iOS software coder or the elite athlete. We all know these people earn far more than the average. If that is the case, then why does every student and young adult not want to equip themselves with such skills? Do we not want to earn great economic rewards i.e. a huge income? While everyone does want to earn high incomes, to develop these unique and scarce skills, one must spend several hours practicing often boring tasks. We all want to be entertained and not be bored – therefore most people will not spend the time and energy required to learn these scarce skills. Most will choose the easy way out – go for that movie or hit “like” on entertaining Instagram pictures instead of working out a boring mathematics problem. They will tell themselves their interests lie “elsewhere”, on a suitably easy and “interesting” task.

This is great news for those out there who are focused and on the path to build unique capability. You know you are building a scarce resource. So, the next time you see your friends “having fun” during crunch time, smile and pick up that boring mathematics workbook or swim that extra lap during practice. You know what makes diamonds and what makes common iron.

Vikram Ramakrishnan