The Freedom Diagram: How To Pick Career Skills

In September 2014 I did an exercise that helped me figure out what I could win at in life.

Yeah. I don’t write well by hand.

It was one of the steps in Tai Lopez’s 67 Steps program, and is a good exercise in self-awareness, I think. He called it your Eulerian Destiny, because it’s based on a Euler diagram.

Here’s a template I made:

You can download a larger version of this here.

Answering these four questions will help you identify what the themes of your life have been so far, where you have potential and how you can transition to where you want to go.

While this is a good exercise to identify your existing skills and brainstorm new ones you could do well at, I’ve come up with something to make it a bit more practical.

The Freedom Diagram

Let me introduce you to the Freedom Diagram. TFD for short, you can also use this acronym to remember the three parts of the model:

Talent, fun and demand.

Download a template here, if you wanna scribble.
  1. Talent is what you just happen to be a natural in.
  2. Fun is what you would do all the time, if you could, even if you weren’t paid for it.
  3. Demand is what the people, the market, the world actually wants and thus, will pay you for it.

Whatever skill you choose should be at the intersection of all three, because it’ll give you the biggest chance at winning.

Here’s what happens if that’s NOT the case:

Having just one of the three is a no-no.
  • If you only have a talent for building boats, but you don’t really like the work and happen to live in the desert, that’ll be difficult to capitalize on.
  • If you have lots of fun juggling Rubik’s cubes, but you can never get past three and drop no one wants to buy tickets to your show, that’s not going to work.
  • If you start a social media agency, because it’s “hot” right now, but you don’t quite get why people love Twitter and the tweets you create for your clients kind of suck, well, you’ve lost.

Clearly, one out of the three is a losing formula. What about two?

Two is better than one, but still not good enough.
  • Let’s say you’re a talented blacksmith and have fun forging knight’s swords. That’s a great place to start, but last time I checked, sword fighting hasn’t been the standard way of solving disputes for about 800 years, so this won’t yield much more than a solid amount of pocket money.
  • You might be a kick-ass accountant and businesses practically throw money at you to work for them. But if you’re miserable monkeying through Excel sheets, it’ll never be worth it.
  • Maybe, you enjoy singing Elvis songs in the shower. Maybe, 50s rock music just has a revival. But unless people tell you to, please, please don’t go on American Idol. Without talent, it’ll just be painful for everyone.

As you can see, this can really only work when all three come together.

All good things come in threes.

The skill you choose must be a valid answer to all three questions:

1. What are you a natural at?

2. What do you enjoy doing?

3. What can you make money at, because there’s demand for it?

Talent, fun, demand. TFD. The Freedom Diagram is working for me. I hope it will for you too.

Most people have one of two reactions to this model:

  1. I don’t have any skill that fits these three criteria, how do I find one?
  2. I have so many skills that fit all three, which one do I pick?

Both are usually wrong, but the solution remains the same:

Flip a coin.

If you really have that much fun doing all these in-demand things you’re talented at, it won’t matter which one ends up making you a winner. And if you’re really clueless, you can start anywhere.

However, a coin toss has a funny way of exposing the truth. The moment the coin is in the air, you’ll finally stop doubting your gut and go:

“Oh no, I hope it comes out heads!”

That’s the skill you should pick.