Editor’s note: Writing today’s Skinny and filling in for LTW Editor Rick Smith this week is Noah Garrett. You can reach Noah directly at noah@thinkngc.com.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — At a time when morale is low and work is hard to come by, I am reminded by one of my all -time favorite movie characters of how to stay positive and work toward a goal.

Napoleon Dynamite: Well, nobody’s going to go out with me!
Pedro: Have you asked anybody yet?
Napoleon Dynamite: No, but who would? I don’t even have any good skills.
Pedro: What do you mean?
Napoleon Dynamite: You know, like nunchaku skills, bow-hunting skills, computer-hacking skills. Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills.

Napoleon Dynamite is just a dork. He is the embodiment of the kind of dorks that many of us were, to a certain extent, in middle school and high school.

Why is this important today with everything else going on in the world?

One, it’s funny. It’s a nice way to start your day. And, two, resiliency and diversification are key to surviving our current economic climate.

For people, resilience is a process in which individuals exhibit positive behavior when they encounter significant adversity or trauma. Napoleon is worried about not having enough “skills” to get a girlfriend, but eventually he is able get a date with a little extra effort.

Diversification in this context means we all are different, we all have special skills and we all have the ability to learn new skills.

Two of my good friends lost their jobs without warning last week – just handed a pink slip on Friday with a have a nice day attached. No kidding, it went down just like that.

I asked each of them individually over the weekend what they were going to do and both said, “well, I’m not going to go get unemployment, that’s for sure.”

This struck me.

Both said they didn’t want government “charity” and were more than happy to work instead of accepting a hand-out.

Now, I know some workers who lose their jobs absolutely must receive unemployment benefits. That’s why the government has it – because some folks really do need it. But, as for my out-of-work friends, I applaud their positive attitude and willingness to believe in the American dream and work toward success instead of exhibiting a woe-is-me manner in such a stressful time.

It truly was and is inspiring.

We all have skills – even Napoleon Dynamite. Even if your skill is to not have a skill, that’s still a skill. If the skill that provides your source of income is being downsized or is out of date, maybe it’s time to either fine-tune that skill or find a new skill and move forward.

I’ve read a lot of stories recently about workers being laid off and pursuing other career paths – such as culinary arts or even life-guarding. This is interesting because we have reached a crossroads in our employment landscape.

Many call our current state of things an economic crisis. True, we are in a mess. But, I also see this as a time of great opportunity. Maybe you’re out of work and looking for something new. Now might be the time to pick up a new skill, go back to school or try something else. It’s up to you.

Do what you like, learn how to do it, and go for it. What do you have to lose?