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Looking to dramatically improve and change your life with a new skill?
Look no further. Following is a list of twelve timeless skills that you should start learning today to dramatically improve your life.
You may notice that these skills are likely to be considered soft skills meaning they are not hard skills or technical skills. Technical skills are often specialized and affect a minor area of your life, usually pertaining to a certain field of work or career. How often do you hear or say, “I barely use what I learned in school in my life.”
The thing is that according to LinkedIn, more than half of leaders say that soft skills are more important than hard skills.
Not only do these skills significantly affect your career, work and professional growth, they affect nearly all areas of your life.
The following twelve skills will supercharge your personal growth and can help you live a happier, and more successful and fulfilling life.
The skill of curiosity will change how you think and how you see the world. Instead of criticizing, intelligent people will be curious instead. Curiosity is one of the main components of learning and making it stick.
Curiosity also aids in being kinder and more compassionate to yourself and others. It’s easy to judge and criticize others when we disapprove of their behaviors.
Frankly, judgement comes from a lack of understanding. We lack the understanding and knowledge of that person’s psychology and experiences to understand why they are doing what they do.
The same can go for ourselves. We can get angry at ourselves and criticize our actions or inaction. Too much of this can be emotionally damaging to our self-esteem. Sure, some of us may use this for “motivation,” but studies show that negative emotions are poor motivators and ineffective for lasting behavior change.
Curiosity takes awareness and then seeking to understand. When we’re curious, we don’t ignore or avoid the brutal facts, but instead we face them with acceptance and willingness to learn, change, and grow.
When we’re curious, we’re more likely to find solutions to our problems. Things begin to connect and make sense. We can start working at the root of the problem rather than tackling the symptoms or just reacting with anger, contempt or criticism.
2. Communication & Relationships
The skill of communication and relationships is central to our happiness and success.
There are many skills within communication:
- Public speaking
- Sales, marketing, and influence
- Small talk
People who work on their relationships are more likely to be happier and more successful in their relationships with people. Given the importance of relationships and communication for the success and happiness in our lives, surprisingly we don’t learn this in school.
We normally learn our relationship and communication skills from our parents, peers, and experiences. This can often unintentionally create bad behaviors and habits.
A big portion of developing the skills of communication and relationships is not just learning but unlearning all the behaviors, beliefs and habits that don’t serve us and only sabotage our relationships with others.
When we have these bad habits, beliefs and behaviors, we can oftentimes be unaware of these things or that they are harmful or we are unaware of their effects. This is why people will often have patterns and remain in cycles as they go through different relationships and partners – they will have a “type.”
When we develop the skill of communication and relationships, we begin to have more purpose and meaning in our relationships and take responsibility for our interactions with others and the success and happiness of our relationships
3. Critical thinking
Critical thinking give us the ability and freedom to think independently. It allows us to create solutions and properly solve problems, accurately come to conclusions and form judgements.
Critical thinking requires an open mind. It involves making connections and synthesizing as well as decision making.
Most people are actually poor decision makers. We are all subject to bias and in this day and age commitment and making decisions are tougher than ever with seemingly endless options and distractions everywhere.
With critical thinking, we are able to see ourselves and the world around us more accurately and to understand concepts and ideas better and more in depth.
Critical thinking also allows us to learn better, be more creative and to communicate better with others. We can also reflect within ourselves and evaluate the justification of our own beliefs and values.
4. Being wrong, failing, and dealing with problems & adversity
Few people think of being wrong as a skill. And few people want to work on that skill. The skill of being wrong can coincide with failure. We learn how to deal with failure and negative emotions.
The better you are at failure, the more successful you’re going to be in life.
This goes for dealing with any other negatives that life has to offer – problems, adversity, brutal facts about ourselves, being wrong, etc. This is just part of life. The better we deal with these things, the more equipped we are at life.
The absolutely love the following quote by Jim Rohn:
“Don’t wish it was easier. Wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems. Wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenge. Wish for more wisdom.”
The reality is that we’re going to be wrong. We’re going to fail. We’re going to have problems. We are going to have things we don’t like about ourselves, our lives, or our circumstances. It’s unavoidable regardless of our level of success and personal growth.
Failing and being wrong and getting uncomfortable is one hundred times better than not trying at all.
Most people hate being wrong through.
The problem is that that’s how we learn.
We don’t learn from being right. We learn from being wrong.
Let that sink in.
Society, technology and science advances not from being proven right, but from being proven wrong.
When I first learned this, it blew my mind!
Being wrong (and accepting that we’re wrong and learning from being wrong) is what helps us learn, grow and succeed quicker.
Forget about trying to be motivated. Discipline is where you need to work on. Discipline doesn’t rely on being motivated. It’s a skill that takes practice.
Discipline helps you build habits, get stuff done, and puts you out of your comfort zone.
Discipline allows you to do the following:
- Build habits
- Follow through with your commitments with yourself and others
- Reach your goals faster and more efficiently
- Get things done
- Step out of your comfort zone and face and overcome your fears
- Be more productive and efficient
- Develop mental strength and grit
- Grow your persistence and motivation
- And more
Discipline gives you the ability to more willingly seek and experience negative, but useful emotions. The ability to seek and expose yourself to negative (but useful) emotions correlates to your level of success.
Discipline fulfills potential and creates opportunities. It’s a habit of greatness.
You can be good at something, but without discipline, it’s hard to become great.
One of the biggest factors in people’s success is the ability to be resourceful. This involves networking, how to find opportunities, creating luck, learning and developing our skills and using what we have, our tools, knowledge and people to make the best of what we can.
Resourcefulness allows us to solve problems and achieve our goals.
If you look back to the earliest humans, the difference between those who survived and those who didn’t was resourcefulness.
It’s not about what we have, but how we use what we have to our advantage. Two different people could start off exactly the same yet end up differently because one was more resourceful than the other.
Those who are not skilled in resourcefulness will accept defeat the moment a problem comes up and will make excuses for not being able to achieve their goals.
We have the opportunity to be as resourceful than ever before. We can reach our favorite people with a simple email or tweet or DM and ask them for advice or input.
No longer do we have to hope we’ll find someone somehow that can help us or find someone’s address or phone number or have to write and mail them a letter.
We can use so many different resources to learn a new skill such as dancing, artistic abilities, coding, etc. with the click of multiple free videos and the ability to pause, rewind, and repeat. We don’t have to rack up a ton of money to pay for classes, hope to find a class near us, hope that it’s valuable and expert enough, have to travel to it, and so on.
People who are resourceful benefit society as a whole as well because they create value for others.
According to LinkedIn data, creativity is the second most in-demand skill in the world. The first is cloud computing which makes creativity the number one soft skill most important to companies worldwide.
While people are worried about skills becoming automated with technology and robots. Creativity is something that is not likely to be replaced anytime soon. It gives us an advantage over any artificial intelligence.
Technical skills are more likely to get instinct and more advanced with the growth of society and technology.
A big part of our creativity is based upon our self-worth and whether we value our ideas or not. Creativity is innate, but because many of us don’t value our ideas, we stop trying to be creative or we are dismissive of our creativity.
Creativity is an important skill in living life better, standing out, problem solving, contributing and giving value to our work and those around us. It can help us stand out, get noticed.
Creativity is not just something we get from within. Creativity is energy that can influence others.
I talk a lot about learning on my blog and for good reason. Every single day I am beyond grateful of my love for learning and I am still in awe that so many people do not spend time learning and reading.
Discovering the power of learning makes me feel like I know a secret because so many people do not realize that power.
Yes, they may have heard it often that knowledge is power, but they don’t fully grasp it because they show no interest in learning and reading or don’t make any time for it.
The skill of learning is a highly valuable yet underrated and overlooked skill.
If I could have the any one super power, it would be a learning super power.
Why? Because if you could learn anything at a super-fast rate, the possibilities are limitless.
Every belief, thought process, behavior, skill, knowledge, information is learnable. Everything can be learned and unlearned.
The skill of learning allows you to learn and do things better, faster and with more efficiency and effectiveness.
Learning helps you advance, grow, and reach goals in all areas of your life.
It’s about learning how the brain works and harnessing its power to its full potential.
The skill of learning affects your work and career, your relationships and your hobbies and recreations.
Related: The Best Skill That Would Have the Greatest Life Impact
Courage is one of those emotions that sounds good and often feels good after, but doesn’t feel good in the moment.
The ability to seek and feel negative but useful emotions directly correlates to your chances of success.
Many people let their fears control them. After all, it’s in our nature to prefer to avoid pain than to seek pleasure.
Lack of courage leads to procrastination. Fear and discomfort with doing certain tasks are what causes procrastination, not laziness.
Courage takes mental strength and grit. It’s the ability to tackle and confront failure and problems despite fear and discomfort.
A courageous person values their own desires and needs and goals and is willing to do what the hard stuff.
It takes practice, persistence and a growth mindset to develop this skill.
Courage may not feel good before or during the moment, but it will lead to more happiness, freedom, and success.
10. Emotional & mental self-coaching
Self-coaching can allow you to take complete control of yourself and your life.
It builds your emotional intelligence and can help you feel better, process negative emotions in a healthy way, and create positive emotions.
Self-coaching helps us be more independent. We become more able to solve our own problems, think more intentionally, make changes in our thoughts, beliefs, habits and behaviors.
With self-coaching we learn how to reach our goals, learn better and faster, and achieve new and different things more easily and quicker.
You also build a healthier relationship with yourself through self-coaching. You learn to value yourself, your ideas, your promises and your commitments to yourself.
Focus takes a special kind of mental strength. It allows you to learn and to get things done.
Most people don’t work on their focus and are unfortunately controlled by their attention spans and media addictions – phones, social media, and Netflix.
Many people think that they use technology when in reality technology uses them.
Focus is becoming a harder and rarer skill nowadays.
It allows us to stay present in the moment and to actually do things besides work better including interact with others, and even enjoy entertainment, especially books.
Focus allows us to make the most out of time and energy. With focus, we are more productive with less time and less effort.
The skill of focus can often create a special mental state called the flow state where we become “in the zone.” This is a state of peak performance.
Essentially, when we are focused, we are living life to the fullest, completely immersed in what we are doing at any given moment and in any environment with anyone and any situation.
Focus gives us control of ourselves and our mental state. We are not slave to other people’s demands for our attentions and distractions.
With focus, we live happier and more successful and fulfilling lives.
Productivity is a type of mental mastery skill as well as a knowledge skill.
It involves the ability to manage your tasks and time, planning, making the most out of your day, prioritizing, and making progress and seeing results.
Productivity is the skill of efficiency. It’s not about overworking or getting as much “stuff” done as possible.
When you have the skill of productivity, you know yourself. You know when and how to plan and schedule your day based on your life and energy levels. You know when to take breaks and when to start and stop working.
Productive people create value without worrying and wasting time over perfectionism.
Productivity is not just about doing work. It’s about prioritizing by doing the right work in the right order, knowing when and what to say yes and no to, and creating results and making progress.
It involves creating systems and triggers and following through with them. There is also maintenance and organizational skills that go in to productivity.
If you’ve noticed many of these skills work together and intertwine with each other. Working on just one or a few of these skills is likely to improve the rest of these skills and best of all, drastically improve the quality of your life.