Much of the basic life skills were considered “extras” are now essential for managing uncertainty. Consider, over 100 years ago during the industrial age, you needed work skills that required simple reading and math, such as fishing, blacksmith-ing, or coal mining to survive. As time went on, you just needed a college degree, so you could get a secure job as an accountant or a lawyer. Now we have modern technological innovations such as the computer, it enables greater productivity which requires new skill sets, such as document management, programming, mixing music, video editing, etc.
Furthermore, with the explosion of inter-connectivity due to this
thing called the “internet” :) we have more ways to communicate,
collaborate, sell products, and services than ever before. As a result
there is a lot of confusion going on, however it has opened a HUGE window of opportunities.
With this new, cheap form of communication, there are now billions of people literally at your fingertips (according to Internet World Stats). You can even have your emails or web page translated in over 25 languages in Google Translate. Isn’t perfect at the moment but it can help break down the communication barrier. Now, in a very short period of time we are more influenced by other cultures, which is another skill we may have to adapt to.
|Secondary Skills – Financial Literacy, Planning, Marketing, Job Hunting|
|Use your UNIQUE STRENGTHS – skill inventory|
|Core Work & Basic Life Skills||Fundamental Learning & Mental Skills||Current Technology Skills|
Critical thinking skills
Reading Skills (speed & extraction)
Problem solving skills
Accelerated Learning skills
|Ethics & Character|
Sense of Humor
The reason I put this as part of “basic life skills” is that having a solid core character is probably one of the most important component of creating stability in life. While it’s not considered a “skill”, it is a foundation for living.
So, once you have your core foundation in place, you won’t be swayed by the external changes,
for your internal strength will remain intact and enable you to develop
the basic life skills you need. Your character and ethics are not
something you can really be learned, but the principles can be taught.
So, learn or review the principles so you can make the best conscious
The next “level
up” from character are fundamental basic life skills, which are broken
into 3 categories: basic life skills, mental skills and technological
skills. As mentioned, new discoveries, new industries are being created
faster than ever, which means we are living in an accelerating rate of
change and instability. Despite all the changes, the basic life skills still matter, even more so. The fundamental skills are the building blocks to build additional basic life skills, so these are the ones you cannot ignore.
component to consider is your habits. Habits are great for life skill
building, because they allow us to consciously develop additional basic
life skills. For instance, once you have developed solid writing
skills, you can learn math skills. When you have solid math habits, you
can develop your engineering skills and so on. It’s the brain’s way of remembering your skills, so you don’t have to re-learn everything.
brain only has limited ability to develop new habits. Therefore, it’s
important not to overload yourself, so start off with one at a time and
it will be there for the rest of your life.
Core Work and Basic Life Skills
addition to your particular career path, these are the skills that are
necessary to build a solid foundation. For instance, having great
leadership skills is more important than ever before. It used to be you
could follow the pack in the coal mine and live a relatively
financially secure life. Nowadays, with the advances of technologies,
it allows one person to broadcast to the entire state, country and
This increases competition enormously with a more level playing field, but again there are more opportunities to lead. The ability to successfully coordinate team efforts requires solid leadership and communication skills.
may not be interested in leading teams, but the fact of the matter is
we are becoming more interconnected by the minute. That requires
sensitivity to other cultures and countries around the world. Due to
globalization, we are bombarded with new ideas which can be a
distraction or something to utilize. Therefore, having sound decision
making skills will have a higher impact now than just 10 years ago. So,
keep in mind, if you’re the one leading the charge, you will be far less likely to be victimized by change.
As Albert Einstein said, “The only way to predict the future is to
create it.” Start creating the future now by developing your basic life
Learning and Mental Skills
is no doubt an important component in the modern economy. However,
since knowledge is expanding a rate that is double every couple years,
which makes it impossible to keep up with everything new in our field.
As a software developer, it’s absolutely INSANE what new tools they come
out every month! However, if you have excellent thinking and learning ability, you will navigate the information explosion or even create valuable information yourself.
Another thing to keep in mind, it’s not the ability think and pick up new information, it’s the ability to transfer or combine that information with other people. As we become more interconnected, the ability to collaborate becomes more valuable and more critical. Just be sure you’re not one of those guys like Milton from the movie Officespace, who gets stuck in the corner, then into the basement! We are social beings, get out and work and learn from others!
Current Technology Skills
put technology skills because as time goes on, I’m finding it to be
getting to be almost impossible to be truly successful if we don’t keep
up with the basics of technology. It can be used for research, fast
communication, organization and so much more. More and more people are
using technology to gain an edge on their competitors or increase
Technology is neutral, it can be a huge distraction or it can be used constructively to communicate and create.
Also, this will likely change very quickly. Who knows we may have the
Star Trek transporter? Wouldn’t that be an effective technology to
harness? Oh wait, I’m too late! (sort of)
remember when I was in 7th grade I bought a computer to play games and
replace the typewriter. That $1000 worth of “caddy money” saved me
hours, or even days working on papers. (I can’t BELIEVE there was a time
I used the typewriter! I’m not THAT old!). Other than the idea of
investing in Microsoft stock, that was probably the best money spent at
the time. I knew computers were the “future”.
After we’ve mastered the fundamentals, we should focus our efforts on…
the basic life skills are required for all of us to master “the game of
life” to some degree, it doesn’t give you a focus you need to align
with your unique personal strengths.
There may be some overlap with the fundamental skills and your unique
abilities, which is fine it just means you are likely to have a natural
aptitude or have a high enjoyment. We only have so much time to develop
ourselves, so it’s best to focus on what your natural strengths.
Even the slow changing “world of money” has changed the last 100 years. Back then your currency was gold or backed by gold. Credit cards were nonexistent, purchasing stocks were mainly for the upper class, let alone trading was only for the big boys. Nowadays, there a number of choices for the “rest of us” to choose from, which means more skills to learn and apply. Jeez, even something mundane as money has changed, and will likely keep changing.
I put this as secondary, not because it’s unimportant but because once you have the other basic life skills, you can learn to pick up anything. For instance, let’s take job hunting. Again, it’s an important thing for most of us. You will need solid communication skills to write a good resume and once your foot is “in the door” for the interview, you will need good people skills to get the job. (Unless, you’re at company loaded with incompetent middle management, such as "Initech". Then you probably don’t need ANY skills whatsoever!)
In conclusion, developing basic life skills, takes energy, a lot of times MASSIVE energy
to achieve a level of mastery. Focus on getting your fundamentals
skills right, develop solid habits, discover your unique strengths and
the “change” that’s going on will be something you will embrace.
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