7 Game-Changing Skills to Learn Right Now

7 Game-Changing Skills to Learn Right Now


Some skills are necessary to perform your job. As important as these specific skills are, however, there are a handful of essential life skills that will take your performance to a higher level on the job, with family and friends, and as part of a social or professional community.


Life skills apply in the workplace, at home, and in the community. They're based on a foundation of knowing your options, clarifying your values, and putting the two together in the best possible way for the situation at hand. Here are seven game-changing life skills that are worth working on right now. 1. How to Say No Setting boundaries isn't easy, but it's necessary for healthy relationships. Saying "no" doesn't make you a bad person, but frees you to focus on the things that really matter. Saying "yes" to everything can lead to personal and professional boundaries collapsing, burnout, and resentment. Everyone has an inner compass that points to "yes" or "no," and it is important to pay attention to it. There is also a need to accept the reactions of others. Remind yourself that setting boundaries is the type of self-care that ultimately makes you a better co-worker, friend, parent, or partner. 2. How to Set Goals It's a cliché because it's true. You have to know where you're going to know how to get there. And if you don't set your own goals, you risk spending your life fulfilling other people's goals for you. When you set goals, you turn off the "autopilot" in which today's consumer society would prefer that you operate, and take control of your own life, on your own terms. It starts with thinking ahead and involves focusing, being accountable to yourself, and maintaining motivation. The results are overwhelmingly worth the effort. 3. How to Collaborate Collaboration skills lead to success personally, academically, civically, and professionally. To collaborate effectively, you need to respect others, understand their point of view, accept differences, and learn to develop and align with goals upon which everyone agrees. Collaboration takes practice and effort, but it's a skill that leads to better-informed decision-making, greater success, and an encouraging sense of community and teamwork. 4. How to Manage Your Time Time management is one of the most powerful tools in your kit. Effective time management hinges on knowing when to say "yes" and when to say "no," and how to proceed accordingly. It's important to understand your working style and plan out your day appropriately. There may be some trial and error in planning your schedule, and you have to leave room for the unexpected, but making a consistent effort to manage time makes you more productive, keeps you from wasting time, and helps you say "yes" to the opportunities that mean most to you. 5. How to Give and Receive Constructive Feedback Feedback helps you correct course before things go horribly awry. It's like making soup. You taste the soup to know whether it needs salt or some other ingredient. You check your car mirrors when parallel parking so you can position your car without hitting curbs (or anything else). Feedback in personal and professional relationships helps you learn and encourages reflective thinking. Feedback doesn't always have to be positive, but it should be couched in constructive terms. Likewise, accepting feedback means separating your ego from your desire to be a better person. 6. How to Listen Well Learning to listen more effectively helps you become a better participant in conversations. And when you really listen, you demonstrate that you care about what others have to say. In addition to actually paying attention and taking in information, you can become a better listener by summarizing what is said in your own words and asking questions that are relevant and that further the conversation. 7. How to Regulate Your Perspective Maintaining a healthy perspective is largely a matter of focusing on what you can control and recognizing what you cannot control. When you're in the groove of a project, it's all too easy to magnify a problem beyond any importance it could actually have. Help yourself maintain perspective by asking yourself what the good in the situation is and what might seem funny a year (or a week) from now. Recognize the ways in which a challenge makes you stronger or smarter. Certain game-changing life skills apply regardless of your profession, socioeconomic status, politics, or personal life. Work on these seven game-changing skills and prepare to grow as a person.

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