These readings inspired me to write a post that focused more on actionable life skills to not only live better, but live smarter.
Life skills and people smarts go a long way. I learned most of these lessons in my 20s (sometimes the hard way), but I think they’re valid for any age.
Life skill 1 – Listening to constructive criticism even when it hurts
The people who love you the most will tell you the truth – even if it hurts. If you’re heading down a destructive path, your loved ones will be there to give you some hard and honest constructive criticism to help you get on the right track.
A person who’s not willing to listen to constructive criticism will make the same mistakes over and over again but never learn from them. (Isn’t that the definition of insanity?) They’ll also lose a lot of good friends because they tend to only hang out with people who tell them what they want to hear.
But a true friend is someone who gives it to you real – even when it hurts – because they have your best interest at heart. This is a life skill that wasn’t easy for me to learn, but once I did, I really saw who my true friends were. Believe me, the constructive criticism I was given helped me avoid some horrible mistakes.
Life skill 2 – Walking away from a battle not worth fighting
I’m all about fighting for what you truly believe in. I’m also about never walking away until you’ve given it your all. But sometimes in life, you have to know when it’s time to walk away.
As the saying goes, “Pick and choose your battles wisely.” Over the years, I’ve had to learn to decipher when something was worth fighting for and when it wasn’t worth my attention.
Think about the reward after the battle. Is the prize on the other side of the fight worth all the blood, sweat and tears? If the reward is greater than the sacrifice (and worth it to you), then roll up your sleeves and fight for it. But if not, then turn around and walk away. Trust me, walking away from a senseless battle is a greater form of victory.
Life skill 3 – Acknowledging your weaknesses and actively strengthening them
When we talk about strengths and weaknesses, I always think of a job interview. In an interview, you always try not to shed light on your weaknesses. That’s why you answer with, “My biggest weakness is never saying no” or some other lame response like that.
But I think it’s an important life skill to recognize your weaknesses, so you can work toward strengthening them.
When I first started my career, my biggest weakness was taking initiative and persuading people to see things my way. Over the years, I’ve built up my confidence and negotiation skills to become stronger at persuasion and leadership.
When I first started my relationship, I had major trust issues and commitment fears. But since then, I’ve learned to open up and trust, and now I’m happily common-lawed. (Who would’ve thought?)
Life skill 4 – Learning new skills to grow your portfolio of expertise
It’s so cliché, but I’m going to repeat it. Learning doesn’t stop after graduation; it continues for the rest of your life. At every new job, you learn new work skills. With every promotion or position change, you’re faced with opportunities to learn new abilities.
Don’t be afraid of challenges. Take each opportunity as a way to add to your portfolio of expertise. You never know when you’ll be called on to exercise a certain skill.
Life skill 5 – Loving what you do every day
This is another cliché, and yet I can’t help but include it on this list. I find as we enter our 20s, we’re all about “following our dreams” and “living life to the fullest.” But as we get older, those aspirations turn into “paying the bills” and “taking care of the kids.”
There’s nothing wrong with altering our goals as we get older, but it’s so important to love what we do every day. Chances are we won’t love it every SINGLE day, but we should for the most part.
Otherwise, where’s the fun in life?