Initially when I started drafting this post I wasn’t quite sure why I was thinking about life skills in the first place, until I started to chat to someone and realised why. Simply put, I was sat at the bus stop the other morning when a woman smiled, sat next to me and said, “Hi”. Me being me, I smiled back and said, “Hey, you alright?” A small-talk conversation kind of started from there, but boy was she difficult to talk to. Have you ever tried talking to someone who gives you blunt, three-word answers, but you still feel like they’re somewhat encouraging a conversation, so you can’t exactly stop chatting? Well, that’s kind of how this was going. So back to this post, I figured I’d note down the life skills I believe we all need, starting off with a highly relevant one:
1 | Communication. This is probably one of the most important life skills to have. It’s essential to be able to communicate with family, friends and colleagues on the daily. I’ve met people randomly (such as my short story above) where they’re clearly not capable of small talk, but even been on dates where the guy is simply all answers and no questions – it’s a two way street! Communication is essential for the likes of career progression, social opportunities, networking and simply being able to help loved ones too.
2 | Know how to cook. I’m not an amazing cook, but I know the basics such as boiling an egg. My cooking skills stretch a lot further than that, but it’s important that we are able to cook ourself a decent meal. If you’re not too sure on how to cook, get yourself a simple cookbook which will talk you through the basics, or even book yourself into a cooking class!
3 | Be capable of saying ‘No’. I’ve been in situations before, big or small, where I simply kept saying ‘Yes’ because I didn’t quite know how to go about telling people the opposite. You will be faced with situations in life where you need to say ‘No’ for your own sake – even if it’s simple thing such as accidentally double-booking yourself, up to bigger situations such as being able to tell a colleague ‘No’ to a task they’ve asked from you.
4 | Budget, budget, budget. These are the kind of life skills that should be taught in school, but unfortunately aren’t. Many people go on to leave school, get a job, move out, get there own place and then panic because they think, “Crap, I can’t afford this or that this month.” It’s imporant to be able to manage your own finances and understand your income vs your expenditure; rent/mortgage, bills, travel, food etc.
5 | Be able to take constructive critism. I’ll reiterate – be able to constructive critism without throwing a tantrum. I’ve dealt with people in the past who clearly can’t hack a little critism. Feedback is essential for progression; school, work and even just life. Perhaps you do something that simply pisses a lot of people off – it happens. It’s important to not only be able to listen to constructive critism, but also act on it for self development.
6 | Being alone. Life skills are for a variety of things and I think one skill we should all have is being able to be on our own. I don’t mean forever, obviously, but just being able to spend time on our own without the need to have others around us. I know being on your own can be a little daunting, but it’s something that can have develop independance.
7 | Asking for help. It’s okay to ask for help, rather than sit there struggling with something and feeling like you’ll be thought of as weak just for asking for a little guidance. When I’m struggling with something, I always seek help. I hate being in situations where I’m struggling and if I still can’t figure it out after trying to, that’s when I ask for help.
What life skills do you think we need?