I have been wanting to write about today’s subject for some time. The reason I haven’t is because I, myself, couldn’t come up with an answer. But today I’m going to give it a shot and I would love to hear what your thoughts are.
Here’s the question: “what are the 10 most important skills in life?”
Wow! That is a BIG question.
It’s one I have been pondering for some time and I keep finding new and better reasons for the new answers.
It was not easy to narrow it down to just ten. But here are mine:
In our new world of instant connectivity and the speed of change approaching mach 1 it’s vital to be able to be flexible and adapt in many situations – when communicating with people, re-inventing yourself and in your competitive business environment.
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.” ~ Robert A. Heinlein
This skill helps us know who we are, our strengths and needs for improvement, as well as assists us in understanding how we’re perceived by others. Those without self-insight very often see their careers derail regardless of the level of their other skills. As your ability to ‘know thy self’ increases, you will start to trust yourself and your instincts more. As self insight becomes greater so does intuition. You will make less mistakes and the time required to change will become less and less. Without self-awareness, most change on the personal level CAN NOT happen. The first step to creating a change in any area of life or business is to become consciously aware of your incompetence.
I feel one of the biggest problems entrepreneurs face today is their lack of imagination and creativity. I recently saw a special on television that interviewed a student from China that had no imagination. He had spent most of his life memorizing and regurgitating information. He had lost the ability to be creative
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” –Albert Einstein
#7 Stress Management
There are stacks of research that prove the negative impact of stress. Stress literally kills you. Usually stress is caused by problems. And if you don’t have problems…well then, you’re probably dead. So the ability to manage and eliminate stress from your life is not only relevant to your health but it also effects your relationships and your performance at work.
I know some of you are cringing when I say math, but I’m not talking about calculus or even algebra. I’m talking about basic arithmetic and a basic understanding of accounting. This skill is what will allow to quickly make estimates, figure out if something is a deal (or not), manage your finances (personally and professionally), make sure you aren’t getting ripped of when taking a cab :).
#5 Time Management
As I have gotten older this skill has become CRITICAL to my success. It’s a skill I was never ever taught growing up or anywhere in my formal education. It is something I began to master out of necessity and I can tell you it impacts my life every single day.
#4 Critical Thinking/ Decision Making
I think these two go hand in hand. The amount of information we are exposed to versus our great grandparents may not even be calculable. Our ability to quickly sort, assimilate, interpret, categorize and make a decisive decision is a skill that is found in most successful people. They tend to make “better decisions” and rarely get stuck in the paralysis of analysis. This skill is what separates those that talk about something and those that take action.
Your ability to influence yourself in ways that benefit you and move your closer to your goals, usually when you don’t want to, when it’s not comfortable or convenient is the difference that makes the difference in result. Daily rituals, productivity habits, and a strong sense of discipline are needed to keep yourself progressing.
#2 One to Many Communication (Public Speaking/Writing)
Influencing from the front: Public Speaking
The ability to speak concisely, influentially, and powerfully in front of an audience – whether an audience of 1 or of thousands – is one of the most important skills anyone can develop. People who are effective speakers appear to be more confident, more authoritative and more attractive to be around. Being able to speak influentially means you can impact people to buy products, buy-in to your ideas, ideologies, worldviews, and sell yourself.
Writing well offers many of the same advantages that speaking well offers: good writers are better at selling products, ideas, and themselves than poor writers. Learning to write well involves less about mastery of grammar but the development of the ability to organize one’s thoughts into a coherent form and target it to an audience in the most effective way possible. Given the massive amounts of writing required today from a cover letter to a brief in the legal field to emails to the people you can write persuasively and influentially will always make a living.
I can remember John Jantsch telling me that the key to his success has been his writing.
Jeffrey Gitomer said his best advice he could give to anyone is to write an hour a day.
I concur, a great deal of my success can be contributed to my writing.
#1 Emotional Mastery:
Mastering meaning is hands down the most critical skill one can develop. The ability to consciously decide what something means to you is the key to happiness, success, fulfillment. There is a saying that say’s you can’t control what happens to you, but you can control how you react. I believe that how your ‘react’ is based solely on the meaning you attach to the event.
That was a tough list to compile, but if had to choose just ten skills required to live my best life possible, those are the 10 I would choose.
What are yours?
Loving, Giving, Living Large,