Life is beautiful, precious, precarious, and above all, full of mysteries. With no prior training, we have been given this priceless gift while learning to make the most of it.
Our education system, despite its value, doesn’t prepare us for life’s challenges. Obviously, learning the principles of algebra is vital, but they can’t help us handle a difficult colleague, manage our time, or handle pressure.
As a result, students are graduating from high school and colleges and entering the workforce with industry-specific skills and zero life skills. We can’t blame our schools for not teaching us how to live, because it’s our responsibility to seek the knowledge that will guide us through life.
I’m no expert myself, but the decade I spent learning from outstanding individuals from all walks of life has made me realize that there are five foundational skills that seem to be part of all prominent leaders’ repertoire.
Regardless of socio-economic background, religion, or education, you will find these five psychosocial skills life changing. These skills aren’t exhaustive nor normative, but suggestive and learnable. You can master those skills with time and dedication.
Learning how to learn is the first core skill everyone should master. Knowing you can—and how to—develop the skills required to reach your goals will motivate you to challenge yourself, beat complacency, and boredom.
However, many people assume they are bad learners because they failed academically. This couldn’t be further from the truth. There is a significant disparity between “learning” and “being taught.”
Performing poorly as a student doesn’t mean you aren’t a good learner. Conventional education’s one-size-fits-all approach to learning may simply not fit you just like it didn’t Albert Einstein.
Einstein, known as the father of modern science, wasn’t a gifted pupil. His professors said he was a goof-off with no future. He himself wrote to his parents saying that he thinks he might be better off if he was never born.
While he didn’t excel in school, he did his best learning at the patent office while reviewing patent applications. Rather than passively absorbing knowledge in a boring lecture, he could review lots of claims and spend the rest of the time daydreaming, what he calls thought experiment.
Charles Darwin is another example of a changemaker who would be considered “bad apple” in the traditional school system. He could never fit in the rote learning of Classics at the popular Anglican Shrewsbury School, where he studied between 1818 and 1825. His schoolmate nicknamed him “gas” for dabbling in his chemistry class.
Does it mean they were not skilled at learning? They were bad at being taught. If you don’t perform satisfactorily at school, remember those who didn’t and ended up accomplishing beyond everyone’s expectations.
The Famous 70-20-10 Learning Framework
The famous 70-20-10 learning framework used for Learning & Development in the business world can help you improve your learning skills. These percentages are general guidelines and may vary by individual preference and ability. This structure is to stimulate you to determine the correct mix of learning strategies that work best for you.
70 percent of learning takes place in an informal setting, in trial and error, with no guidance. This may be in stark contrast with regular classroom-settings centered on a formal figure who presumably possesses all the answers. Both teachers and students would learn from a system characterized by creativity, instead of passive learning, deference to authority, and standardized testing.
Besides learning solitarily, 20 percent of our learning must come from interacting, observing, and emulating others. Like Bill Nye elegantly said: “Everyone you will ever meet knows something that you don’t.”
High achievers and low achievers have the same ocean of knowledge and wisdom. We model their successes from books, movies, interviews, or direct interaction. We also learn from their failures. Directly or indirectly, they inspire us to learn and grow.
Teaching is also an important learning skill that can help boost our self-esteem. This principle was thoroughgoing in one of the open-house events I attended at a local pre-school.
One kindergartener came in with her mother and her younger sister. We were playing a game in which they had to answer questions to riddles for gifts that I would give for accurate answers.
I couldn’t help but notice how proud she felt to instruct her sibling. Her pride motivated her to learn even more so she can teach her sister. Like my kindergartener, adults experience a similar surge in self-image when we share insights with others.
This is no mere proposition, but scientifically proven facts that competence, power, and achievement work in tandem to increase one’s self-assurance. These two forces combined will set the cycle of lifelong learning and growth in motion.
By sharing knowledge, we enjoy an upsurge in self-confidence, which will drive us to keep learning so we can impart valuable knowledge in the future.
Finally, we devote around a tenth of our time to formal learning settings. Imagine if you invested most of your time in a classroom. Beyond a certain threshold, any second attending a class is useless. Effective learning happens with a balanced combination of self-study, lectures, and inquiry.
If you have ever considered yourself a lousy learner, you can experiment with the 70-20-10 method and see the difference for yourself.
Time Management Skills
As a limited, fixed, and irreplaceable resource, we can’t buy time, nor can we recoup those we have wasted. Few of us ever learn how to manage it.
For you to advance toward your long-range goals and create the life you want, learning to set our priorities is essential. Don’t let urgency make a task a priority. A task is not a priority because it’s urgent, but because you have assessed its importance meticulously and have decided that accomplishing such an activity will take you one step closer to your long-term goal. Effective time management will give you peace of mind, enrich your life, and relationships.
Read this article to learn four timeless time management techniques.
Be modest is a reminder that we don’t know everything. We live in a culture where people are taught to shine at all costs. This often creates a sense of grandiosity in many.
To offset the occasional sense of superiority that comes with learning, try to teach others. Find someone in need, share knowledge with them continuously. You may know more than your protégé, but you need to exercise a great deal of sophistication to listen, understand, and acknowledge their ideas.
That way, you can improve your empathetic listening, patience, which will make you more humble. Humility can help us stay creative and open to learning opportunities.
There are days when life will hit us hard. Setback is that unpredictable, yet expected friend that knocks on our door on our journey to achieving our goals. Knowing that failure is a given, the effective strategy is not to prevent it from happening, rather to cope with it when it visits. That’s where resilience, which is getting back into the game quickly after a defeat comes into play.
To build resilience, it’s paramount we learn to fail, fail early, and fail as much as possible. There is more wisdom to be gained from failure. The more you fail, the more resilient you become. When failure strikes, the natural tendency is to go down in laxity, self-pity, and destructive behaviors, but the tenacious person is the one who lets go of those negative emotions speedily and moves forward.
In the ambivalent, messy, and volatile society we live today, we can’t afford to let time pass us by while wasting time in despair and complaining.
Without sufficient social skills, we are less likely to maintain friendships, romantic relations, and more likely to experience low self-confidence and anxiety. Therefore, learning basic interpersonal skills, i.e., respect, active listening, and empathy, is critical.
These three articles can help you heighten your interpersonal skills:
How to Make Friends and Improve Your Social Skills
How Do I Improve My Listening Skills?
Skills such as creative thinking, analytical skills, problem-solving, decision-making are relevant, but the five skills are the foundation to everything we need to succeed personally and professionally. To help you remember those five skills, I have come up with the mnemonic device called THRIL.
- Time management
- Interpersonal skills
What skill would you add? Why? Let us know in the comment below.
I never saw that 70/20/10 rule about learning, very interesting. Thanks, the whole post was great! The only skill I would add is money management. I wasn’t taught about money growing up and had a few hard years figuring it out on my own. Great list though.
Yessss I couldn’t agree more. Money management is even more important nowadays in a society where overconsumption is the norm.
I would add: To learn self honesty combined with self compassion. If we don’t learn to listen to ourselves and challenge and lovingly heal our personal human follies it is difficult to authentically offer empathy to others. Thanks for this.
I totally agree with you. Self honesty and self compassion are definitely essential like skills we all need to develop. I will keep your feedback in mind. Thank you for sharing:)
Thank you for your nice following 😊
My pleasure 😇:)
Thanks for the follow 🤓 You seem like a groovy dude! And you taught me a new word — ataraxia.
🤣🤣 Thank you for checking out my website. I am happy you learned a new word on my website:)
I really like making the distinction between learning and “being taught”. I know some kids struggling academically right now that may benefit from hearing that.
Absolutely! I think more people need to understand that difference. Thank you for checking out my blog.
Thank you for choosing to follow my blog! I really appreciate your support, and I look forward to reading more of your posts.
You are very welcome 🙏. It’s my pleasure following your blog. I look forward seeing more of your posts too.
Sage advice, a truly impressive list of accomplishments, and a beautiful blog, Bachir. 💜
Thank you Carol for your kind words of encouragement:) that means a lot
Life is a teacher.
Absolutely! There are so many lessons to learn. We have to be open to them.
These are great and I would probably say my weakest is time management. At the same time, I am highly productive with tasks for the time spent. That made me valuable in manufacturing as a manager with my people skills. That being said, I would make a great grape picker and a poor wine maker.
Thank you Gary for commenting. We all have a weakness. I m glad to see that you are aware of yours.
I enjoy this post, Bachir. Such an insightful and comprehensive post. Thank you for this labour of love.
Thanks Blaise for sharing your comment. I am happy you enjoy my article. That means a lot.
Indeed, young employees nowadays, and I’m including myself, are crybabies.
Yes! People have become so soft these days. Anyways, thanks for stopping by.
Life is full of mystery. Some mystery which will probably never be resolved, but sometimes the satisfaction is in looking 🙂
I couldn’t agree more. The unknown, which many fear, is usually the greatest source of satisfaction there is.
Thanks for stopping by my blog. Your visit led me back to your site. Great posts. Very wise and helpful. Well written.
I am always trying to find inspiration from great bloggers like you. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.
Thanks so much for visiting my blog – it prompted me to visit your site which I find full of good advice and very attractive. Well done!
I am happy that you find my blog attractive. Thank you for visiting.
5 Key Life Lessons.
Life is full of challenges and setbacks, and it’s important to learn how to persevere through difficult times. By cultivating a resilient mindset and continuing to work towards our goals, even in the face of adversity, we can achieve great things.
Understanding and showing empathy towards others is an essential part of building strong relationships and being a positive force in the world. By taking the time to listen to others, putting ourselves in their shoes, and treating them with kindness and compassion, we can make a real difference in the lives of those around us.
Taking time to reflect on our thoughts, feelings, and actions can help us better understand ourselves and our place in the world. By engaging in regular self-reflection, we can gain insight into our values, beliefs, and behaviors, and make positive changes that align with our goals and aspirations.
Life is constantly changing, and it’s important to be able to adapt to new situations and challenges. By developing the ability to be flexible and open-minded, we can navigate the ups and downs of life with greater ease and resilience.
Taking time to appreciate the good things in our lives can help us cultivate a positive and optimistic mindset. By focusing on what we have rather than what we lack, we can find greater joy and fulfillment in our daily lives, and develop a greater sense of perspective and resilience in the face of challenges.
Wow! One of the most insightful posts I have ever read. I totally agree with you. Adaptability is important and we can adapt only to the extent we are willing to learn. Many thanks for commenting.
Thanks bro I really appreciate I didn’t know someone will comment
All the pleasure is mine.
I believe that being a competent and knowledgeable parent, especially about factual child-development science, is what matters most when deciding to be a parent. Too many people will procreate regardless of their inability to rear children in a psychologically functional/healthy manner.
Many people seem to perceive thus treat human procreative ‘rights’ as though they [people] will somehow, in blind anticipation, be innately inclined to sufficiently understand and appropriately nurture our children’s naturally developing minds and needs.
In the book Childhood Disrupted the author writes that even “well-meaning and loving parents can unintentionally do harm to a child if they are not well informed about human development” (pg.24).
Being free nations, society cannot prevent anyone from bearing children; society can, however, educate all young people for the most important job ever, even those who plan to remain childless.
I would like to see child-development science curriculum implemented for secondary high school students, and it would also include neurodiversity, albeit not overly complicated. It would be mandatory course material, however, and considerably more detailed than what’s already covered by home economics, etcetera, curriculum: e.g. diaper changing, baby feeding and so forth.
I don’t think the latter is anywhere near sufficient (at least not how I experienced it) when it comes to the proper development of a child’s mind. For one thing, the curriculum could/would make available to students potentially valuable/useful knowledge about their own psyches and why they are the way they are.
Additionally, besides their own nature, students can also learn about the natures of their peers, which might foster greater tolerance for atypical personalities. If nothing else, the curriculum could offer students an idea/clue as to whether they’re emotionally suited for the immense responsibility and strains of parenthood.
There’s so much to know and understand about child development (science) in order to properly/functionally rear a child to his/her full potential in life. I once read an ironic quote from a children’s health academic that, “You have to pass a test to drive a car or to become a … citizen, but there’s no exam required to become a parent. And yet child abuse can stem from a lack of awareness about child development.”
By not teaching child-development science to high school students, is it not as though societally we’re implying that anyone can comfortably enough go forth with unconditionally bearing children with whatever minute amount, if any at all, of such vital knowledge they happen to have acquired over time?
One sometimes wonders how many instances there have been wherein immense long-term suffering by children of dysfunctional rearing might have been prevented had the parent(s) received, as high school students, some crucial child development science education by way of mandatory curriculum. After all, dysfunctional and/or abusive parents, for example, may not have had the chance to be anything else due to their lack of such education and their own dysfunctional/abusive rearing as children.
A psychologically and emotionally sound (as well as a physically healthy) future should be every child’s foremost right, especially considering the very troubled world into which they never asked to enter.
“The way a society functions is a reflection of the childrearing practices of that society. Today we reap what we have sown. Despite the well-documented critical nature of early life experiences, we dedicate few resources to this time of life. We do not educate our children about child development, parenting, or the impact of neglect and trauma on children.”
—Dr. Bruce D. Perry, Ph.D. & Dr. John Marcellus
You are absolutely right. I always think that people get trained before getting behind the wheels of a car but there’s no popular training for parents to be. Anyways, thanks for commenting:)
Nice article! 💓
thank you <3
You’re welcome 🤗