3 Skills To Improve Your Life

The previous post outlined that learning skills are important for success. I whole-heartedly believe that. However, some skills are significantly more valuable than others.

Some skills are rated higher than others. Some skills are used more often than others. In this post, I’d like to outline three of, what I think are, the most valuable skills to improve your life.

Building Skills

1) Public Speaking 

The majority of people have serious anxieties speaking to large groups. The entire process is intimidating. What if they boo? What if they laugh at you, instead of with you?

The majority of people avoid public speaking at all costs, but I feel it is an important skill to learn and improve. Firstly, if you can speak well in public, you are set above the majority of the population (that’s a HUGE advantage).

Try joining a Toastmaster’s program. They are a large public speaking group that I found extremely helpful. I had a post on public speaking earlier in my writing ‘career’ about improving public speaking.

2) Accounting

Basic accounting skills are so important as an ‘adult.’ You need to keep track of your money on a basic spreadsheet (at the very least).

Every year, during tax season I see my friends scramble to H&R Block to get their taxes done. They have no idea if they’re getting the correct return or that they are overspending for something that can be easily done in your underwear.

If you do not know basic accounting, how are you supposed to verify accounting agencies? I don’t feel comfortable trusting anyone (let alone a large corporation) with my money.

Basic accounting skills can be learned easily with a two day course (that most places offer for free) and through YouTube. Lastly, TurboTax (these companies seriously need to pay me for these endorsements) is an excellent resource for filing taxes in your underwear.

C) Conversation

“Wait a minute, Leroy. Conversation is the same as public speaking.”

I would disagree. Public speaking is more geared to groups. Conversation is for the one-on-one interaction. Too many people are buried in their cellphones and social media.

People have forgotten the lost art of conversation and shudder at the thought of having any human interaction. Most people just talk, which is not the same as conversation.

Conversationalists have learned techniques that are surprisingly nonobvious to most people. The core secret to conversations is introducing yourself and asking questions until you find mutual interests.

Most people want to talk about themselves. This is not a bad trait. In fact, it makes the conversation skill surprising easy to grasp. Ask questions and allow the recipient to answer.

Find common ground and establish a relationship.

Conversations are important to befriend, plan, exchange information, persuade, seduce (to have sex), entertain and form lasting relationships. Too few people have a grasp on strong conversational skills.

Just remember to smile, ask questions, and allow the stranger to talk. Everyone likes to talk about his or her life, and everyone appreciates a sympathetic listener.

Out of fear for making this post too long, I will end the skills here. There are so many more important skills to improve on. If you have any valuable skills, leave a comment below and I will write another article for a future piece.

Be bold, be free, and love on.

Expand Your Toolbox Today

Recently, my manager asked if I wanted additional training in any other areas. Initially, I was reluctant. I don’t want to stay at my current job because, well, it’s only a job. I have bigger hopes and aspirations.

But, I decided to say yes. Why? Well, because ANY skill you acquire will double your chances for success.

But Leroy, “not all skills are equal and not all skills are important. Hence, they can’t double your chances of success.”

Yes, you’re right. I whole-heartedly agree with you. Obviously, some skills are more important than others, and the tenth skill you acquire might have less value than each of the other nine.

But when you approach learning a new skill with the mindset that it will double your odds of success, you instantly trick your brain into being more proactive in your pursuit of learning.

If I told you that taking a website coding class, will double your chances of success, the chances of you acting increases. If instead I only offered a vague opinion that acquiring new skills is beneficial, you might not feel particularly motivated.

A) Where Do I Start?

Method 1: Be a kid again

It’s difficult to figure out where to start. For me, I like to remember all my passions before I reached ten-years-old. Before ten, my brain was still malleable enough to absorb everything, but not yet tainted by formal education.

When you were a kid, the things you enjoyed were almost instinctual, rather than influenced. You understood that you liked something for the mere fact that it brought enjoyment to you.

Start there. Remember all the things you enjoyed and pursue similar skills. As you start learning those, diversify. Jump into random categories that interest you.

Method 2: Consume News

If you have trouble finding something to read, start with the topics that interest you, even if they may be something trivial like gossip and celebrity scandals. Over time, you will enjoy the experience of reading and start sampling topics that wouldn’t have interested you before.

Personally, I read news from business, health, science, technology, and politics. Continue to expose yourself to new topics, primarily the ones that interest you the most.

But be weary, consuming some news can be a huge downer if you pick the wrong topics. Try to avoid stories about tragic events and negativity and focus on the positive aspects of science, technology and business.

B) It Gets Easier

When you first try to learn a skill it can be daunting. You can’t see yourself learning something that, at the time, seems impossible. But once you understand a few core concepts it gets easier.

female teen hand drawing a graph

A huge advantage of learning as much as you can in different fields is that the more concepts you understand, the easier it becomes to learn new ones. The learning process snowballs into other fields, consistently teaching you new skills.

Imagine explaining to an alien the concept of a zebra. The learning curve would be steep. If the next thing you tried to explain were the concept of a horse, the conversation would be much shorter. You simply have to say that the horse is a lot like the zebra, without the black and white stripes.

The process of learning continues to simplify itself, as you progressively absorb more knowledge of varying skills.

C) How Do I Be Perfect at EVERYTHING?

The short answer to that question is, “You don’t.”

You do not need to seek mastery or perfection in any skill. The idea is that you can increase your market value just by being good –not perfect– at more than one skill.

In terms of success, you are better off being good at two complementary skills rather than being extraordinary at one. In some cases, being extraordinary at one skill will pay off, but for the majority of us regular people (ME), diversifying your toolbox will lead to success.

Toolbox_by_maxon

Do not pursue perfection, but pursue learning. Aim to learn as many skills as possible. They will eventually help you out in one situation or another. The more you learn, the better you become.

Diversify your toolbox today by learning something, anything. Learn to whistle with two fingers, sewing basics, draw a cat, or tinker with a basic sound system. I promise you, once you learn something, you will be closer to success.

Be bold, be free, and love on.