Growing up, we develop a variety of skills in different fields. Our parents encourage us to develop artistic skills to improve our creativity as children. As we grow older, we learn about skills that can help during our education. Then in adulthood, for our career growth, we understand the importance of life skills education. But by the time we reach there, we realise that we have never paid attention to soft skills needed for our personal and career development.
Unfortunately, this is the case with most people around the world. Our education system relies heavily on textbook-style education rather than practice-based soft skills education. But, while textbook education is important, the older we grow, the more important life skills education becomes in our lives. These skills help in career development and significantly impact our personalities and our personal development. Thus, the students who study everything by the book often tend to not do well in job interviews. This is because, in interviews, companies are not only looking for people who can recite textbook information. They are looking for soft skills to help the candidate perform better in a professional environment.
While every skill helps you grow as an individual, different soft skills cannot be quantified. However, these skills are just as important, if not more, as your skills in website design, creative writing, business solutions, video editing, etc. While all of these skills can help you grow in your careers, for self-development, you need to invest your time seeking skills like better communication, critical thinking, decision making, leadership, etc.
Consider this situation. You are a business executive and head of your hiring team. You come across an A level student. Perfect grades and perfect education. However, when you begin to talk to him, you understand that this candidate cannot answer even the most basic personality questions. The next candidate you invite may not be the best student with perfect scores, but the way they talk presents a leadership-like quality. Who would you pick?
This is a very common question with a surprisingly common answer. Life skills help in self-development. Life skills activities help individuals strengthen their social personalities and stand apart from the crowd. If all people were judged solely on their marks, there would be very little distinction between people. We are all different from each other because we learn and use our life skills.
If you are a student, you may not understand the importance of life skills. But, ask any adult, and they can talk with proof of their soft skills, and life skills helped them overcome their problems. These problems can range from interpersonal (between you and another person) to financial, career, or family-related problems. Life skills help people adapt to the changing circumstances and then make informed and critical decisions.
You can also read our blog on Employability Skills.
Go online and search for job interview questions. If you are not applying for any sciences field, chances are all of your questions will be solely based on soft skills. Even if you are looking for a career in the science field, you will be shocked to see the number of questions based on your personal development rather than your textbooks.
Thus, I have compiled a list of the top life skills you should train yourself in.
This is often regarded as one of the most important life skills to hone. Problem-solving is a soft skill that helps an individual identify a problem, create innovative solutions, decide on a course of action and then implement the chosen path. All of this requires a heavy cost-benefit analysis, a skill one must have in every walk of life, whether professional, student or homemaker.
This is a skill that goes hand in hand with solving problems. Every day, people are exposed to several decisions they have to make. These decisions can be financial, personal or professional. We all need to make them. But, when we are presented with choices, we always fall into the trap of overthinking.
While thinking over small details is a good aspect, people who fall into this pit fail to come out. This is where indecisiveness plagues the process, and people never reach a conclusion. Thus, like with solving problems, one must get into the habit of weighing the pros and cons of every choice and making an informed decision.
Often people say that empathy is not a skill but a quality of character that can one day change the world. The idea of empathy lies in understanding everyone’s situation. For example, if your employee is acting a little strange one particular day, instead of shouting at him, asking him clearly about his problem can give you a perspective on his feelings. This is what empathy is — the ability to understand someone else’s feelings.
This is part of the soft skills that help you analyse complex information. Whenever we are present with a lot of data, we always flounder and lose ourselves in the enormity of the information. This should not be the case. People with good critical thinking skills can dissect important information from vast quantities of data.
This is done by breaking the problem into smaller parts. When one can break the bigger problem into smaller parts, the problem itself seems smaller. Thus, you can easily knock off small parts of the problem bit by bit. And before you know it, you can fix the larger issue without any problems.
Another one of the important life skills that everyone should possess. Whenever we think of creativity, we feel it is limited to artists. This completely falls. All of us are artists — engineers, doctors, marketers. We all create things from nothing, which is the definition of creativity.
Thus, we all must possess soft skills like creative thinking. This does not only help us with creative, innovative ideas. But rather, it helps us find creative solutions to problems that we might face. For example, if you’re unable to open a jar of jam, your creative thinking skills may find thousand different ways to open it up. In India, this system is also referred to as ‘Jugaad’.
Communication skills are one of the integral life skills to have. More importantly, good communication skills are required by every company from their employees. And for good reasons.
Imagine briefing your team on the next assignment to grow your company. If you have bad communication skills and have not relayed the information correctly, errors are bound to be. Some of your team members can come with incomplete reports. Others can come with incorrect aspects. In comparison, some can come back to you with completely wrong reports. However, if you had good communication skills, you would have devised a good method to give out the information so that all aspects are covered. This would save you time as with clear instruction. Your team will not bug you time and again for more information.
Time and tide wait for no one. You must have heard this saying. It talks about how time is unpredictable and keeps marching forward. This is the true nature of reality. And thus, as humans, we are supposed to make the most of whatever little time we have here on Earth. But this is the big picture stuff.
Even if you are working in a small organisation, time is of the essence. Good time management skills can help you complete projects and meet deadlines to grow the business. This helps not just you and your team but also the entire organisation. Thus, time management life skills help promote efficiency, productivity and collaboration.
As we are navigating through life, there are bound to be events that trigger us to make us angry. However, we should never derail our intended paths because of such issues. People who have these life skills tend to manage the worst of situations with a bright smile. These people have soft skills that help them not panic, rather take into account whatever is happening around them, assess the situation and take action accordingly.
Imagine if a fight breaks into your office, and in the heat of the argument, the two people fighting end up hitting you. If you are a person with life skills activities in stress management, you would understand that a reaction at this stage will only provoke more fighting. Your intention there would be to stop the fight and cool the tempers of everyone. People with this soft skill end up breezing through any pressure life throws at them.
To grow as individuals or even in our career development, we are bound to engage with different kinds of people. Some will be helpful, while some may not be helpful. We all must hone life skills to deal with all kinds of people through interpersonal skills.
One of the most important soft skills associated with interpersonal skills is listening. Many people have spoken about the importance of active listening. It is only when we listen can we respond. Thus, in these life skills, people develop collaboration and team-building traits to complete projects and work in a defined period.
Many people are afraid to assess themselves. While this is another soft skill that people must work towards, a more important life skill is taking constructive feedback openly.
People rarely like their work criticised. But not everyone is pointing out flaws in your work for the amusement of it. Most people, especially in a professional environment, point out flaws to grow as an individual and a professional. More importantly, the ability to take constructive criticism is also a display of your maturity.
You can also read our blog on What does a Soft Skills Trainer do?
Before I end this article, I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you about a type of opportunity that offers you money for your part-time work. That’s it!
Chegg Subject Experts are freelancers who excel in a particular subject and are hired by Chegg India to respond to the problems posed by students. These experts can work from home to answer the various questions that students put up on our website. For every question answered, Chegg pays you with a pre-decided amount. The more you help other students clear their problems, the more money you earn. The top experts at Chegg can earn up to one lakh rupees per month.
The benefit of working as a Chegg Subject Expert:
To learn more about the program or register yourself as a Chegg Subject Expert, you can click here.
Life skills make you an independent adult, ready to face the challenges thrown at you. Because, in the real world, there are no textbooks. Thus, enrolling in life skills activities should be a must for your career growth and career development.