5 Hard to Master Skills that Will Reward Handsomely in the Future
As we admire people in our society that stand out among us, we find that they have several common qualities. These traits are not always obvious, and we have to take the time to find them — but they exist none the less.
For young people, the best thing you can do for yourself is to learn the life skills that will make the most difference. They will put your life on a powerful path.
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Learning these life skills does not require specialized training, advanced education, or elevated status. They are free to learn and will serve you well no matter what your life goals are. And it doesn’t matter if you wish to become an engineer, a doctor, a chef, or a gardener. They will make you more productive, regardless of what path you choose.
These life skills are simple to understand, yet hard to master. But like many skills, they drastically improve with practice. Therefore, you should start right away.
Empathy is knowing how to feel what others feel. When someone experiences a traumatic event or the loss of a beloved family member, you support them in a way that demonstrates you understand.
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Empathy goes way beyond saying, “I’m sorry for your loss.” We say that to acquaintances and strangers on the street.
Empathy is the foundation of building rapport with someone. And there is no more critical condition in which to influence and persuade than in a state of rapport. This is because you have built a massive amount of trust to get there.
Because of that high level of trust, it must work both ways. You have to be authentic and really feel their plight, and sincerely want to connect with them.
Empathy doesn’t mean you have to be the closest of friends and get knee-deep in the lives of one another. It means you care and are willing to make a connection with someone. And it also means having the courage to put yourself out there.
Benefits of empathy:
- Others are more willing to work with you.
- You’ll naturally be more diplomatic.
- Your managers will consider you more valuable.
- Others will be more honest with you.
- Problems will be easier to solve
Listening has become a lost art, and most of us desperately need to improve this vital skill. Here’s something you can try that really helped my listening skills:
“When the other person is speaking, instead of trying to think of what you are going to say next, try putting that energy into listening to what they are saying.”
Give it a try. I found it very helpful.
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The great thing about improving your listening skills is that you will instantly stand out among the crowd. When you can recall what the other person said with specifics and can respond to those specifics, you will make a strong impression — guaranteed.
Want to really impress someone? Recall a specific piece of information about their life that you learned from a conversation you had with them months ago such as: “How did your daughter’s birthday turn out?” or “How was your trip to Rome?” They will always hold you in high regard after that.
Earlier I said that empathy was the foundation for building rapport. We can also consider listening as one of the foundations of empathy.
Benefits of listening:
- Creates deeper relationships
- Creates deeper connections with others
- Makes you a better learner
- Builds greater trust with others
The value of consistency is often underestimated — probably because it is taken for granted. But this doesn’t diminish its value. Consistency is like oxygen because we never realize its importance until it’s taken away from us.
Consistency as a life skill is creating a reliable work ethic upon which people in your environment can depend. It means reaching a level of productivity that you reproduce day in and day out.
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But consistency is more than your approach to work. It also applies to your demeanor and how you interact with others. Your state of mind and your attitude should be consistently pleasant. Those who are emotionally erratic and generate high levels of drama are very damaging to every kind of environment.
The fact is that most managers would pick a reliable person with a strong work ethic over a disorganized genius 9 times out of 10. This is because they know what to expect from a steady performer.
You must never forget that you don’t always know what is most important to your boss’s boss — or even the bosses above that. This means that every assigned task should be undertaken with your best effort. Half-assed efforts can drastically hurt your entire team.
Believe me. You make yourself invaluable when you are consistently reliable.
Benefits of consistency:
- Easier to measure your output
- Your work is easier to manage.
- You help create better environments around you.
- Consistent performers make excellent managers.
Control Your Thoughts
The famous motivational speaker, Earl Nightingale, once said, “We become what we think about.”
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that nothing could be more accurate. What we think about is the real key to our lives.
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The current state of our life is the result of all the decisions we have made up to now. And those decisions have come from our thoughts.
So what would’ve happened if we had thought about different things in our lives? Easy. We would be somewhere different today — I don’t see any other conclusion than that.
This is why we must be mindful of what we think about on a daily basis. Most of us have around 50,000 thoughts or more every single day. And experts tell us that we tend to recycle many of the same thoughts over and over again.
How many of those thoughts create disturbing emotions for us like anxiety, fear, and guilt? Conversely, how many of those thoughts create happiness, joy, and excitement?
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Folks, we have full control of the world inside our heads. That’s how prisoners of war and holocaust survivors withstood the torture and atrocities they had to endure. If they can withstand conditions like that, then we should be able to overcome the obstacles in our lives.
Secondly, how many of our negative thoughts do we have any control over? Studies have shown that not only do we worry most about things we can’t control, most of the time, these worrisome things never actually occur. So why do we punish ourselves?
The best way to start cleaning up your thoughts is to begin getting rid of worries you have no control over. Next, you should think more about the things that make you excited and joyful.
Many negative thoughts are time-based. If you are worrying a lot and have anxiety, then you are focusing too much on the future and on things that haven’t even happened. And if your thoughts make you feel guilt and regret, then you are thinking too much about the past. Focusing more on the moment will reduce these time-based emotions.
It takes time to change your thinking habits, but if you commit yourself to master your thoughts, you will enjoy its reward for a lifetime.
Benefits of controlling your thoughts:
- Will quit worrying about the small stuff.
- Will prioritize more effectively.
- Will enjoy more mental energy.
- Have a clearer vision of the big picture
- Better equipped to solve problems
Ask, Ask, Ask
I have seen many people in my life make this mistake — not asking for the things they want and need. I believe this is often a byproduct of our upbringing. We are taught to keep our heads down and work hard. But we are not taught to ask for what we want because this might be seen as self-serving.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
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Many people work hard and try to do the right thing, but they rob themselves of optimal happiness and joy by not asking. The big mistake here is that we assume others know what we want and that they will provide when it is time.
Do you know what those around us are mostly thinking about? The things they want and need — not yours. This is not because they are evil; it’s because that’s how we humans are. How often do you think about what other people need?
Asking is getting more critical every day in our busy world — if you want to live a full life. This means we must learn to ask for many things.
We must ask for help when needed.
We must ask for clarification to function more effectively.
We must ask for directions to quit wasting time.
We must ask for knowledge when we don’t understand.
And we must ask for what we want and need.
Benefits of asking:
- We do our jobs better.
- We live happier lives.
- We are less confused.
- We understand the world better.
- We learn more.
- We get the things we want.