7 Skills for Life
Updated: May 26, 2020
This is a list of 7 timeless skills. What I have written down are my definitions of them. Each of us will have different definitions, different meaning for these skills. I’m sure this list will grow. If you choose to work on them, they will collectively serve a purpose. They will help you achieve success in whichever way you define it. The idea of progress, in my opinion, is also subjective for them. The purpose is for them to be anchors or foundations upon which you build your individual personalities and expertise. They should come in handy to everyone from different walks of life.
* My sister Nittyaa made this on my request. Check out her website here.
As Seth Godin says, “This is an hour when the gatekeepers have left the building”. Anyone can sell themselves through the internet. Since we are our own filters now, what we require is judgment to tell the difference. There is no particular hack to develop judgement. Although experience and awareness are of key importance here.
What I’m proposing here is patience not in its usually perceived sense. While patience as a whole is important, I’m talking about patience on a micro level, patience in moments. You can even call this Impulse Control. We must acknowledge that we humans are irrational beings. Most of the time we are acting on our impulses. Our attention spans are shorter than ever. But we don’t have to be a slave to these impulses. With effort and awareness, we can master these impulses.
Again, just like patience and judgement, this skill binds itself and many others together. What I don’t have is a concrete definition of this skill. But I think awareness is knowing the real reason behind our actions, seeing through the stories we tell ourselves. Why we do certain things, understanding why we have certain needs. You can say, it is knowing ourselves better. There are several tools that can help you in this journey, like mindfulness meditation and journaling.
We have one life to live. Yet we can experience hundreds of others. Dive into the wisdom of great men. Look at the world through their lenses. All this, through books. Any book can only change you if you allow it to. Judgement will be your friend on this journey. While you will encounter many hacks to speed-reading. I think it can only be achieved by reading more and more.
There are more distractions in this era than ever. Doing our work without any distractions is more difficult. Even if you’re able to cut through the distractions created by people, your phone is waiting in your pocket to do its job. Tech behemoths are fighting over your attention, laying well-thought traps at every corner. This is where Deep Work comes into the picture. This term is coined by Professor Cal Newport, who explains it beautifully in his book with the same name.
Nobody is really listening. Even, while engaging in conversations, we’re engrossed in thinking about what to speak next when the other person is talking. And with our attention spans shorter than ever, it's even more difficult to pay unadulterated attention. Good listening goes beyond words. I, personally, find it pretty difficult to do. I recently read a book called You’re Not Listening by Journalist Kate Murphy. It was a great read. I highly recommend it. She does a great job explaining this skill. So since hardly anybody is listening properly, you can give the ones you care about, the gift of true listening.
Most times, we can’t see beyond what’s in front of us. Be it the masks that people wear, or difficult situations, or almost anything. The truth mostly lies beyond that. But since we get stuck at the first level, we end up speculating. This skill will mean different things in different situations.
If you think I’m missing something, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to get some feedback and hear from you.