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10 Life Skills That Will Always Benefit You

Top Tips July 31, 2017 By Hugo

The American writer Charles Bukowski famously described life as "a dog from hell", and I have no doubt you've just resonated with Bukowski's morbid comparison because life isn't a game that comes with a set of rules and instructions. 

It doesn't tell you how to live a life free from stress and anxiety or even how to be happy so instead, we trawl through the Internet and seek the advice of algorithms and so-called experts even though there isn't much anyone can do for us if we aren't also willing to help ourselves.

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Luckily, we've listed ten life skills that can benefit anyone at any stage in their life. Learning them might not be easy, and to begin with, you won't necessarily find yourself in a better state of mind, but over time, these life skills can benefit you in ways you'd never have imagined.

1. Budgeting 

This has long been a problem with the younger generation, and it seems the current crop of young working professionals are no different despite the cost of living in the major global cities rocketing. But it can be done. You can still maintain a social life, eat well, join a gym and still be in good pocket. 

It sounds easier said than done when wages only seem to be stagnating, but it's the everyday things that make a difference. Instead of buying a fancy sandwich for lunch every day, bring in your own by stocking up on cheaper supermarket produce and buying it in bulk. Instead of the purchase of a Starbucks coffee every day, invest in a flask and bring in your own. 

Most of all, open a savings account. It's important you live for tomorrow rather than today in this economy, and over time you'll start worrying less about your finances.

2. Learning another language 

Learning a new language and getting yourself acquainted with the culture can open up your eyes to a whole new aspect of life. If you can speak Spanish, for instance, then you can travel to almost anywhere in South America as well as Spain without worrying relying on the help of locals, and the same applies for any language, particularly more widely spoken ones. 

So what are you waiting for? Quit limiting yourself to one language and take classes. You can even download one of the various free apps or better yet, immerse yourself in the culture by living there yourself and picking it up as you go along.

3. Empathy and compassion 

You might be thinking that unless you're a real meanie everyone is likely to have empathy and compassion but more often than not you'll find that people are so wrapped up in their problems and day-to-day lives that lending a hand to others isn't second nature.

In some cases, people can even be scared and shy at the prospect of helping someone if they appear to be in distress which is a real shame because by helping others, you are letting your conscience develop, which in turn allows you to understand the human condition, which psychologists believe is a fundamental part of human interaction.

4. Public speaking

How many times have you quivered at the prospect of speaking out in a lecture? Or mumbled your words in a board meeting? Well, you aren't alone as even those of a more confident disposition, find the prospect of talking to large groups of people terrifying.

Take Warren Buffet, one of the richest men in the world. He regularly gives talks around the globe though admitted in the past that he'd get so nervous when asked to give a speech that he'd vomit before going on stage. 

Thankfully, he's now mastered the act, which goes to show that if someone like Buffet can suffer and learn to speak to people, then so can you. After all, speaking to a crowd can be incredibly satisfying and allow you to spread your knowledge and even inspire others, so it's certainly a skill worth practising.

5. Negotiating

Unless you have the gift of the gab, there's a strong possibility that negotiating isn't something that comes naturally to you and because of this many like-minded people shy away from it altogether. But done correctly and you'll find that a plethora of opportunities and rewards will be spawned.

Reading Donald Trump's Art of the Deal is a good starting point, while there are countless other books, as well as articles online, that will help you master the art of good negotiating.

6. Making a move on someone you like

In an age where dating apps are more synonymous with relationships than ever before, doing things the old-fashioned way and approaching someone you've never met before is becoming increasingly rare, especially when you don't have the benefit of alcohol to give you that much-needed bout of Dutch courage. 

That said, a fear of rejection and general shyness get the better of most, but by gauging someone's interest and doing your best not to look creepy, you'll be surprised how easy it is to talk to someone you like.

7. Waking up on time

Few enjoy waking up for work first thing in the morning because it's easier to pull our sheets over our faces as they shield us from our everyday problems. However, with a better morning routine, you can begin to overcome such feelings. 

Granted, it isn't easy, especially if you aren't an annoying morning person, but by setting your alarm an hour earlier, turning a bedside light on when you wake up and even by doing a few stretches, you'll find getting up a less thankless task.

8. Writing well

Writing well shouldn't only be a requirement for those working in writing professions because in the modern-day world of texting and 140-character tweets, writing to a reasonable standard is becoming worryingly obsolete and something that is a primary source of annoyance for employers.

You don't need to be a creative writing genius to write a decent covering letter, but it does help to have a reasonable grasp of spelling, grammar and style. Even if you can string sentences together with ease, it won't look good if it's littered with grammatical errors, so it's worth investing in a book that teaches you the fundamental aspects of the craft such as The Elements of Style by William Stunk Jr.

9. Saying no

How many times have you felt guilt-tripped into saying yes to a coworker or an invitation to a party from a friend when you know that it would benefit you to say no because you need time and space? A lot, probably, and it's doing you no good because eventually you'll become exhausted.

The importance of saying no is just as important as embracing opportunities and saying yes because like anything in life, moderation is key and yes, and no are two words that require a stringent balancing act.

10. Learning to accept your own company

Leaving the most important life skill till last, accepting your own company is vital at any stage in life, no matter your marital status because if we can't learn to find contentment in our company, you'll likely find yourself with an unhealthy dependence on others.

Not everyone likes being alone, and we often try desperately to fill the void by searching for a romantic relationship, and that's okay to a degree, but over time, any future relationship will depend very much on your ability to rely on yourself. 

 As the English poet wrote, "We're the captains of our own souls." 


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