What are life skills are, why are they so important? Nearly every adult without extensive knowledge in psychology has asked that question at least once in their life.
Life skills are, in short, abilities which allow people to handle life challenges in an efficient way. In other words, life skills are sets of positive behaviours that you can apply in all life situations.
It would be impossible to count them because, as UNICEF explains it, there is no definitive list of such abilities. However, specific skills are taken as the core set of competencies which everyone should learn.
Let’s see what the top six life skills that are necessary for every human being are.
Six Main Life Skill Areas
Getting by in life is often a challenging task for many of us. Given how life is a combination of intertwined areas, roles, and duties, people often slip and experience stress over specific problems which are difficult to solve.
It’s a slippery slope, yes, but there are so many of us who go through life gracefully and without a hiccup.
These people possess the necessary life skills, which fall into six main areas. Those areas are:
- Critical thinking and creative thinking
- Problem-solving and decision-making
- interpersonal skills and communication
- Assertiveness, equanimity and self-control
- Self-awareness and empathy
- Resilience and coping with emotions and stress
The World Health Organization (WHO) defined these areas in 1999 as the main areas that encompass a wide array of skills and abilities that humans learn from an early age.
We will now have a look at some of the most important skills you need to maintain the balance between family, work, school, and social obligations.
Top 5 Life Skills for a Good Life
Now, let’s dive further into the subject and decipher which abilities are the basis for a happy and fully-functioning life.
Self-awareness is perhaps one of the primary skills people need but often do not acquire in school. The explanation is simple: the teachers don’t teach you how to be self-aware. Self-awareness is a core skill that belongs to the self-management set of competences. What it essentially refers to is the ability to understand your thoughts and emotions.
Besides self-awareness, scientists take empathy as the second building block for the development of emotional intelligence. You can practice self-awareness through reading books on the subject and practising talks with yourself. Another great method is writing – you can start by writing lists of things that you noticed about yourself (and others) and expanding the lists step by step.
Self-Control and Assertiveness
This one is a skill all parents try to pass down to children. This is usually done because parents wish to teach children to behave appropriately, i.e. avoid causing unpleasant scenes or acting spoiled. But self-control, along with assertiveness, is much more than that. The ability to refrain from conflicts, potentially hazardous behaviours, and maintaining composure is a precious tool for us. On the other hand, assertiveness translates into the strength to stand up for oneself and others when facing provocation.
There are numerous ways to boost self-control, from going on a new diet to picking up hobbies and training. People have also found that playing games help – gaming is a highly immersive activity which can occupy you for hours. An even better example are the casino games which you can play anywhere online. Games like blackjack are challenging to master
When life throws you a curveball, you should know how to handle it. Problem-solving is the skill required for that. In essence, problem-solving is the ability to find quick and practical solutions to problems with which we are faced. Together with decision-making, it forms a set of behaviours needed for handling problems – finding a solution and then applying it.
The internet can offer a plethora of creative ways to increase one’s problem-solving abilities, including yoga and dancing. However, one of the easiest and most entertaining ways is to play games. Logic games, puzzles, chess and sudoku, and even modern mobile games for the development of logical thinking can help.
Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication
Communication is a significant part of our lives. Humans are a friendly bunch used to live in groups and communities. The core unit is the family, and from there it spreads to encompass wider circles of relatives, friends, and acquaintances. The simplest way to define communicative skills is to say it entails several abilities. Besides non-verbal communication, listening, and the ability to provide feedback are essential for proper interaction with your surroundings.
To practice communicative abilities, try to talk more with people, focusing on the critical abilities listed here. But bear in mind that only a combination of the mentioned competencies can result in effective communication.
Learning is a skill which is often taken for granted. From infancy, babies and toddlers are taught essential skills like speaking and walking. As we grow up, we learn how to communicate, form opinions, and interact with our surroundings. We learn languages, history, and biology, lyrics to favourite music, and memorize passages from favourite books. To conclude, learning is a powerful tool.
But there is one thing with learning – no one teaches us how to learn. Today, numerous scientists and experts in cognitive sciences are developing methods and courses which aim to teach both children and adults how to learn. Or better yet, how to learn better. Given how we continuously learn from everyday experiences, knowing the proper method to adopt new skills and behaviours could be a life-changing decision for most of us.
Your priorities in life dictate which life skills you need, and there are countless skills that each person can acquire. But, some of them are universal and necessary for all living beings if they want to lead a truly happy and fulfilled life. The top five life skills that we introduced above make the basis of such a life.