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7 most important life skills
The days when a high school diploma means you were set up for a comfortable middle class lifestyle ended in about 1950. The days when a college degree means you were set for a comfortable middle class lifestyle ended in about 1975. It gets harder to make it every year but you can stack the deck in your favor by learning these seven life skills.
The sad thing is that only one of these is taught in school which is why we have so many unhealthy and unhappy people in America. The good news is that in one summer you could master all these seven skills and if you do, you will reap the dividends for the rest of your life. If you don’t, you will become one of those unhappy people who constantly post on social media about how much their life sucks.
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Ability to read and write English. This is the one skill taught in schools but unfortunately, people still graduate without being able to write well enough to make it in modern society. I don’t care if you are an artist, an auto mechanic, or an engineer, if you cant write well you will be severely limited. Engineers and scientists write all the time and are judged by their written word but even artists need to write grant proposals and auto mechanics need to type up summaries of work done. Writing with poor grammar or misspelled words severely limits your pay and your career options. If your English isn’t great then take an in person or online class.
Know how to use spreadsheets. Many people don’t even know what a spreadsheet does or think its just something that only accountants use but spreadsheets are critically important for virtually every profession. For example, who is the least likely person to need a spreadsheet? A meathead bodybuilder! Even bodybuilders need spreadsheets to be successful. For strength training, you use a spreadsheet to program your lifts. For tracking lean body mass so you can tell if you are gaining muscle, you need a spreadsheet where you enter your three skinfold measurements and weight daily. One of the most important uses you will find for a spreadsheet is in helping you make financial decisions. For example, what will be the best financially over the next 10 years - renting a house or owning? You don’t have to google advice, YOU make a spreadsheet with assumptions about inflation, and housing appreciation that you are comfortable and the spreadsheet give you the answer. You can teach yourself how to do the basics of a spreadsheet with a YouTube tutorial in a an hour but remember that the learning actually happens when you do your own spreadsheet from scratch. It looks easy when you watch a tutorial but when you try and do your own you will find you don’t understand as well as you thought you did.
Be excellent at time management. Everyone has 24 hours in a day but yet there are some people who seem to get 10x more done than others, why is that? Time management! Also critical is knowing what you want to accomplish this year, this month, this week, and today. Knowing what you want to accomplish helps you decide where to allocate your time because you don’t have time to do everything. Go to your local public library and check out a time management book like “7 habits of highly effective people” by Covey and read it. After reading it, DO it! Write down your goals for the year! Now break those down into little chunks. Now make your goals for THIS week. When you are waiting for the spaghetti noodles to cook, rather than flipping thru Instagram, work on one of those little goals! If you want, you can watch my series on time management too.
Master money management. Does not matter if you want to be an astronaut or are happy mowing lawns for a living, you can lead a happy life if you know how to manage your money. In a materialistic society like America, the deck is stacked against you. Everything from your K-12 education to the thousands of advertisements you see each year all encourage you to consume more than you make. Problem is, this works for about one year but then your credit card is rung up to the limit and you are paying 21% interest for junk you didn’t need and could not afford. I highly recommend the website mistermustachemoney because its no-nonsense and he doesn’t try and shove expensive courses down your throat. The basics of money management are pretty simple, live under your means and save. You can also watch my playlist on financial independence or investing in real estate.
Learning to understand things from another persons perspective. This has become a lost skill as everything in America has become “us vs them” with everyone screaming and nobody listening. If you want to be successful in relationships, your career, and life you need to learn to LISTEN. Not only listen but to be able to put yourself mentally in the shoes of someone else to try and see things from their point of view. The reason this is so important is that if you can figure out what is important to them, it helps you come up with a solution that makes everyone happy. The “bible” on this subject is a book from 1936 titled “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie. There is a reason that this 90 year old book has sold 30 million copies. Check it out from your local library and change your life!
Learn to batch cook healthy meals. To stay healthy, lean, and strong requires good nutrition and if you eat at restaurants and convenience food from grocery stores, you will lose on all counts. Restaurants need repeat customers so their goal is not health and fitness but rather to make the food so addictively yummy you will overeat and come back again. Good nutrition is not taught in schools and few parents understand it so they can’t teach their kids. You need to learn about good nutrition on your own and a great place to start is by cooking some of the meals in my quick healthy meals playlist. Few people today have time to cook three meals a day from scratch which is why the meals in the above playlist are either very fast to make or are batch cooking using a big pot meals or crockpot so that you can freeze individual meal sized portions. That way, when you are hungry you can simply pull the meal of your choice out of the freezer.
Understand and use critical thinking. Back in the 40s and 50s, critical thinking skills were only necessary for engineers and scientists. Back then, “news” meant watching Walter Cronkite on the evening news on CBS giving facts without any editorial. Today, we are inundated with propaganda masquerading as news designed to manipulate our emotions for profit. ChatGPT that happily makes stuff up that sounds realistic but is total fabrication. Websites post fake news. Fitness, politics, fashion, does not matter as they all use manipulation to make money. If you master critical thinking you will not fall prey to their tactics. The essence of critical thinking is to gather facts (not opinions) and make your own decision about what is true. Everyone is excellent at finding logic flaws in things they disagree with, the problem is that for critical thinking, you have to be 5x more critical of what you think is true than what you “know” is wrong. Critical thinking is asking questions, lots of them. Even with “facts” and research you need to examine the motives and reliability of those providing them. The biggest obstacle is that most people do not want to critically think because it is comforting to “know” you are right about everything and everyone else is wrong. Trouble is, this mindset makes you a pawn of politicians and large corporations. If you want to live a successful life, you to cut off your puppet strings and critically think for yourself.
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