The Essential Skills Every Successful Person Should Have
In essence skill is doing the stuff you do well. Following this principle this is a list of skills which we all do, that are important to any person in any field or occupation.
Some skills are specialized to a specific field, so if you’re not an aerospace engineer you probably won’t need to know much about fluid dynamics. However, there are some skills, no matter you’re occupation or inclination, which every person should take the time to master. Listed below in no specific order are the skills which I believe fall into the second category.
While reading this list try to focus on one, maybe two of these skills which could be improved in your life, and then design a plan for how you plan on improving them.
Ready? Either way, lets begin.
Speaking Effectively – Does your voice sound like a chainsaw without enough oil, or like a small bird chirping from a tall tree. Perhaps your cadence is off and every other word makes it sound like you’re about to sprint to the bathroom. Whatever you’re style is, it can probably be improved. Take action. Speak in your mirror and find a pleasing tone and method of speaking. Mastery of this skill comes when you can find an appropriate voice and style for any and every situation.
Communication – Do people often give you weird looks when you’re speaking? Do you find conversations sort of just end… awkwardly. Perhaps you can never work up the courage to speak to a romantic interest because “I don’t know what to say”. Communication! Learn it. Its probably the so valuable skill on this whole list. You’re always communicating, through body language, words, handshakes, actions. Everything communicates something to someone. So take advantage of this undeniable fact and learn how to do it well. Mastery of this skill comes when people consistently understand what you’re actually trying to say and understand who you are through the way you say it.
Proper Writing – Can you write an email? How about a newsletter? Or even a birthday card for your grandmother. Whatever the case may be, there are appropriate ways of writing in every situation and you should know what these are. If you’re often using slang in your emails, or find yourself treating your grandmothers card like an email to an annoying coworker you could use some work on this skill. Mastery of writing is knowing what and how to say in any situation you find yourself in.
Personal Finance – This isn’t about paring down your finances to such a state that you only have one expenditure a month, its about knowing how much money you have, and how much you will have. If you need a coffee in the morning to be productive, get it. Don’t be so spartan with your finances that you never spend the money to enjoy yourself and have some adventure. Just be aware of what you can and can’t afford and of the state of your finances. Mastery of this skill is a consistent awareness of the state of your finances such that you can make any financial decision, big or small, without needless wasted time. As well it means when you make a purchase you can feel confident about what that purchase means for your finances.
Getting organized – Is your desk a mess? Do you find yourself losing things; ideas, paperwork, contact info. Maybe you’re just waiting for the right tool to come along or for the right day to fix all this. Todays the right day, as it always is. Get organized, you’re never going to look at a clean desk or organized computer filing system and think “damn I wish this all this info wasn’t so apparent. Unless you’re hiding porn, then bury that wherever you wish, although you’ll probably find as I did that cutting porn from your life makes you a happier, more productive person. To master this skill is to know offhand where every file, idea in your notebook, and thing is in your life.
Time Management – We all work best at certain times, and no one appreciates someone being late. Don’t over schedule yourself, because rather than accomplishing twice as much you’ll be so stressed a out always being late or just about late that you’ll be unable to focus on the task at hand. Meeting aside, maybe you don’t work best in the mornings or in the evening, maybe you slump at lunch, we all have different internal clocks. So tune in to your body and work with it, not against it. If you work best in the mornings schedule a few focus blocks in the morning and save the busy work, the email, the meetings for the afternoon. To master this skills means to get the most out of every minute of your day.
Aesthetics – Whether you believe it or not, we’re hardwired as individuals to judge based on appearances. This is why stereotyping is so ubiquitous and why people like those who we find aesthetically pleasing. This can be used to you advantage. If you look clean, healthy and overall well polished people will treat you as such, as someone worthy of their time and respect. If you’re work whatever it may be follows this principle people will regard it as such. Colours, wardrobe choices, font type etc, are all things you should be aware of and how they impact peoples perception of you and your work. To master this skill means dressing well consistently, knowing what haircuts compliment your appearance, and making sure anything you submit for others appraisal looks as good as you know it is.
Knowing yourself – What are your religious beliefs? Whats your personal philosophy? Whats your plan for the immediate, and not so immediate future? These are all things you should know. You should know where you are in your life, what your greatest and weakest attributes are. Confidence comes from surety and you’ll never be sure of your place, present and future if you don’t take the time to understand yourself. Make the effort, I promise you you’ll never be able to know yourself too well. Mastery of this skill is being able to summarize every piece of relevant info about your life, and your future on one sheet of paper off the top of your head. Good luck with this one, it takes some people more than a lifetime to get there.
This list is a work in progress and I’ll continue to update it as new ideas come to me, and based off the feedback you guys give me in the comments. Have an idea, scream it out! I’d love to get some feedback, as you guys should to while honing these essential skills.
Note: If you have an questions or need any clarification on these ideas, email me at andrew@grasping triumph.com. I’d love to chat with you about your skills or mine. I promise I’ll respond in two days (weekday or weekend at the most)