In this part 3 of the 60+ important life skills everyone should learn series we’ll be talking about some important stuff: social and occupational/professional life skills.
Because, I don’t know about you, but I feel like even though we as a people have evolved in many ways, some of those skills that are crucial for our human interactions are a bit lacking. (If you are super lost, and haven’t read part one and part two of this series, you can go check them out now.)
Or better yet, you can finish reading this, and use the links at the bottom of the post to check the rest. It’s up to you, really. The only reason why there’s 5 parts to this is that the post was getting out-of-control long, and so I split it.
60+important life skills everyone should learn-Part 3
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One thing I’ve noticed in recent years is that, even though there are more means of communication, it seems like communication skills are lacking.
Everwhere from TV, to radio, social media, and even on personal channels, like phone calls, or text messages, everyone seems to be either talking non-stop with no facts to back up their claims, or staying completely removed from others to the point of isolation.
Learning how to communicate your thoughts, ideas and intentions properly is essential to many aspects of your life.
Along the same lines, I think we can all agree that listening is an essential part of communication. Taking the time to actually pay attention to what others are saying is key to understanding each other, and in many cases to avoid problems or solving them.
How to vote responsibly
Note that I say vote responsibly, not just vote. This is a very important distinction. There’s an unfortunate track record or history of people voting for political parties, when they should be voting for individual candidates.
Learning how to vote responsibly then means that you need to do proper research, carefully avoiding online rags, conspiracy theory garbage, or any site that is either satire (you can find out on their About page most of the time), or sites that do not provide legit sources as part of their investigation process.
Then, and only then, can you say for sure you are voting for the candidates that honestly and truly back up their agenda, and that you think will serve your country. That’s called voting responsibly.
For some, volunteering comes naturally. It is just another part of their lives, of who they are. For others, it requires intentional actions to get them to give more of themselves to others.
Whether you are part of group one or group two, the point is, it is important to learn and use this life skill as much as possible.
In this era, where information is at our fingertips, literally, it is more important than ever to make sure we learn to do research the right way. With accessibility to so many reputable sources comes the less-cool companion: accessibility to fake, false, and less trustworthy info.
Thus, we must all learn to dig deep down for information that comes from the right sources, and not simply take it all as facts. Because, sadly, not all that can be found on the internet is the truth. Here are some little tricks to identify facts over fake:
- Wikipedia is NOT your source of irrefutable facts. Know that anyone, and I mean, ANYONE can add or remove ‘facts’ from any page there in the spirit of ‘editing’ it, which makes it less trustworthy. If you are looking to verify something small and unimportant, like the meaning of a word, then Wiki is OK, mostly. But if you want to know about a presidential candidate, historical events or what are the best remedies for an illness, avoid Wiki, please.
- ALWAYS, always, always, go to the source. Just because your sister or neighbor posted something on social media or told you something doesn’t make it true. Find out who the original poster is, or where they got the information. After that, continue digging.
- Social media is NOT a fact-checking place. Take everything you see there with a grain of salt. Unless it’s a funny cat video. Those are usually hilarious and you should enjoy them shamelessly.
- Seek professional help or guidance for the important stuff. I am all for natural, homemade remedies, but seriously, do not put your health, mental or physical in the hands of pseudo-professionals.
- Actual facts are, more often than not, backed up by genuine research, studies, and investigation. Trust. The. Processes.
Writing is a skill that can serve so many purposes. There was a time when people actually enjoyed writing and receiving letters from others. Unfortunately, that’s an almost obsolete way of communication. But writing is, and will always be a powerful tool to have.
From email composing, to texting, or interacting with others on social media, writing school papers (or typing them), writing is not only NOT obsolete. Knowing how to write properly can impact how well you communicate your point or stance.
Job application, writing a resume & cover letter
In the old days, it used to be fairly simple to just stop by a business, ask if they had any applications, fill up the application, and return it, sometimes accompanied by a resume and cover letter. Nowadays, the process is similar, but it could be a bit easier or harder, depending on your computer skills.
Regardless, unless you are a trust fund baby, chances you’ll have to look for a job at one point or another. And it is super important that you learn how to go thru the process, and have success (find a job). Here are a few important tips:
- Look everywhere. There are many places you can check but here are some examples: Craigslist, your local paper, companies websites, LinkedIn, Facebook groups, to name a few.
- Do your due diligence. No matter where the job lead comes from, always do your research to make sure the job lead is legit, and not a scam. There are tons of a-wipes out there looking to scam people.
- If you are not completely comfortable using a computer, ask for help. It could be from a family member, a neighbor, or even your local library. There are even some places that do just that, at little to no cost.
- You can find tons of templates online for a resume and cover letter. Use those resources, if you want to do it yourself. Or, again, seek help.
- Keep your resume clean, simple and to the point, unless a specific employer asks for more in-depth info. Be prepared to answer any questions about any particular point in your resume. And don’t for forget to highlight your best features.
It sometimes surprises me how some know so little about mailing letters or packages. Then I remember that most people seldom do physical letters or packages, and prefer emails or go digital, and I get over it.
However, it is important that everyone knows how to properly prepare, package, and address a letter, etc.
Here is the perfect example: a young kid (teen), whom I adore, recently sent me a Christmas card. Or he thought he did. Days later, his Mom messaged me to tell me that he had put my address in the wrong spot, and she received the card back. He is a smart kid, and she is a great Mom, but since physical mail is so rare these days, I am sure he just has very little to no experience with it.
Check out a few of the most important details to pay attention to when you mail something:
- Delivery is not immediate. You will need to make sure to mail whatever it is on time.
- The name and address of the person on the receiving end must go in front/center of the envelope.
- The sender’s (you) name & address goes in the top left hand-side corner.
- Envelopes & packages need the right amount of postage. To determine this, you need to know the weight and size.
- There are three main mailing services: USPS, UPS & FedEx. Their prices vary, and the reliability does as well. Choose what’s most convenient to you.
- By law, some articles are prohibited to be mailed. Always make sure you’re within the law, and if you’re unsure, check the carrier’s website for more information.
A second language. At least
I can’t say this enough. Knowing a second language (at least) will give anyone a leg up, and an advantage in many ways. It can seriously open up a huge world of possibilities. Learning, and encouraging our kids to learn a second language (or as many as they want) is a tremendous asset. Some examples are:
- Job opportunities
- Better experiences while traveling to other countries
- The possibility of making new and more diverse friends
- New reading material
- A bigger selection of movies, videos and/or shows to watch
- Better and more wholesome communication skills
In this day and age, where everything is done online, knowing the most basic tech skills is a must. Technology has taken a front row seat in pretty much everyone’s lives. It’s ingrained in our work, schooling, social interactions, job search, and much more.
You won’t necessarily need to know how to run and use advanced programs. But some pretty basic stuff would be very useful. Here are some examples:
- How to start and shut off the computer properly
- How to save documents AND how to recover them after
- How to run simple, basic updates to your operative system
- Basic commands for copy/paste
- What happens when you click Ctrl/Alt/Delete at the same time
- How to take a snip of your screen (a.k.a. as screenshots on our cellphones)
- How to use google for simple searches
- Where most of the keys are
- What the ‘Esc’ key is for
- How and when to use the ‘F’ keys at the top of the keyboard
- How to send a document to a printer, and verify that the printer settings are correct
- How to operate Microsoft Word or its equivalent, for document writing purposes
- How to compose an email and check your email account
Using a DSLR camera
Sometimes I miss the good ol’ days, when all you needed was to buy batteries, and film and you could take pretty cool pictures. On the other hand, the quality of the pictures you can take with a DSLR camera pretty much smokes the Polaroid instant camera my Mom had, and the 35mm she gave me as a gift when I was a teen.
In case you didn’t know, DSLR stands for ‘Digital Single-Lens Reflex’. I know it sounds fancy, but it just means that
Managing a calendar
As life skills go, this one is a pretty easy to learn one. Especially now, when most people have cellphones, and can have a digital calendar there where they can plug in their appointments and special days.
The tricky part is, getting into the habit of putting in your engagements, setting up a reminder and sticking to it. Likewise, if you like a paper calendar or planner, like myself, then you have to get into the habit of really using it every day. To get started on this habit, you might need to set up a daily reminder (alarm) on your phone to check your calendar or planner first thing in the morning. This is a very reliable way to keep up with your important stuff, so long as you have added them to your planner.
Creating and sticking to a schedule
As busy moms, we are often pulled into so many directions. We are usually torn between what we know needs to be done, and what others (a.k.a. our families) think we should be doing, usually for them.
And while emergencies, and last minute stuff happens, if you learn to create a good schedule that works for you, then you’d find that your days are less chaotic.
Hear me out on this, please. Wrapping presents is NOT a life or death or life-changing skill. However, I truly feel like everyone should learn this simple skill, even if just the very basics.
Even though there’s always the option of using gift bags, this could get expensive fast, especially during Christmas time, when most people have several gifts to wrap and get ready. Not to mention, if you never learn how to wrap a present properly, if and when you find yourself needing to do it, it will be a huge pain in the seat area.
Booking lodging, a plane trip & renting a car
Technology has become the go-to tool for booking lodging, buying plane tickets, and renting cars. But with the pretty much limitless options out there, doing any of these can get confusing fast.
It is important then, that you become familiar with how those processes work, how the websites are set up and most importantly, how, when, and where to go to maximize savings.
I might not agree with many things Dave Ramsey preaches about money, but I can agree with this: buying additional warranty coverage is unnecessary and useless. However, most products, especially the expensive ones, already come with some sort of warranty. And that is what you should get familiar with.
When making any purchase that includes a warranty, make sure you read the terms from top to bottom. This will help you know exactly what is covered and under what circumstances it wouldn’t be covered. That’s the best way to avoid surprises, if the time comes when you need to use the warranty. Also, keep all your warranty paperwork organized and accessible. That way if you do need it, you know exactly where to look for it.
60+ important life skills everyone should learn-Part 3
Got scroll happy? Here’s the gist: there are some very important social and occupational life skills everyone should learn. In this post, I covered the ones under Social & Occupational/professional category. Here are those skills:
- Effective communication
- Voting responsibly
- Job hunting (resume, cover letter, job application)
- A second language, at least
- Basic technology
- Using a DSLR camera
- Managing a calendar
- Creating & sticking to a schedule
- Wrapping presents
- Booking lodging, a trip & renting a car