From school and your parents to your friends, these skills are uncommonly passed down with many being left for you to discover.
You get a real sense of how much the world supports individualism through the sheer fact many people don’t bother to pass down truly helpful information. Whenever you do get blessed with some bits of information growing up, many of us have to judge the quality of the information.
It’s one of the key differences between those who thrive and those who get left behind.
The problem I have with that is whatever life-altering advice is, it fluctuates dramatically depending on many factors that are out of your control. You have to hope that you live in a decent home, have good parents, go to a good school, and meet the right kind of people.
So for those who haven’t had good odds, here are some pretty important skills that you might’ve missed out on and can pick up now.
1 How To Not Take Things Personally
One of the unfortunate parts of having a brain is that whenever something happens, we immediately think it involves us in some way. The car in traffic driving recklessly cuts you off. That video you were watching entertained you. The companies in your investment portfolio are doing well, generating you more money.
When everything revolves around you, it’s easy for us to develop an inherent bias towards that way of thinking. It’s safe for us to assume with this bias that everything that is happening to us is actually because of us.
But here’s a thought: what if some things aren’t about you? What if they have nothing to do with you at all?
This kind of revelation is hard to remember for two specific reasons:
First, there is that bias.
Second, it feels good for a period of time to lean into that bias.
Whenever something enjoyable happens, we think it happens to us and it makes us feel good. We think that this happens to us because we’re this good and swell person. While that’s fine, there is a price to pay for that.
This results in any kind of bad experiences also being about us. After all, if you think all good things are happening to you, all bad things must happen to you, right? So dictates your brain.
As a result, we place ourselves on a self-esteem roller coaster where we experience highs and lows based on whatever comes into our lives. From someone cutting in line to making a nasty comment or a car cutting in front of you or getting a game over in a video game. In our minds, these things that are completely out of our own control in some cases have something to do with us.
From here we position ourselves in two ways:
Whenever something good happens, we think we deserve it or that we’ve “attracted” it to our lives. It’s a result of our hard work.
Whenever something bad happens, we’re the victim who has been wronged and deserves better.
What’s persistent through those positions is the idea that we deserve something. This actually stifles our growth and potential because it goes back to a particular piece of advice you might hear about:
The world doesn’t revolve around you.
That’s true, but no one ever bothers to explain why. The true reason is that everyone is busy thinking about themselves.
Understanding that aspect is key because it ultimately leads to the revelation that when someone criticizes or rejects you, it’s more likely to be something about them rather than you. This translates into simply not caring about those small things or worrying about small hiccups.
Whenever something disrupts your flow, you’re not some failure of a human being. You’re simply someone that’s easier to disrupt in certain situations.
2 What Your Rights Actually Are
A lot of us are ignorant of what our rights actually are. For me, the first time I heard about them was when I was working for the CRA almost a decade ago. Even then, I haven’t retained them.
In America, it’s worse since many think the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution allows everyone to be heavily armed all the time. It doesn’t.
Either way, getting a better understanding of them rather than being given a crash course on them is important because it can affect the broader scope of our lives. Even though we think at times politics has nothing to do with us, we’ve become increasingly aware of how that is not the case.
People’s rights can be stripped away. Laws can be twisted in some fashions or the creation of new laws can allow some predatory businesses to be thriving and impact many people.
Politicians thrive on ignorance which is why there are so many embarrassing people or some questionable individuals running for positions of power. It’s a result of a system that’s routinely omitting details and not explaining rights in a broader scope and how it all fits in with society.
3 Knowing What You Want In Life
This one in particular is a bit of an odd one. While it is obvious since you are the only one who truly knows what you want in life, there is a lot of people that will think they know what you want and imply or force things upon you.
Maybe it’s an idea for a potential career path.
Or maybe it’s these life skills.
The thing is, this adds another layer of difficulty to realizing what you want in life and whether something is worth it for you or not. No one bothers to go into detail on how you can navigate the world and ensure that what you are pursuing is something you truly want in life.
The only way to discern that is for you to pay attention to your feelings and understand if they are genuine feelings or if you’re doing something for the sake of approval from someone else.
4 Being Persuaded And Changing Your Mind
Our belief system is believed to be a rigid system since for so many of us we have firm stances to things and treat our beliefs similar to a life vest. Whenever they are questioned, we cling to them. Even when those very beliefs are what are causing some major problems.
The thing with beliefs though is they are not just ideas that we happen to cling to. They form essential parts of our own identity. And so when things are questioned, well it comes to a point where someone is effectively questioning who you are as a person.
Since you can’t answer that at that moment, it’s easy for you to just ignore it or do anything at all to make that fact or evidence vanish from your mind.
We see this all the time in cultural issues, climate change, and politics where people firmly stand by a particular person. Hell, there are still people who support Dr. Oz for senate despite him being yet another grifter.
The thing with those topics is many people who think a certain way in those fields are set in their ways and that this belief forms a part of their identity.
They could be the smartest person in the world and yet think climate change isn’t real even though there is an abundance of science to prove it’s real and that we’re causing it.
But the thing about this structure is that it doesn’t always have to apply to the larger scope of things. These beliefs can affect us on an individual level. Some examples are:
A sign that you are successful or to be taken seriously is if you have a good car (or a car in general). This affects how you see other people and what you deem as who has their life sorted.
In order to be loved, you need to be someone of mystery and intrigue, or at least be fit and have a bunch of money and stability. This can affect whether you think you are dating material or not.
Putting your entire being into a project is bound to give you positive results all the time. This can affect your work ethic and whether you’re someone who values breaks or are fine with being a workaholic.
If you’re nice to everyone, people will like you more. This affects how you interact with people.
If you’re feeling good now about a relationship — intimate or otherwise — it’s safe to say you’ll never get in an argument with them. This affects how you behave in social settings with people.
The list of beliefs is endless but they all impact how you behave in your own story of life. The thing to keep in mind is that while some things are right, there are going to be a lot of things you’ll be wrong about.
In the end, our ability to succeed and be decent human beings is to recognize that we need to be fluid with what we believe in, to admit that we’re ignorant about some things and that we make mistakes.
The idea is to have an open mind and that’s not easy to do. You need to be entertaining the idea that certain things that contradict what you believe in are true and what that would mean in the bigger scope of things. And not everyone is going to casually question their own identity from the start.
The idea isn’t to flip-flop between different opinions constantly. It’s about recognizing valid arguments for something that you might not necessarily agree with. For example, there are a lot of people who have made a decent living from network marketing. Despite it being a predatory industry with some scummy companies, people have been able to make something good out of something awful. Beyond that, it’s about accepting when you are wrong about something and maybe hopping over to the other side if you realize you are wrong and this idea is far more valid.
5 How To Ask For Help
Because we’re so focused on ourselves, we often disregard the help from other people in various ways. In other circumstances, we have a fear of rejection or we don’t want to impose ourselves on other people.
We don’t want to be seen as a hindrance in someone’s eyes.
It’s that belief that prevents us from asking for help in things and by extension how to be asking for help when we absolutely have to. It’s for this reason why some people in the self-improvement industry say an invaluable skill is to just ask people questions.
Many will encourage just asking for something is good because in many cases, the answer is yes. They present it as some massive risk when in reality, it’s not that big of a deal.
Asking about all kinds of things is incredibly helpful because nothing grand is ever created by someone’s individual efforts. There is always someone, directly or indirectly, that enables someone else to achieve something.
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6 Acting Without Knowing What’ll Happen Next
One thing that’s made abundantly clear in life is how little certainty there is in things. From an early age, there are some predictable results. If your teacher asks you to write a paper, you do it. You do chores at home because your parents rewarded you for them. You go to work every day because that’s what your boss pays you to do.
There isn’t any question of whether that’ll happen or not. You just act and that you are expected those kinds of results.
But in other areas beyond that, there is a lot of uncertainty. There is no one telling you what is the ideal career for you to get into if you decide to change it. There is no guarantee that the person you commit to love will make you happy.
In so many aspects of our lives, it’s difficult to say with absolute certainty whether we are doing the right thing or not.
And so what do we do about that? We avoid it and develop a fear of uncertainty. We’d rather do what we know is certain or can research well in advance before taking the leap. And so our lives become repetitive and safe.
And while that can be a good thing, it can often leave us feeling worse or lost. Some of us don’t know our life’s purpose or whether we’re committing to the right person or not. Others might’ve taken a small step and made a change but are having second guesses about whether that was a good decision or not.
The thing with seeking answers in those situations is that it’s hard to find anything. It’s uncertain for a reason.
And anyone who claims to know for 100% certainty what someone’s life purpose is, what ideal partner to have, or what’s the best decision to ever make in your life is full of snake oil.
The truth is, all self-improvement gurus can make educated guesses but no one really knows what’s right for your life. It comes back to what I consider a “Purposeful life” is. It’s literally what you consider to be purposeful. I can’t give you that answer, but maybe these articles might help in some way.
What it comes down to is that you need to stop looking for answers and only acting once you see the bigger picture. In many cases, you need to get out and do things.
There doesn’t always have to be some deep philosophical reason for doing something.
Start a business because you feel like it.
Go sky diving because you think it’s cool.
Wrestle with a bear because you think that’s the most bad-ass thing in the world.
Mixing up your routine and trying something different brings a bit of chaos into your life and a certain amount of that is good. It makes for even the most simple of things exciting.
Recently I took some day vacations and I had a blast with them. This is despite the fact we spent a lot of time driving and in the end didn’t do anything that thrilling. We checked a covered bridge and did some shopping.
But when you’re stuck inside an apartment for most of the day and don’t get out much, those simple things are mind-blowing.
The point is that developing a skill to do things for the sake of sheer curiosity or mild interest in something can train you to jump into other more thrilling possibilities.
You shouldn’t be restricting yourself to only doing actions because they cross an item on a list or accomplish a goal. Sometimes going and doing other things that aren’t tied to them can be good for you.
The list of various skills is extensive and a lot of that is by design. In some cases, people want to pass down knowledge but it can get buried under a lot of other unnecessary stuff. That or it can be misinterpreted. In others, they recognize that ignorance in certain aspects can lead to others being taken advantage of.
Whatever the case may be, you know these skills now and they’re worth honing on a regular basis. And getting a grasp on them can lead to an all-around better life.
CONTRIBUTED BY ERIC BURDON
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