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Life skills are the behaviors that people need to have in order to function successfully in life. Without them, people constantly have difficulty in certain areas of their lives that never go well until they learn how to deal with them. If the skills they lack are the more important ones, people can create life-altering problems for themselves.
However, the good news is that every single skill can be learned! The trick to doing this to recognize problem areas and take steps to fix them.
Everybody already has some of these skills. Nobody has all of them, but the more you possess, the better off you will be!
I call this "packing my toolbox". The more tools you have, the easier it is to deal with the issues that come your way in life, no matter how big or small.
It is never too late to learn the basics for successful daily living. Doing so can improve your relationships, earning power, ability to find good jobs, finances and many other things.
These guidelines will help you get started.
Before we begin, look through this list to see how many of these skills you already have and which ones you might want to learn:
- write a check,
- balance a checkbook,
- justify your credit card statement,
- apply for a loan,
- open a checking account,
- open a savings account,
- figure the cost of interest,
- add figures without a calculator,
- multiply figures without a calculator,
- divide figures without a calculator,
- subtract figures without a calculator,
- organize a notebook,
- properly address an envelope,
- back a car into a parking space,
- make reservations,
- comparison shop,
- clean a house,
- cook basic meals,
- buy stocks and bonds,
- fix a flat tire,
- do an internet search,
- do research without using the internet,
- place an ad,
- respond to an ad,
- prepare a basic income tax form,
- apply for a Social Security number,
- shell an egg,
- apply for Medicare,
- peel a potato,
- write a formal business letter,
- fold a letter to match the size of an envelope,
- properly hang a roll of toilet paper,
- properly hang a towel,
- change a light bulb,
- iron a shirt,
- properly set a table,
- sterilize a needle,
- put staples in a stapler,
- put tape in a tape dispenser,
- cut and paste computer data,
- clear the cache in a computer,
- perform maintenance on a computer,
- use a flash drive or
- transfer photos from a digital camera to a computer.
There are many other items in addition to the ones listed here.
If there are things you feel you don't know how to do, find someone to teach them to you or use YouTube videos to help you.
Fill that toolbox up as high as you can!
Why Don’t People Know These Things?
There are several reasons why people never learn these skills. For example,
- They may not have seen a reason for learning some of them.
- Their parents may not have known about them or taught them to their children.
- Schools may have excluded them from their curricula.
- Students who are continually absent from school may have left themselves with learning gaps.
There is a tendency for people to believe that if you don’t know these things, you are stupid, but this simply is not true. Every one of these skills can be learned by the average person. And even some of the smartest and most educated people have never learned them!
With technology proceeding ahead at warp speed, the list of basic skills people need to succeed in life grows longer every day.
- Many doctors now have “portals,” where patients can log in online to make appointments, send messages, check test results and communicate about other issues.
- Since each doctor has his own portal, accessing them can become confusing, especially for people who don't have basic computer and internet skills.
- This situation can affect people's health because it can make accessing care awkward, slow and sometimes ineffective.
Doctors’ offices are making the assumption that all people have the equipment and skills they need to use the portals, but this is far from true.
The portals are good for the medical staff because they save time and money, but they are not so good for patients who lack the skills to use them.
Fortunately, people who don't have these skills can still call their doctors' offices, but there may come a time when phones can no longer be used for these types of communications.
Therefore, taking the time right now to learn some basic computer skills and buying the equipment you need for this purpose is a smart move.
One of the biggest problems people deal with in life is financial management.
Understanding the basics of how money works is extremely important because the lack of this knowledge can be ruinous. To gain a deeper understanding, sit down with a banker or individual who has a good understanding of how money works and ask for help.
Learning how to borrow, save and invest money is one of the best things you can do for yourself, so don't hesitate to ask for assistance.
If you don't do this, you likely will end up paying far more than is necessary and, as a result, have far less to live on!
Another extremely important skill is the ability to organize and prioritize.
Without it, life can be chaotic and cause you to lose total control.
People feel they are too busy to become organized, but what they don't realize is that once they take the time to set up a good system, they actually increase the time they have available to them.
There are all sorts of articles and videos online that show people how to organize their houses, belongings, paperwork and finances. By taking the time to use these resources, you'll find that as you work through them, you will lose the clutter and reduce your frustrations.
It is so much easier to find
- a dress in a well-organized closet than in a cluttered one,
- a tool in a garage that is properly set up or
- a condiment in a pantry that is clear of old, excess items that you never use!
The trick to becoming organized is to prioritize your needs and then attack the problem areas one at a time.
Read, learn and use the information you find to help you. If you do this, before you know it, your mess will be gone and you'll be able to see daylight again!
Health and Hygiene
It is very easy for people to ignore their health because taking care of yourself can be time consuming.
However, as my mother used to say, "If you have your health, you have everything".
When I was young, I didn't understand what that meant, but as an old lady, I now certainly do!
- brush and floss your teeth daily,
- bathe or shower daily,
- wash towels and sheets regularly,,
- get regular medical checkups,
- take your medications as prescribed,
- wear fresh clothing every day,
- wear comfortable shoes that have good support,
- avoid smoking, recreational drugs and alcohol and
- avoid risky behaviors
You are much more likely to feel and look better, suffer less and be more attractive to other people than if you did not do these things.
Everything you do (or don't do) to your body affects your overall well-being. When bad habits make you sick, you need to change them.
Far too many become addicted to various substances and ruin their lives as a result.
Imagine how many accidents could be avoided if nobody drank alcohol or used narcotic drugs and how many shootings would never take place if people's minds were not damaged by these things!
Skills Are Important
Life skills are learned behaviors that help people to deal effectively with the activities of everyday living.
Not knowing how to do some of them is not cause for shame, but refusing to take the time to learn them is a major mistake that can damage or ruin lives.
If you accept the fact that you don't have all of the skills you need in order to be more successful in life, then you should be willing to learn what you need to know.
It's important, so take steps now to learn them so that you can be happier and healthier in the future.
© 2016 Sondra Rochelle
Sondra Rochelle (author) from USA on September 05, 2016:
denise.w.anderson: Yes, but the sad truth is that the structure of the family has changed and even many parents no longer have these skills. Thus every school should teach them. They are vital to people being able to live a decent, civilized and successful life.
Denise W Anderson from Bismarck, North Dakota on September 05, 2016:
Another term for these is "Life Skills." In the public school system, it is assumed that most people know how to do these things as they learn them from their families or through their life experiences. The curriculum for students with disabilities does emphasize them, however. This particular population does not learn things readily by observation or even experience. They must be explicitly taught in a step-by-step manner.
Sondra Rochelle (author) from USA on September 05, 2016:
threekeys: I absolutely agree with you. I was a teacher in an earlier life and can tell you that parents generally spend far too much time babying and protecting their kids and very little preparing them for life. They think they are doing something good, but they bring real harm in the long run. Just look at the number of young adults these days who still live at home because they can't figure out how to support themselves and, what's worse, don't want to because they don't see the need! It's a real problem that is damaging to families as well as society. Thanks for commenting.
threekeys on September 04, 2016:
The last time I looked no one wrote a parenting manual yet being a parent is one of the most important human "jobs" one can have in their lifetime. So I think too most parents don't teach or pass onto their children about what the "real world" is really about and therefore prepare their children on how to survive. I mean parents have their own personal challenges but what they can do is just be honest with their experiences (for better or worse) so at least the child/children have some idea of what they need to do. That's the least they can do because if the "children" survive so does the family unity do better overall as well.
Great hub dreamworker.