Life and Career Skills That Pay Off For The Rest of Your Life

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

The ability to expand your mind and strive for lifelong learning is more critical to your success than you think. Don’t give up on lifelong learning. Ever. Research shows that it pays beyond the skills you acquire. More than ever before, a challenged, stimulated brain may well be the key to a vibrant later life.

Every skill you acquire doubles your odds of success. — Scott Adams

Start spending time preparing for the future even when there are more important things to do in the present and even when there is no immediately apparent return to your efforts. Begin to plant seeds every day that will yield the best and most fulfilling life now and in the future.

These skills can radically improve your life. They may not seem earth shattering at first glance, but you’ll be surprised at just how much they can affect your life and career now and for the rest of your productive life.

Mental Toughness

GRIT is that mix of passion, perseverance, and self-discipline that keeps us moving forward in spite of obstacles. — Daniel Coyle

The only person that can really push you a little bit further in life is yourself. Grit is both a trait and a skill. And the good new is, you can cultivate or better still grow your grit to strive for what means a lot to you. It’s a skill that can be learned and practiced over time.

Grit is associated with perseverance, resilience, ambition, and the need for achievement. It involves maintaining goal focused effort for extended periods of time.

You can develop your capacity for grit. Your response to a challenging situation is more important the obstacle you face. Ryan Holiday says “obstacle is the way”. And you need grit to push through the obstacle every time you face a challenge.

Skill is the unified force of experience, intellect and passion in their operation. — John Ruskin

The ability to stick with and pursue a goal over a long period is an important indicator of achieving anything worthwhile in life. Grit is a better indicator of success than talent. No matter how talented you think you are, if you don’t put in the work, it will amount to nothing.


It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change. — Charles Darwin

We live in ever-changing world which is unlikely to ever slow down. So, what mattered yesterday (e.g. skill, knowledge, social circle, etc.) very much so might not be worth a dime tomorrow. Change used to be slow and incremental: now it is rapid, radical and unpredictable.

Adaptability enables us to dwell on new circumstances and stay on top of the situation. Of course, this skill is best when combined with insight, giving us fresh perspective before the change itself. Growth depends on how adaptable you are. To stay relevant, most companies will need people who can change with time.

Silencing your inner critic

“Turn down the volume of your negative inner voice and create a nurturing inner voice to take it’s place. When you make a mistake, forgive yourself, learn from it, and move on instead of obsessing about it. Equally important, don’t allow anyone else to dwell on your mistakes or shortcomings or to expect perfection from you.” ― Beverly Engel

According to research by psychologist Ethan Kross, there’s more to the idea of “your best self” than life affirmations spoken to your reflection in a mirror.

Your best shot at winning against your inner voice is to dare yourself. Start trying, creating, making something you are afraid to do. Don’t stop trying, and your inner critic will be proven wrong.

You can’t give in to the voice that wants to shut you down. You can’t give up on yourself. When you fail to identify and separate yourself from this inner critic, you allow it to impact your behavior and shape the direction of your live.

Stop looking for what’s wrong about you and everything you want to pursue, and see what’s right about you instead! Focus more on what could go right instead of wrong. When you catch yourself criticising, stop and be realistic about what can actually happen when you concentrate on getting stuff done instead of thinking about them.

Learning to say “NO”

Stop saying yes to sh*t you hate. Life’s too short to say yes to things, activities, events, and tasks you hate.

Saying YES drives most people insane, but they don’t know how to say NO. Stop telling yourself you can’t help it. Yes, you can. Stop wasting your time and energy. Especially if you work for yourself. You always have a choice. Choose your work and projects cautiously. Of course, It’s not always easy to know if the activity or task in question is worthy of a yes.

If what you are accepting to do won’t improve, enhance or make you a better person, just say NO and focus on projects that are mutually beneficial to you and the other party. Find tasks that energize you and light you up, and say yes to those instead. You will be a happy and better person in the end.

Critical thinking

“Critical thinking is a desire to seek, patience to doubt, fondness to meditate, slowness to assert, readiness to consider, carefulness to dispose and set in order; and hatred for every kind of imposture.” — Francis Bacon (1605)

The ability to actively and skillfully conceptualize, apply, analyse, synthesise, and/or evaluate information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, is of immense importance to work.

It will continue to be a huge asset to your employer. They are desirable skills you should develop. Decision making and problem solving require gathering reliable information, evaluating the information for a variety of solutions and selecting the most appropriate option based on the criteria and situation.

People who can look at problems from a different angle often end up solving them in completely unexpected, often elegant ways. At the same time, they expose how narrowly the majority had viewed the problem, or whether it even was a problem.

Creative thinkers are innovative and inventive and are more likely to devise new ways of doing things that add value to the work environment, making systems and procedures more efficient. Creative thinkers can offer new perspectives about the job and the company. And they will be indispensable in the near future.

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EI) plays a role in everything. Highly emotionally intelligent people rank high on responsiveness, empathy, listening, and self-awareness. And they excel at interpersonal interaction.

The reason emotional intelligence is so widely valued is pretty simple: “It plays a role in everything,” A.J. Marsden, a professor of psychology at Beacon College, tells Fast Company, like “task performance, contextual performance, interactions with customers and peers” — the list goes on.

People skills are so important now and will continue to be in high demand in the future. EI allows us to create relationships with others, provides insights into people’s motives and allows us to predict responses.

Any discipline that benefits from the emotional intelligence that only humans can provide will be in high demand. If you are not a people’s person, it’s not too late. You can still learn how to better relate with others. You will need soft skills to thrive in the future.

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Categorized as Life