10 Core Life Skills

See also: Transferable Skills

Life skills is a term used to define a variety of abilities that allow us to handle day to day issues effectively. Whether it’s learning how to problem solve, making decisions, or mastering the art of communication, life skills can broaden your mindset and help you in both your personal and professional endeavors.

No matter your age, gender, location, or situation, here are 10 core life skills that everyone should learn and master.


Creativity is regarded as one of the most important life skills you can possess. Not only can being creative help you to become better at problem-solving, creativity enables you to see things from a different perspective. Whether it’s in your personal life or at work, creative thinking allows you to think outside the box, come up with fresh ideas and strategies, and helps you deal better with uncertainty. Some other benefits of creativity include that it:

  • Allows you to express yourself openly and honestly
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Gives you a sense of purpose
  • Promotes thinking and problem-solving
  • Leads to feelings of pride and accomplishment

Problem Solving

Another beneficial life skill to learn and master is problem-solving. Important to organizations and individuals, problem-solving allows us to take control of our environment. Figuring out the root cause of a challenge and fixing it can provide a great deal of satisfaction and accomplishment. Throughout life, there will be many obstacles that you must face and overcome, so learning how to problem solve can help you to:

  • Test your aptitude for analyzing information and assessing situations
  • Come up with new strategies to overcome a problem
  • Boost your self-esteem and ability levels


Effective communication is a life skill that will carry you far both in your personal and professional life. Throughout your life, you will encounter people from all walks of life, so knowing how to actively engage can help strengthen relationships, improve productivity, and establish trust. Other benefits of communication skills include:

  • Creating better workplace relationships
  • Helping you stay organized
  • Contributing to higher self-esteem
  • Helping you build a successful family unit
  • Giving you the ability to participate in society


Understanding the power and value of leadership is an important lifelong learning skill that can have a huge impact on other people’s lives. A leader not only takes control, but knows how to motivate, inspire, and empower others. To be a successful leader, you need to see the best in those around you and teach them to believe in their worth. Leadership can benefit every area of your life, helping to:

  • Give you greater confidence
  • Strengthen communication skills
  • Develop character
  • Build trust

Leadership skills can be learned through experience and education.

Critical Thinking

Being able to think critically is crucial for future success. Thinking responsibly, productively, and independently can help in every aspect of life. Thinking systematically and clearly helps improve the way that we express our thoughts and ideas. Some of the most important benefits that you can gain from critical thinking include:

  • Helping you to make better decisions
  • Making you happier
  • Improving relationships
  • Ensuring your opinions are educated and well-informed

Critical thinking also allows you to see beyond cultural norms and be open-minded to those around you, helping you to learn and understand other factors that can influence other individuals’ decisions.


Self-awareness refers to your ability to recognize or be aware of your emotions, beliefs, behaviors, and motivations, among other characteristics including your strengths and weaknesses. Self-awareness is a crucial life skill as it gives us a better knowledge of who we are, how we experience ourselves, and what makes us unique and different from other individuals. Once you become self-aware, you will be able to make lifestyle changes that will help you think more positively. Some of the key benefits you can gain from self-awareness include:

  • Strengthened communications
  • Enriched emotional intelligence
  • Greater listening skills and empathy
  • Enhanced leadership capacity and capabilities

Time Management

Good time management enables you to achieve more in a shorter time scale, which leads to more free time. When entering the workplace in particular, there will be deadlines that you must adhere to in order to flourish in your role, so knowing how to work well under pressure, being able to focus, and staying organized can reduce stress levels and keep you on track. There are several time management tips which can help, such as:

  • Prioritizing wisely
  • Taking regular breaks
  • Removing non-essential activities
  • Planning ahead
  • Setting goals correctly

Coping with Stress

In life, it’s inevitable that we will go through stressful moments. Whether it’s waiting to hear back from a job interview, moving home, raising a family, or getting married, stress levels will naturally rise and may hinder your way of thinking. How you cope with stress throughout life can be the difference between overcoming an obstacle and falling at the first hurdle.

There are lots of strategies that you can implement in your daily routine to keep you calm, such as meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises. In addition to the tips listed, you should also:

  • Take care of your body
  • Speak to others
  • Recognize when you need support

Alongside stress, how you deal with your emotions is just as important. A death of a loved one, or going through a divorce can stop you in your tracks, so having a good support network around you and being able to openly communicate your thoughts, feelings, and emotions will help reduce stress levels.


Being assertive means you operate from an angle of respect and equality. Assertiveness allows you to respect your own thoughts, rights, beliefs, and values, while respecting the rights and opinions of others. Being assertive can help you to:

  • Create honest relationships
  • Gain confidence
  • Earn respect from others
  • Gain more job satisfaction


In addition to being assertive, it’s vital that you have empathy for those around you. Understanding how others are feeling and showing compassion and support can help you respond appropriately. Whether it’s checking in with a loved one, or showing concern for somebody at work, being empathetic allows you to build trust and eliminate conflict with others.

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide to Life

The Skills You Need Guide to Life

This two-part guide is an easy-to-read summary of the essential skills you need for a healthy mind and body.

The first eBook, Looking After Yourself, covers some of our most popular content and will help you to live a happier, healthier and more productive life.

The second eBook, Living Well, Living Ethically, considers how you can live your best life all the time. It helps you to answer the question: how can I avoid having too many regrets about my life?

A meaningful life is achieved through self-awareness, mental wellbeing, and core skills that can help in each aspect of life.

About the Author

James Daniels is a freelance writer, business enthusiast, bit of a tech buff, and an overall geek. He is also an avid reader, who can while away hours reading and knowing about the latest gadgets and tech, whilst offering views and opinions on these topics.