Life Skills Everyone Should Know

See also: Emotional Intelligence

As children develop, they don’t just grow physically, they also grow mentally and emotionally. While not everyone has the same kind of upbringing when it comes to cultures, rules, or family members, we all learn by example and through personal experiences, and that’s what is important.

This is how we develop the majority of skills that are necessary to survive in the world as an adult and become successful.

However, learning is only one part of the process. In order to truly feel like a well-rounded person and thrive in every aspect of life, polishing these necessary skills is how you can make it happen.

Thinking Critically and Brainstorming

Everyone learns from an early age how to use their minds and then are able to think their way through difficult situations. Life isn't always black or white, especially when it comes to growing up. Life situations are constantly evolving and, because of that, there are new problems that require new solutions where you learn as you go.

Critical thinking is one of those skills you can never truly polish; there's always room for improvement no matter what age you are. Every problem is unique and can require a very different approach when compared to the last one. Being able to assess a situation and find a resolution needs to start when you're small.

Practicing Empathy and Sympathy

It’s astonishing how many people confuse empathy with sympathy. Showing empathy means that you understand how another person feels. You may have been in their position before and can relate as if you're going through it again. Sympathy is when you feel badly for someone or the situation they're experiencing. While you might not have gone through the same thing, you want to make things better.

The world may be constantly changing, but it can also be harsh at times. And it's because of this harshness that some people may choose to feel less empathy or sympathy for others. And as unpleasant as that sounds, you can’t change people. What you can change is yourself and the way you treat people. Showing empathy comes naturally for most people, however, others may need a little help.

In some situations, all you can do is provide comfort and support during a difficult period. But empathy is more than just a few pats on the back. You need to be open and willing to listen to the person suffering.

Here are ways you can train yourself to be more empathetic to others:

  • Use it as an opportunity to increase your comfort zone

  • Speak from the heart, not your mind

  • Think about the situation and what it would mean if you were involved

  • Acknowledge the severity of the situation

  • Ask new and genuine questions

  • Leave your bias behind

  • Offer any assistance you can

When it comes to being sympathetic, it’s not just saying “Yeah, I know how you feel.” or “If I can get over it, you can too.” If you’re able to relate to someone’s problem, it should be easier to comfort them and possibly help them find a solution.

Showing sympathy is almost the same as being empathetic. The one thing that separates them is knowing firsthand how they feel, making it easier to talk to them. Showing proper sympathy and empathy are skills that helps you grow emotionally. It also makes you a more trustworthy confidant as well.

Decision Making

Decision making is a skill that intertwines critical thinking. Before ultimately coming to a final decision, you need to take the time and think about the situation. Life is all about choices, and depending on the situation, the choice you make may have a significant impact on your life. A great example of this would be figuring out what the best way to pay off your student loan debt while maintaining structure with your monthly expenses.

Everyone has to pay for their monthly expenses, like groceries, bills, rent or mortgage. However, a lot of people may have hit a few bumps in the road, like student loans. While you may have gotten a lower rate due to your private lender, you may have multiple forms of student debt. A private student loan consolidation can help with this as it lets you lump everything together. Doing so can make paying off your debt easier while giving you some breathing room for your other expenses. In addition to critical thinking, you also need a solid financial plan. When it comes to paying off debt, you need to have short-term and long-term financial goals.

The Skills You Need Guide to Personal Development

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide to Personal Development

Learn how to set yourself effective personal goals and find the motivation you need to achieve them. This is the essence of personal development, a set of skills designed to help you reach your full potential, at work, in study and in your personal life.

The second edition of or bestselling eBook is ideal for anyone who wants to improve their skills and learning potential, and it is full of easy-to-follow, practical information.


Being self-aware means knowing yourself better than anyone. It allows you see your strengths, your weaknesses, who you are as a person, what you believe in, how you feel and what ultimately drives you.

However, there’s a difference between being self-aware and being self-centered. Applying it to the topic of self-awareness, being self-centered means only focusing on your positives while completely ignoring the negatives. Some people even go so far as to believe they are the epitome of perfection, without any imperfections.

Funny enough, believing you are perfect is a flaw within itself. People who do this usually have underlying self-esteem and confidence issues. They believe that if they ignore their flaws, they don’t have any to begin with. This can lead to unsavory behaviors, like chastising others and not being able to empathize when someone needs you the most.

Here are some tips to assist you in being more self-aware:

  • Take a look at yourself from the inside

  • Ask for constructive feedback from friends and family

  • Figure out what upsets you and what doesn’t

  • Branch out and try out new things, like learning how to play a sport or writing a short story

  • Do some daily reflection

Most life skills you will learn and improve upon stem from having a good sense of self-awareness and feeling comfortable in your own skin. Once you master this, the limits to what you can accomplish are limitless. Focusing on ourselves is sometimes the best way we can help others.

About the Author

Drew is a financial enthusiast, seasoned blogger, music and sports fanatic. He enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and daughter fishing and boating. He is dedicated to his 15+ year career in the banking, mortgage, and personal finance industry.