With a new year here, it’s natural to start thinking about self-improvement, new goals, and resolutions. While most people will turn their minds to physical improvement (myself included), it’s also infinitely valuable to think about the ways in which we can improve ourselves mentally. Whether the goal of our self-improvement is to grow into better men for the sake of our careers, the people we love, or just for our own peace of mind, there are some traits that often go overlooked in the quest for improvement.
These underrated life skills are worthy of pursuit. You’ll find that they always come in handy!
8 Useful but Underrated Life Skills to Acquire in 2018
1) Situational Awareness
What exactly is situational awareness? It’s simply the perception of your environment and the elements in your current situation. This trait is something that is cultivated and mastered by people like bodyguards and CIA operates. They know how to quickly evaluate people, environments, danger, and the projected outcome of any given situation. As a result, they can diffuse, deflect, and redirect outcomes to turn out in their favor. Much of situational awareness comes from being a keen observer and skilled at reading body language.
2) Emotional Intelligence
I’ve talked about emotional intelligence before (EQ) and its impact on our personal and professional lives. More than just being able to understand other people’s emotions or empathize, it’s the ability to understand and articulate what you yourself are feeling. Emotional intelligence is key to effective communication and managing your emotional responses, particularly when it comes to volatile emotions like anger.
People tend to be of two minds when it comes to intuition and the idea of “going with your gut.” They either think it’s a horrible idea or it’s the best idea. What works best is a combination of trusting your intuition and past experiences when faced with a decision. Instead of always looking for the advice of others to make the decision for you, sometimes you need to listen to yourself.
Commitment seems to be a dying virtue. Whether it’s committing finishing a job, working through a tough spot in a marriage, or sticking by a friend, we just wrestle with really committing. It’s tough—especially when it can hurt us. There’s no denying that. But there’s always a great deal of reward for us when we do stick by our commitments—whether it’s in a stronger relationship, a better reputation, or the satisfaction of finally seeing the results that pay off.
We all love to have our work recognized. We enjoy being praised. But we don’t always do the best job of recognizing others when they do good work. Recognizing others takes observation and an intentional effort. It can be a kind word or even in a gift. We can recognize employees, our spouse, and even our children. It can be a simple “thank you,” “I’m proud of you,” or a “good job.”
When we take the time to praise the hard work that the people in our lives do, they’re going to be encouraged to continue that good work.
6) How to Cook
Every man should know how to cook. Period. There is no excuse to be reliant on microwave meals and takeout if you were left home alone for more than 12 hours. Know how to boil pasta, make rice, cook various types of meats, and cook various vegetables. Keep some recipes in your back pocket.
7) General “Handyman” Skills
We don’t value being handy until something breaks. But boy! We sure wish we were when we get the bill. Particularly when it comes to a need for quick-fix emergency repairs, it’s important to know the basics of home appliances and fixtures. How does a toilet work? How do I change out a fuse on the circuit breaker? How do I shut off my water? Change my oil? A tire? Basic maintenance and repair skills are so valuable to have without relying on an internet search in a moment of crisis!
Lastly, I encourage the life skill of decisiveness. The ability to make an executive decision. Too many times we get stuck when we want to please everyone or stuck in analysis paralysis. Sometimes decisions just need to be made and we need to be decisive. Not only that, but once that decision is made, we need to stick to it (within reason, of course)!
This year, as you think about resolutions and life changes, I hope that you will be decisive. Best of luck in becoming a better version of you!
What’s one resolution you’re making this year? Let me know in the comments.