10 life skills you weren’t taught in school but absolutely need

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Have you ever thought about how school teaches us so many things, but not always the things we need the most in everyday life?

We learn a lot about math, science, and English, but what about things like managing our money or dealing with stress?

We’re not saying that what we learn in school isn’t important. It is! But there are also some big life skills that schools often forget to teach. When was the last time you used algebra to figure out how to pay your bills or a history lesson to handle a tough day at work?

So here we are, ready to share ten super important life skills that you might not have learned in school. But trust us, these skills are going to help you a lot in your daily life.

Ready? Let’s get started!

1. Budgeting and Money Management

Let’s face it, managing money can be tricky! It’s not just about earning a paycheck; it’s about knowing how to spend and save it wisely. Unfortunately, schools rarely teach us this critical skill.

The basics of budgeting include understanding your income, tracking your expenses, and planning your savings. It’s about deciding what you need versus what you want. Do you really need that latest smartphone, or would that money be better off in your emergency fund or retirement account?

Learning how to manage your finances will help you avoid debt, prepare for unexpected costs, and secure a more comfortable future.

You don’t have to become a financial guru overnight. Start small, maybe by setting aside a little from your income each month.

2. Effective Communication

Communication is key in all aspects of life, but it’s not always about using big words or giving fancy presentations. Effective communication is about expressing your thoughts clearly and listening to others carefully. And no, most schools don’t offer a class on that.

Whether you’re in a job interview, talking to your boss, or having a discussion with your friend, good communication can make all the difference. It’s about being clear, concise, and respectful. It’s also about understanding body language and non-verbal cues. 

Practicing effective communication can help you avoid misunderstandings, build strong relationships, and succeed in your personal and professional life. You can start improving this skill by being more mindful during your conversations. Pay attention to your tone and body language, listen attentively, and give thoughtful responses.

3. Time Management

Time management is one of those skills that we all wish we were taught in school. It’s all about organizing and planning your time to get the most out of your day.

Sounds simple, right?

Well, it’s easier said than done.

Let me share a personal experience. I remember when I first started working after college, I found myself constantly overwhelmed with tasks. Deadlines were missed, work piled up, and stress levels skyrocketed. That’s when I realized that knowing how to manage my time effectively was a skill I needed to master.

I began by making daily to-do lists, prioritizing tasks based on their urgency and importance. I also learned to break bigger tasks into smaller, manageable parts and set realistic deadlines for myself. Taking regular short breaks also helped me maintain my focus throughout the day.

Learning to manage my time not only improved my productivity at work but also balanced my personal life. I found time for hobbies, exercise, and relaxation.

The best part?

Less stress and more accomplishment. 

4. Basic Cooking Skills

This one might surprise you but knowing how to cook is an essential life skill that many of us were never taught in school. It’s not about becoming the next MasterChef, but knowing how to prepare a few simple, nutritious meals can make a big difference in your life.

And also, people who cook at home tend to have healthier diets. They consume fewer calories, sugar, and unhealthy fats compared to those who eat out frequently.

Cooking at home not only benefits your health, but it can also save you a lot of money. Plus, it’s a creative process that can be quite therapeutic. So why not grab a recipe book or follow an online tutorial and whip up something delicious? You might just discover a new passion!

5. Empathy and Understanding Others

Empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of others, is a life skill that often goes untaught in classrooms. Yet, it’s a trait that can transform our relationships and the world around us.

In a world filled with diverse people and perspectives, empathy allows us to connect on a deeper level. It’s about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, feeling their joy, their pain, their fears and hopes. It’s about recognizing that we all have our struggles and triumphs, our highs and lows.

Empathy can mend bridges, heal wounds, and bring us closer as human beings. It encourages kindness, understanding, and mutual respect. In a world where you can be anything, be empathetic. Trust me when I say that it can make all the difference.

It’s not about agreeing with everyone or solving their problems; it’s about understanding where they’re coming from. It’s about listening with an open heart. So the next time someone opens up to you about their feelings or experiences, take a moment to really listen and understand. It might just change the way you see the world.

6. Self-Care and Mental Health Awareness

Now here’s something that definitely wasn’t on our school syllabus but should’ve been – understanding the importance of self-care and mental health.

I remember a time in my life when I was juggling between a demanding job, a challenging personal situation, and trying to maintain a social life. My stress levels were through the roof, and I was constantly anxious and tired. I kept pushing myself, thinking it was just a phase and things would get better.

It wasn’t until a close friend pointed out that I was neglecting my mental health, that I realized how important self-care is. I started taking small steps towards caring for my mental wellbeing. It could be as simple as taking out 30 minutes a day to read a book, go for a walk, or just sit quietly with my thoughts. I learned to say ‘no’ when things got too much and started prioritizing my mental peace.

Everyone’s self-care routine will look different, and that’s okay. The key is to understand that it’s okay to take time for yourself, to rest and recharge.

7. Handling Failure

Let’s get real here, folks. We all fail. And it hurts. It really does. But guess what? That’s totally okay.

School often teaches us to fear failure. We’re led to believe that making a mistake is bad, that getting an ‘F’ is something to be ashamed of. But life? Life doesn’t work that way.

In the real world, failure isn’t a full stop; it’s a comma. It’s a pause, a moment to reflect, learn, and bounce back stronger. It’s not about how many times you fall but how many times you get up and keep going.

Life will knock you down more times than you can count. You’ll fail at jobs, relationships, personal goals- heck, sometimes you’ll even burn your toast in the morning! But every time you fail, you learn something new about yourself and the world around you.

So don’t fear failure, embrace it. It makes us human, it makes us grow. Remember, every successful person out there has failed at some point. What sets them apart is their ability to learn from those failures and keep moving forward.

8. Problem-Solving Skills

In school, we learn to solve math problems, science equations, and history mysteries. But in life, the problems we encounter are a bit more complex and don’t come with a textbook solution.

Here’s an interesting fact: According to a study by the World Economic Forum, complex problem-solving is one of the top skills required for the jobs of the future. Why? Because life is unpredictable. We often find ourselves in situations that demand quick thinking and innovative solutions.

Problem-solving skills involve understanding the problem, brainstorming possible solutions, evaluating the pros and cons, and then implementing the best solution. It’s about being resourceful, thinking critically, and making decisions under pressure.

Whether it’s fixing a broken appliance, resolving a conflict at work, or finding a way to manage your busy schedule, problem-solving skills come in handy.

9. Cultivating Healthy Relationships

Building and maintaining healthy relationships is a skill that we certainly don’t learn in school, but it’s one of the most important aspects of our lives.

I remember when I was younger, I used to think that having a lot of friends equaled happiness. But as I grew older, I realized it’s not about the quantity but the quality of relationships that truly matters.

Healthy relationships, be it friendships, romantic relationships, or family ties, are about mutual respect, trust, understanding, and communication. It’s about being there for each other during tough times and celebrating together in joyous moments. It’s about recognizing boundaries and appreciating differences.

I’ve learned that it’s important to surround myself with people who uplift me, respect me, and accept me for who I am. And equally important is being that person for others in my life. Healthy relationships nourish your mental and emotional well-being and contribute significantly to your happiness.

10. Accepting Change

Change is a part of life. It’s inevitable and constant. Yet, somehow, we’re never really taught how to deal with it.

Here’s the thing: Change can be scary. It can make you feel uncertain, anxious, and out of control. Whether it’s moving to a new city, starting a new job, or ending a relationship, change can shake your world.

But guess what? Change is also exciting. It opens new doors, brings new opportunities and helps us grow. It pushes us out of our comfort zones and challenges us in ways we never imagined.

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Justin Brown

Justin Brown is an entrepreneur and thought leader in personal development and digital media, with a foundation in education from The London School of Economics and The Australian National University. As the co-founder of Ideapod, The Vessel, and a director at Brown Brothers Media, Justin has spearheaded platforms that significantly contribute to personal and collective growth. His deep insights are shared on his YouTube channel, JustinBrownVids, offering a rich blend of guidance on living a meaningful and purposeful life.

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