16 Skills That Are Hard To Learn But WillPay Off Forever Your mother had most of it covered: take your vitamins, get plenty of rest, don’t stick that butter knife in the toaster… But apart from the obvious, there’s no manualfor life. Most of us fumble through life’s ups anddowns learning things as we go along.

 In theory, we know that we should be preparedfor anything. But in reality, at times we can all feel miserablyunequipped to handle all the curveballs that life throws at us. There’s nothing like being caught in a situationthat calls for one of those life skills you wish you had learned before you needed it. With that said,

 here are some skills thatare hard to learn, but will never stop paying dividends. 

Number 1 - Accountability When something good happens to people, theydon’t shy away from taking credit. But when something bad happens, they feelvictimized immediately. It’s important to develop the ability tobe accountable for your experiences - they are often a result of your actions. Sometimes actions don’t yield the desiredresults. But instead of feeling like a victim, learnfrom your actions, so that you get better results the next time.

 Number 2 - Critical Thinking We are exposed to hundreds, if not thousandsof times more information on a daily basis than our great-grandparents were. Being able to evaluate that information, sortthe potentially valuable from the trivial, analyze its relevance and meaning, and relateit to other information is crucial. This is something that’s significantly under-taught. But the truth is, good critical thinking skillsimmediately distinguish you from the rest.

 Number 3 - Decision Making The bridge that leads from analysis to actionis effective decision making – knowing what to do, based on the information available. While not being critical can be dangerous,so too can over-analyzing, or waiting for more information before making a decision. Being able to take in the scene and respondquickly and effectively is what separates the doers from the wannabes.

 Number 4 - Research Nobody can be expected to know everything,or even a tiny fraction of everything. You don’t HAVE to know everything – butyou should be able to quickly and painlessly find out what you do NEED to know. This means learning to use the Internet effectively,learning to use a library, learning to read productively, and learning how to leverageyour network of contacts – and what kinds of research are going to work best in anygiven situation.

 Number 5 - Writing Professionally There are many, many reasons why you shouldknow how to write professionally - from the basic cover letter to the customer serviceemail. Writing professionally will allow your messageto be clear, and your voice to be respected - even when you’re not speaking face toface.

 Number 6 - Consistency Whether you’re tracking a new exercise routine,or working on an important project, consistency is vital to maintaining any kind of success. People often stop working hard when they reachthe top - but to maintain the position, you have to work harder and be more consistentin your work.

 Number 7 - Communicating Your Needs Your friends, family and workmates cannotread your mind. You need to communicate your needs clearly,kindly, and even by repeating when necessary. The more you exercise the language of communication,the more humanity you will see in the world around you, and the less bitterness you willcarry in your heart.

 Number 8 - Knowing When To Shut Up Keeping your thoughts to yourself when you’reagitated is one of the most valuable skills to learn - and of course, one of the mostdifficult. Sure, it can feel good to unload on somebody,and let them know what you really think - but that good feeling is temporary.

 What happens the next day, the next week,or the next year? It is human nature to want to prove that you’reright, but it’s rarely effective. When we are angry or upset, we tend to blurtout everything that comes to mind. In some situations, it’s better to keepquiet - no matter what your personal thoughts are. For instance, when someone is too upset tolisten to anything you have to say rationally, it’s useless to respond to them.

 Number 9 - Asking For Help Or Advice Sometimes, it’s hard to ask for help, becauseyou don’t want to look incompetent. But sooner or later, everyone finds themselvesin a position where they require some help. Consider what might happen if you don’trecognize your need for help, or if you choose not to ask for any - you can end up in a reallybig mess! Asking for help or advice doesn’t mean youare weak.

 In fact, studies suggest that asking for adviceis actually well received and makes you look more capable, not less. By asking for advice, you acknowledge theother person’s intelligence or expertise, which makes them feel good.

 Number 10 - Accepting Compliments And CriticismA lot of people find it difficult to accept compliments and constructive criticism. We often fail to accept compliments with grace,or we downplay them and get embarrassed. Yet, we’re sometimes crushed by criticism,even if it’s valid - we tend to take it personally, and to heart. Learning to simply say, “thank you” whenyou get a compliment, and learning to view criticism as feedback, can serve you well.

 Number 11 - Negotiating Good negotiation skills can save you a tonof money, in pretty much every area of your life - from negotiating a cellphone contractto buying a home. These skills can also get you that raise youknow you deserve. If you know how to negotiate properly, itmeans you’re holding all the cards, and you’re prepared to battle it out.

 Number 12 - Public Speaking The ability to speak clearly and persuasivelyin front of an audience, is one of the most important skills anyone can develop. People who are effective speakers come acrossas more confident and comfortable - and they are more attractive to be around. Maybe you don’t have a job that requiresyou to speak in public, but you never know when the time may come when this skill couldreally come in handy – that big speech at your best friend’s wedding, for example. The only way to gain more confidence speakingin public, is by practicing it regularly.

 Number 13 - Tracking Your Spending Sometimes it’s easier to put everythingon a credit card, and then just hope that you’ll have the money to pay it off in areasonable amount of time. But, you may not always have the money topay off the full balance - and this is a very easy way to end up in debt. By keeping track of your spending, you’llbe able to see where most of your money is going, and how you can make adjustments movingforward. You may find that a lot of your money is goingtoward things you really don’t need, and this can be a great wake-up call to stop theunnecessary spending in its tracks.

 Number 14 - Learning A New Language There are many obvious reasons to learn asecond language. It can help you advance your career, maketraveling more enjoyable, and expand your cultural horizons. But what may not be obvious, are the cognitivebenefits that take place when you speak two or more languages! Speaking a foreign language improves the functionalityof your brain by challenging it to recognize, negotiate meaning, and communicate in differentlanguage systems.

 Understanding language is one of the hardestthings your brain does - making it the ultimate brain exercise. Thus, learning a foreign language is one ofthe most effective and practical ways to increase intelligence, keep your mind sharp, and bufferyour brain against aging.

 Number 15 - Showing Gratitude The habit of showing gratitude is a greatway to gain respect, trust, and stand out from the crowd - whether it’s by sendinga thank you note or giving a small gift. It could be for the person who interviewedyou for a new job, a trusted mentor, an old boss, or even your own parents - expressingyour gratitude goes a very long way. Showing gratitude gives you and the otherparty a chance to reflect on your relationship, and think of the positive outcomes of knowingone another - and it also makes the day of another person.

 Number 16 - Staying Present In The Moment Living in the present moment means that yourawareness is completely centered on the here and now. But, the state that we have become used to,is a state where our thoughts are either in the past, or in the future - instead of wherewe actually are, and what is actually happening. We tend to ponder over what has been, whatcould have been, and what could be or will be.

 When you learn to live in the present moment,you’ll find that your struggles and unhappiness diminish, and life will begin to flow withmore joy and ease. The best things in life may be free, but thatdoesn’t mean they won’t take time, sweat, and perseverance to acquire.

 That’s especially the case when it comesto learning these important life skills! Look at working on these skills as a journeywith endless possibilities for growth and insight, not a box to check off, so you canmove on to the next one. Remember, these skills are hard to learn,but they’ll pay off forever! What do you think? Did we miss anything? Surely there are other important skills thatdidn’t make it on this list! If you can think of any, let us know in the comments below! 

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