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Want to do something cool in 2024?
One of the best ways to leverage your spare time in the upcoming year is to learn a new skill.
Just think about the most successful people in the world. Those who consistently succeed are those who are best at learning new skills.
With that in mind, there are countless things you can learn in your spare time. This list puts a number to that list and shares with you 101 valuable things to learn that will improve your life — both personally and professionally.
With this list it will not be difficult to find those new skills to learn, it will be difficult narrowing down your list of what you want to learn.
In the following article, we will cover 101 new skills you can learn (with an hour of dedicated time each day) that can dramatically improve your personal and professional life.
And if you'd like a few resources that can teach you all the skills on this page, then I recommend checking out these platforms to learn any skill.
- Masterclass (Learn from the best world's best experts. You can read the review of it here.)
- Skillshare (You can read the review of it here.)
- Udemy (You can read the review of it here.)
- Coursera (You can read the review of it here.)
Let's get to the new skills to start learning today!
Don't Have Enough Time to Read the Entire Post?
This post is pretty lengthy. So, if you don't have time to read it, then we've simplified this list into a list of courses, each teaching a great skill you can master for the upcoming year. Here are the favorites that other readers love…
|Resource||What's it about?|
| Rocket Languages|
Speak a new language with confidence
|An app that simplifies the way you learn a new foreign language|
| Become a SuperLearner|
Learn Speed Reading & Boost Memory
|Learn faster & more effectively by harnessing the skills of the world's fastest readers & memory record-holders.|
|Ted's Woodworking||16,000 woodworking plans and projects with videos|
|Piano for All||The ingenious way to learn piano and keyboard… in months.|
|The Ultimate Drawing Course |
Beginner to Advanced
|Learn the #1 most important building block of all art|
|Beginner Guitar Lessons |
|All-in-one Guitar Course With a Proven Step-by-step Learning System|
|Photography Masterclass |
Your Complete Guide to Photography
|The Greatest Online Professional Photography Class: How to Take & Sell Photos for Beginners & Advanced Photographers|
|Humor Writing||Great for Writing & Public Speaking: Learn the Techniques Professional Humorists Use to Create Consistently Funny Comedy|
|Beginner's Guide to Adobe Photoshop||Learn how to how to edit images and create graphics from scratch using Adobe Photoshop.|
|The Writer's Toolkit|
6 Steps to a Successful Writing Habit
|Turn Your Business Writing, Blogs, Books & Essays Into Masterpieces|
| Master Planning |
Plan Your Day, Week, Month, Quarter & Year
|Get the Ultimate System for Planning Your Week, Month, Quarter and Year in 60 Minutes Each|
General Skills to Learn (The FUN and USEFUL Skills)
The “general skills” are a mixed bag. They do not fall into any specific category of life skills to learn. These are the type of skills we often think of when we want to learn something new, but never invest the time and effort involved to actually learn them. (Here are some life skills worksheets to help you learn faster.)
New skills to learn can be useful, fun, and are often great at making a “well-rounded” person. Who wouldn’t like to be able to play guitar, fix a car, cook a 5-star meal, grow a lush garden, and be able to protect yourself with martial arts?
1. Speak a New Language
You've probably heard this before…
Learning a new foreign language can provide a number of amazing results in your life.
You can use language learning to:
- Travel to fun places and actually speak to locals
- Challenge yourself to learn something fun
- Advance your career opportunities
Now, the challenge with learning a new language has always been how to find the time and what learning platform to use. Well, this app can simplify your attempts at learning a language.
2. Speed Reading
How much more work could you accomplish if you were able to complete all of your required reading in one-third of the time? Or even half the time?
Speed reading is basically learning to understand the fundamental principles of the human visual system, allowing you to eliminate inefficiencies in your reading and increase the speed at which you read while also improving your retention.
Even slight improvements in reading time can save a lot of time long term. And many people report massive gains in reading speeds after building the speed reading skill.
Resource: Become a Super Learner
Also, if you'd like a quick primer on speed reading, Tim Ferriss has a quick video that teaches a few basics of the process.
3. Basic Home Repairs
I am no expert at-home repairs, but I would argue that most people should be learning the basics of keeping their own home in tip-top shape.
One of the best reasons to learn how to do basic home repairs is because having someone come out to do them for you is incredibly expensive and time-consuming. There are several resources online to help walk you through some basic home repairs, such as DIY Pete and Home Made Modern.
4. Learn How to Draw
Drawing is actually a basic skill that we were all born with. While we have to be taught to read and write, people are actually born with the natural ability to draw.
Drawing is essential for human survival because it is a form of communication that everyone can understand, no matter what language you speak. Toddlers begin drawing before they start to read or write and continue to do it throughout life.
Take a drawing course that will have you drawing like a professional in no time at all, and perfect your skill and express your creativity with drawing.
5. Basic Car Repairs
Car repairs can drain your wallet quickly, but there are a lot of repairs that you can actually do yourself if you take the time to learn new skills. Even if you don't have technical skills, you can still do things like changing your oil, fixing fuel filters, and changing alternators. This can help save you time and money.
6. Organize and Declutter Your Home
Have you heard of the Kon Mari Method of decluttering? It is currently the hottest and most popular method of home decluttering.
The Kon Mari Method was created by Marie Kondo, who owns a business in Tokyo, where she teaches her method to help people turn their homes into peaceful and inspiring spaces. It starts with discarding things that you do not need in your home anymore and then organizing what is left. Having a clean home will help you de-stress your life and live in a place that is free from clutter.
The class linked below is actually taught by Marie Kondo herself. Even if you have read her popular book, this organization training will show (in video format) many of her cleaning methods that are difficult to follow in the book. (Like her folding method)
Resource #1: How to Declutter and Organize Any Space
And here's a talk that Marie Kondo did at Google where she talks about her book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and the many benefits that come when you declutter your life.
7. Master Photoshop
Everyone should know some Photoshop basics. Learning Photoshop is an important tool if you want to work in graphic or web design or even just use it at home for your own pictures. Because it is such a valued skill, it is great to be able to add to a resume as well.
It is also important to learn Photoshop if you work in a hands-on marketing role. For example, if you create flyers, email newsletters, or brochures, knowing Photoshop will help you optimize your creations and retouch your images. Photoshop actually offers some resources to get you started.
But if you want a bit more “hands-on” training. The course linked below gives over three hours of video training that will help you master the Photoshop basics.
Resource: Beginner's Guide to Adobe Photoshop
8. Play the Guitar
Can learning to play the guitar change your well-being?
Research actually shows that the brains of guitar players work slightly differently than those of everyone else. The process and art of learning to play the chords on a guitar and read sheet music can open up new neural pathways and rewire the brain in a positive way that can lead to cognitive benefits.
If guitar playing has always been a dream, or if you are looking for a skill to build from scratch, check out this guitar training course, made for beginners, but taught by experts. It removes many barriers from learning the guitar. You will find yourself playing recognizable tunes in hours, rather than months.
Resource: Beginner Guitar Lessons
A criticism that is often heard today is that people spend too much time taking pictures of their experiences instead of living them. However, the photographs play an important role in allowing people to hold on to memories and show the rest of the world a peek into their lives while also telling a story.
Everyone should learn some photography because it provides several benefits. It is a fun hobby and can help you grow as a person by cultivating creativity. (Check out this list of other creative hobbies to take up!)
In the photography masterclass linked below, you can learn a complete guide to photography with 15 hours of training. It will teach you everything from understanding how your camera works to what gear you will need. It will also give you tips for selling your photographs.
Resource: Master Photography Skill
And if you want a quick overview of the photography basics, this video tutorial covers specific elements like ISO settings, aperture, and shutter speed.
10. Gardening: How to Grow Anything
Maybe you've tried to grow things in your garden before, but your previous results made this seem like it was not a skill you could master.
However, if you learn how to grow your own flowers, herbs, vegetables, and fruits, you can save a lot of money and have a beautiful yard to look at. Also, eating food straight from your garden is the healthiest way to get the nutrients that your body needs.
Here is a helpful video on growing your own greens to create your own healthy salads. This video will walk you through a garden tour in Southern California. Finally, take a look at this video to learn more about organic gardening.
11. Learn to Cook Like a PRO
While it is certainly one thing to be able to create a four-course meal at the last minute, it is another to be able to at least make a decent pasta dinner, a nice pot of soup, and a winning batch of chocolate chip cookies without the help from a box. Having the skill of cooking well will help you out for your entire life.
First, you will be able to know what is going into your food and therefore what is going into your body. You can control how much fat and salt goes into your dishes to create a healthy diet for yourself and your family. Also, you can impress your friends and family when you have them over for dinner, even if you just make something simple.
Lastly, you will save a lot of money eating at home versus eating at a restaurant. You can make enough food at home to have leftovers for lunch the next day and even to freeze meals for a future dinner.
To get started, try this online service that helps you plan meals based on your dietary preferences, your cooking style, the number of people in your family, and the grocery stores you frequent. In addition to giving you a weekly meal plan, it also provides a detailed grocery list.
12. Learn Piano
Learning to play a musical instrument, often a piano or guitar is on many people’s bucket list. The problem with learning these instruments is the perceived high barrier to learning the new skills of playing these instruments.
Many people have tried traditional methods of learning these skills and been turned off by the slow going of plodding through the basics and learning to play “exciting” tunes like “row, row, row your boat.
The Piano for All course is different. It starts you in with the basics and the foundations but as you learn them by playing exciting modern piano songs. With this method of learning, you will love learning how to play the piano and will want to show off your skills after only a handful of hours of lessons and practice.
13. Learn Basic Self-Defense
Nothing feels better than being confident that you can take care of yourself, whether it is mentally, financially, or physically. Being able to physically protect yourself in all situations is a reassurance that can only be gained through self-defense classes. While many people automatically think about women and children when they think about self-defense, it is really a skill for everyone.
The key is to find your favorite martial art and learn some basic self-defense skills from a class.
And if practicing martial arts isn’t something you can do at this time, then perhaps investing in a 9mm pistol and going to the range to practice would be best. Just don’t forget to have the proper hearing protection.
14. Make Your Own Furniture and Decorations
If you are like me, woodworking seems like a dream. I remember my grandfather making fancy wooden home decorations. I remember my dad building a deck to our home when I was a young boy. But everything I have tried has turned out to be a big mess. I think the woodworking gene skipped a generation with me. It is a skill I don’t seem to have.
This is why I am so intrigued by this woodworking course. It breaks the process down into simple steps and offers many detailed plans. It makes major woodworking projects seem so easy that even someone like me with zero woodworking skill might have a chance of success.
15. Master Tai Chi
Learning Tai Chi is great for your body and your mind. This practice can help alleviate natural health conditions that come along with aging and encourage people of all ages to relax and let go of nervous tension. The main benefit of Tai Chi is its ability to mitigate the effects of stress.
Learning Tai Chi imparts the six principles of flow and imparts grace and flow to the practitioner.
Find out more about this healthy form of exercise that reduces stress, builds confidence, imparts grace and strength, helps you live longer and helps your mind reach a state of clarity.
Also, if you want to learn the basics of Tai Chi, here is a great free 45+ minute video to help you learn the skill of Tai Chi from Dr. Paul Lim.
16. Perform Basic Dance Moves (For Guys)
Guys, how embarrassing is it to go out to a club and try to impress some ladies and then find yourself completely unconfident and timid on the dance floor?
I have been there.
Trying to do some fancy moves – but only looking like a spastic monkey. Or even worse, sitting on the sidelines, afraid to embarrass me.
You do not need to be a master dancer to go out and meet people and have fun. But having a few good moves in your back pocket will go a long way toward helping your confidence. That is why I think basic dance moves can be an important skill to learn.
To get started, here's a funny (but helpful) video on how to not dance like a dork.
Resource: A Beginners Guide to Hip Hop Dance Moves
17. Become a Reader
This is one skill I would say is the most important of all the skills on this list. When you read, even if it is just fiction, you learn and expand your worldview. You visit places you may never see and learn about skills you might otherwise never take the time to learn.
Get in the habit of reading through things. Articles, blurbs, drafts, books, and volumes of material are all worthy of your time.
How good quality the information is directly proportional to how informative what you read is. Reading comic books, for instance, is worthwhile, but not as good as reading a good non-fiction text on a subject you are interested in.
My personal rule. Read one nonfiction book for learning for every fiction book I read for fun. And if you want a quick way to digest lots of books, try this app that provides detailed book summaries that only takes 10 minutes of your time.
18. Change a Flat Tire
Flat tires are either silly inconveniences or serious issues. The difference between the two is often in the ability to fix them quickly.
Even with improvements in tire technology and “run flat” tires, everyone gets a flat tire from time-to-time. And, of course, Murphy's Law will make sure those flat tires come at the most inconvenient time possible.
Don’t rely on a car service to fix your change your flat tires. It is a very easy process and keeps you from being reliant on others.
Plus learning the skill of changing your own flat tires may save you a few dollars in expenses.
Resource: How To Change A Flat Tire
Prefer a visual walkthrough?
Here is a quick video that shows the basics of changing a flat tire.
19. Gain the Skill of Humor
You're trapped on a desert island with two people. One is annoying, and one is funny. Just about everyone would prefer to be stuck with the guy with a good sense of humor while leaving the annoying one back at camp.
The ability to be humorous is rooted in the ability to recognize absurdity, chance, circumstance, tonality, language choice, and emphasis. These are all powerful skills independently, but together, they form the basis of humor.
When you are able to use humor effectively in writing, speech, and socially, you will find yourself a sought after commodity, like the last hamburger stand before you get to an all-vegan community.
Resource #1: Humor Writing: Write Funny for the Internet
Resource #2: 15 Hilarious Ways To Be Funny
20. Jump-start a Dead Battery
Someone on this planet, at this very second, has a dead battery. What's worse is that they probably don't even have jumper cables. A dead battery is not as easy to fix as a flat tire because it inherently requires another person. (Unless you have one of the new battery powerpack jumper cables.)
But what if the other person only has the battery to offer? Or doesn't really know how to set up the cables either? Will you be ready to affix the cables, go through the motions and get your car up and running? Or will you be left at the roadside?
This is another simple skill that every single adult should know.
And here's a quick video tutorial on how to jump start a car.
21. Learn to Start a Fire (Anywhere)
When you are in the wilderness, one of the most important resources is fire. You need fire to purify water. You need it for warmth. You need it to scare off wild animals.
Most people think that starting a fire from scratch is a difficult skill to learn — something to daunt survivalists with years of learning experience.
Well, most people would be wrong. Starting a fire from scratch is painfully simple. With nothing more than friction, airflow, kindling, and a mass to hold the flame.
Resource: 9 Ways To Start a Fire Without Matches
And here is a video that has fourteen ideas for starting a fire without matches.
22. Survive A MAJOR Crisis
Starting a fire without matches is probably about the limit of my personal “woodsman” skills. (and I am admittedly slow at making fire).
I know I am woefully unprepared for any sort of major worldwide crisis. But like with most things, there is training I can take to get the training I need in case the unthinkable happens.
I am an optimist. I don’t like to think about, and generally don’t believe, any doom-and-gloom prophecies of the world (as we know it) coming to an end due to currency crisis, war, chemical/nuclear/biological attacks, unnatural weather phenomenon or any other disaster situations. But the fact remains that there are many nasty ways the world could change for the worst in minutes.
I don’t think it will ever happen. But it would be nice to have some understanding of what to do and how to help my family to survive if the unthinkable and unbelievable ever happened.
23. Sewing, Stitching and Patching
Learning to sew, stitch, and patch is an excellent skill because it is as diverse as it is useful. While it's been typically considered feminine, there's nothing feminine about saving an expensive pair of pants from destruction.
The short course below will teach you the basic skills of sewing, using sewing machines and even a few advanced techniques to set you toward the next level of sewing.
24. Meet and Attract a Perfect Life Partner
Most people want to find love at some point in their lives.
However, it can sometimes seem impossible to find that perfect soulmate. They are out there, but you have to be able to have the confidence and social skills to be attractive to them when you first meet them.
If you are shy or have some doubts with your self-confidence, but it is important to learn how to overcome these things if you want to be able to put yourself out there and meet someone special. Learning how to meet and attract a perfect life partner is important for many people in the quest to live a fulfilling life.
or social anxiety hold you back from meeting that “perfect someone,” the training below will be a surefire, “must-have.”
Resource #2: 35 Places to Meet New People
Resource #3: 371 Deep Questions to Ask to Know Someone Deeply
25. Perform the Heimlich Maneuver
You're in the middle of a crowded restaurant, and a man is choking on his dinosaur chicken nugget. Not only is he embarrassed to be eating chicken dinosaurs, but he might also die.
His only hope is that someone knows the Heimlich around him. The technique is simple, and anyone can learn it with a little bit of care and research.
This is a skill that every single adult should not only know but have practiced it until it is second nature. Learning this skill just might save a life.
Resource: Choking: First Aid
And here's a quick video that shows the basics of performing the Heimlich maneuver.
26. Perform CPR
CPR is another skill that every adult should not only learn but have practiced many times. The time to learn this skill is not when it is your child or father needing CPR but in your own free time.
CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is the simple art of knowing how to jump-start someone's heart and lungs with a little bit of your own air and chest compressions. This is an absolute must-have skill in emergency situations, and it's one of the first things that professional emergency medical transporters are taught.
It is also an easy skill to learn, but the potential payback is immense. Learning this new skill could easily keep a loved one alive until the first responders arrive.
All the skills to learn are not fun things like learning to play guitar, speed cup stacking, or learning a new foreign language. Some of them are far more useful skills than that.
For example, you are learning how to learn. When you learn the intricacies of how to learn, every skill or bit of knowledge learned thereafter just a little bit more quickly and easily, due to the fact that you fully understand the process of learning new skills.
Many of the mental skills to learn are like this. They build on essential skills that will help you learn more, do more, achieve more or generally succeed in life.
Want to learn how to improve your learning? Check out my book: Novice to Expert
27. Ask the Right Questions
The first and most significant mental skill any human being can learn in their lives is knowing how to ask the right questions. Many people seek answers for questions they have never even asked. When we ask ourselves the right question, we cut away any chance of wasting our precious time seeking that which is not what we truly need.
A great way to develop this skill is to constantly ask yourself the following:
- What is the best question I could ask myself?
- How do I get what I want?
Resource: How to Ask Better Questions
28. Find What Interests You and/or Your Passions
It's a shameful thing to start a conversation if you're not truly interested anything. You deny all of your listeners your better self. Likewise, it's a shameful thing not to act, work, and behave in ways that genuinely interest you. It won't be the real you if you don't really care.
This is why it is important to truly care about your work, relationships, success, your future, and the rest of the laundry list. Find things in life that hold your attention and that you ENJOY doing.
“Having passion” for the things you do may be a bit trite… but it is true. If you really get behind the things you do, then keeping up the learning process for new skills will not be a chore, but something that you actively pursue.
Resource #2: Discover Your Passion
Resource #3: 5 Steps to Discover Your Life Purpose
29. Utilize Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is the ability to chances of success and understanding by using a higher level of thought. Critical thinking is a mass mix of separate skills that all come together to form thought processes that lead to better results.
Critical thinking is a magnificent tool for achieving higher success, and you can easily improve your results in life by simply being aware of what it's like to think critically.
30. The Skill of Mindful Living
I consider mindfulness a “mental” skill, but it touches on many aspects of our lives. It decreases stress, helps reduce suffering from many pains and illness, and can help us feel healthier, happier, and fitter due to the mind-body-spirit connection it fosters.
In short, mindfulness means paying extreme attention to the things you do. Since our world is a busy place and it is hard to be 100% mindful about all things 24/7/364. Mindfulness is usually broken down into specific activities where you pay extreme attention to what is going at specific times, such as “mindful eating.” (If you'd like to learn more about it, then here are 71 mindfulness exercises.)
This is the perfect example of mindfulness as a whole. When you eat mindfully, you do so slowly. You savor the taste and the flavors. Try to discern what ingredients which were used in the cooking process while reflecting on both the heat of the food on your tongue and the crispy “feel” of the food.
Want to learn more details about mindfulness and how you can become more mindful? Why not check out some books I have written with my writing partner Barrie Davenport.
Resources: Our Mindfulness Books and Journal
31. Be Comfortable With Change
If your life sucks, it's pretty obvious that you're going to want it to change. Likewise, if it's amazing, you're going to want it to either stay the same or get more amazing.
Both of these scenarios present the potential for change. Why fear it if you're going to want it for the rest of your life potentially?
Change. Specifically, habit change is right in my wheelhouse. I have written dozens of article about how to make a positive change in your life by changing your habits.
There are many ways to go about changing your habits. Some will have extra steps than the skill resource below. Other may have some additional steps. But at its core, all effective change boils down to following the 8 steps below.
Resource: How to Form a New Habit (In 8 Steps)
32. Find and Remove Useless or BAD Habits
If we define useless here as having zero or worse of an impact on your goals, then simply cutting these things away would have dramatic results. Stop reading silly information you don't really care about if there's something you already know is better that you could be reading.
Stop watching TV that contributes nothing to you, and you will suddenly find yourself with far more time on your hands for your own success.
Not sure what constitutes a bad habit, that you might want to change? Check out this bad habit list. And take a moment to think about changing out some of these bad habits for their better counterparts from this list of good habits.
33. Develop Confidence
Someone asked me how I can take risks so calmly and comfortably. My answer was, “I'm kind of amazing.” The only problem I have with that sentence is that I told them “kind of.”
Now let me be clear. I do not have a superhuman ego. I rarely brag about accomplishments and spend far more time encouraging others than I do talking about myself. I am actually a bit of an introvert.
But it is important to project confidence. Adding qualifiers to statement like “kind of” shows a lack of confidence. It basically means, “if you don’t think I am awesome; I was just kidding.”
Confidence is in recognizing your own strengths and living, breathing, and speaking them. Confident people can have weak moments, but confidence is never weak.
Resource #1: Self-Confidence – 11 Habits to Nurture to Get It
Resource #2: 20 Affirmations for Confidence and Self-Esteem
34. Think Positive
Life can be tough. Bad things happen to us all the time. Sometimes a bad past haunts us every day. It is easy to fill your mind with negative thoughts, but it is essential not to do this.
Positive thinking is a skill. It is something you need to work at intentionally to improve. Learning the skill of positivity is certainly worth the time invested.
When you have a positive mindset, you can take control of the way that you feel, behave and move forward, but you first need to start thinking in those positive, productive ways that provide energy rather than draining it.
35. Improve your Memory Skill
If you love quotes, poems, lyrics, or excerpts, you need to be able to memorize them. While it's great to be able to repeat them to others, we cannot remember everything that crosses us.
By learning to remember the significant words we cross, we become better at instilling them within ourselves. If it's important enough to remember, it's probably important enough to embody.
If you are a student, learning to have a sharp memory is even more important. Being able to memorize large amounts of classwork will keep you churning ahead of your peers.
Remember: a good memory is not something you are “born with” unless you are one of the 1 in a million who is born with a truly eidetic memory. For the rest of us, memory is more like a muscle. It is built through work, repetition, and training. It is a skill that needs to be fostered, trained, and built.
Check out some of the best memory exercises below to learn more about building a powerful memory skill.
Resource 2: Memory Tips & Tricks
And iff you'd like to learn simple ways to improve your memory, here is a video that covers the good habits that will immediately improve your recall.
36. Maintain Self-Awareness
Most people get trapped in their own plans, goals, memories, and ideas. Life happens around them without them being aware. As John Lennon said, “Life happens while we are busy making other plans.”
The self-awareness skill is about keeping one foot in the present and truly understanding what is going on in your life even as you reach for the stars of the future.
This may sound easy. But it really is not.
Being present to everything that's happening as it happens with no need to judge or analyze it. Embodying what it means to experience life, and awareness will come.
Resource: Activities to Build Self Awareness
37. Skill of Focus
Focus is another meta-skill that influences many other mental skills. The ability to fully focus your mind on a single topic is essential for getting the most creativity and productivity out of your time.
If your mind is jumbled with other thoughts or busy trying to multitask your ability to focus greatly suffers. Like many mental and physical activities, focus can be increased and improved with effort.
Think your skills with focus are good? Try the White Bear Experiment. Try to go 5 minutes working on other things and NOT have the thought of white bears cross your mind.
38. Improve Your Research Skills
When you seek the information here in this list of skills to learn, remember that one source can only give you what it has to offer rather than what's truly available. Be sure to seek more information, even if you think you have all the answers because one little epiphany could change everything.
Resource: How to Research Effectively
39. Rewire your Brain
Neuroplasticity is the ability to rewire your brain. You can increase IQ, recall, reading speed, cognition by using ideas from this new brain science. The idea behind these activities is to create new information pathways. These new pathways will often help you learn like a child would, quickly and with an ease few adults possess.
The science behind neuroplasticity is new and constantly growing. With the skill of neuroplasticity when you learn something new, you are actively forging new pathways in your brain for learning that will help make learning future skills a bit easier.
40. Build the Deliberate Practice Habit
Think about basketball. You have two guys practicing. Both spend one-hour practicing. The first guy is running around doing a bit of everything. He does some jump shots. He practices dribbling. He chases after balls as they get away from him. He is not focused on his practice; he tries to do everything.
Now, guy number two is focused. He uses deliberate practice. He spends his hour practicing shooting from the key. He has a coach with him to catch his missed shots, gives advice on improving his shots, and make sure there is little or no downtime.
The laser focus on a particular type of shot means guy number two's practice will be FAR more effective than the same amount of practice time as the first guy.
This is the power of deliberate practice. Deliberate practice is a habit. Once you learn to practice deliberately, everything you practice in life becomes easier to learn because you know how to build your skills the right way.
41. Think Logically
Many people encounter a problem and immediately react with an emotional, erratic train of thoughts. They panic, worry, fear, or generally become overwhelmed by negative emotion.
Logic is mathematical; it is the process of finding appropriate answers. Remember that the appropriate answers are what matters, not what you are feeling in times of trouble.
To learn more, here is an interesting, hour-long primer with Shane Parrish on how to build a toolbox of mental models.
(Side note: One of the simplest ways to build your money skills is to join over 1 million others and start your day with the latest news from Wall St. to Silicon Valley. This newsletter is a 5-minute read that's informative, witty, and FREE!)
Everyone likes to have money. They may not have a need to be rich, but it is certainly nice not to scramble to find creative ways to pay your bills.
However, money and finances are certain skills, and unfortunately, they are skills that most people have not learned.
There are skills in frugal living, budgeting, personal finances, debt management and reduction, saving, investing, and more…
If you want to learn a new skill, and you don't know the skills of finance these would be a great place to start. They can help you make more money, spend less, keep more of what you make and even save money for an investment, property, or a future, “something special.” (For more on this, check out the article on 26 better money habits.)
42. Creating a Personal Budget
You need to start early to set yourself up for financial success in the future. If you spend beyond your means, you are setting yourself up to accrue debt and develop a poor credit score. Budgets are a lot easier with some good software to back it up.
I recommend you check out Mint to help you to create a personal budget that is reasonable for your income and lifestyle. MINT is a great system that links together many essential services that will help you create (and manage) your budget.
If you are clueless as to what a budget is, how to make one that works and how to manage a budget once you have one, I recommend you check out this class on basic budgeting below.
43. Make Purchases and Get Cash Back
One of the big problems in our credit-heavy society is all the little fees you pay. You pay to get money out of an ATM. You sometimes pay a small fee to HAVE a credit card. You pay huge fees if you are late with payments. And, of course, you pay interest on your purchases.
It can be nice to turn that around by getting cashback from your purchases. One of the best ways to make and save money is to have an app do it for you automatically on purchases that you make every day anyway.
Resource #2: Review of the Digit Money-Saving App
44. Track Receipts
Tracking receipts is one of the keys to keeping a good budget. These days you don’t need to keep every document on hand. You simply need some system to store you receipt documents.
I take pictures of all my receipts with my phone and store them on Evernote for when/if I need them.
(Learn how to Master Evernote.)
But there are even simpler methods. Using software like Neat allows you to track your receipts and documents. The software extracts the key information from your receipts and integrates it with accounting and business software to help simplify how you work. This will help you keep your finances organized.
To use this, it is best to have a NeatReceipts Mobile Document scanner so you can scan in all of your purchases as you make them. The software will then organize them for you.
45. How to Repair Credit
If you do find yourself in a financial pitfall, you will need to restore your credit to be able to make large purchases in the future such as a home or a car.
It is important to learn how to repair your credit in case you find yourself in a situation where you don't have the credit you need to buy something that is important.
The simple answer to repairing credit is to make deals on defaulted loans, getting that huge minus off your credit record and then making payments larger than the minimums to pay down debt quickly.
But these are the broad strokes. There are a lot of little things that can be done to improve your credit. Check out the resource below for more bad credit busting tips.
46. Apply for Loans and Credit Cards
Some people are too scared or lazy to apply for loans and credit cards. Using money that isn't yours can be extremely powerful, both for better and worse. But you can never enter the territory of trying if you never even applied.
You DO need credit cards to build your credit rating. The important thing to learn is that you don't need to build a balance. If you only buy what you can afford, and pay it off almost immediately, you get all of the good parts of a credit card, with none of the negatives.
But if credit is still a major issue or fear, there is still the option of secured credit cards, though.
Resource 2: I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
47. Manage Your Debt
If you learn something new every day, I wish more people would learn the skill of managing debt. This simple skill can help get you out of mountainous debt and get you to the point where your money goes to buy YOU things. Not pay off interest to corporate fat-cats.
After you owe money, remember that managing your debt is a simple matter of making timely payments and paying in a way that pays off the debt in the fastest way that's reasonable.
In other words, don't use your rent money to pay off your debt, but it might also help to brew coffee at home sometimes and put that extra money towards your debts.
One of the best skills to learn in relation to managing your debt is the skill of frugal living. Making those simple day-to-day choices that save you small amounts but can add up to real debt reducing amounts.
48. How to Save, Spend and Invest
Spending money is the art of using your money as you see fit to improve your current situation.
Saving money is the art of cutting back and resisting the urge to spend for the sake of your future situation. Investing money is the art of spending money on future gains.
All of these arts are essential financial skills to learn. But the most dangerous can be investing. Investing has an incredible upside. It can make money on top of your money, and hopefully, at some point, lead to independent wealth or comfortable retirement.
But there is also risk involved, and it is important to understand the risk vs. reward of investments.
Resource 2: Best Books on Investing
49. Weighing Risk and Reward
With all decisions come risk and reward. Some situations are riskier while others are more rewarding. The trick to making these decisions is to consider all potential risks alongside all potential rewards and try to figure out whether or not the choice is really worth the risk.
Resource: Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
50. Save Money
Part of managing your money is learning how to save it. It is important to live within your means and keep some money aside for when you might need it in the future. You don't want to have to always take out a line of credit when an emergency comes up, so having a healthy savings account is a great way to have a safety net.
Saving money is a skill. Check out the link below for some tips to help you save more of what you earn.
Resource : 17 Best Money-Saving Apps
51. Conserve Utilities
Sure, it may be easy to walk out of a room and forget to turn the light off. However, making an effort to turn off your lights and appliances when they are not being used in your home, office, or apartment can help save you a significant amount of money when it comes to your monthly utility bill.
You might be surprised how many people do not conserve utilities and by how much can be saved by being diligent with this specific skill.
And, of course, as an added benefit being good about not wasting gas and electric is a nice positive for the environment.
There are a few extra things you can do each day to really benefit from this and get the most out of your efforts:
- Make sure that you turn off all of the lights whenever you leave a room.
- Turn off your electronics when you are not using them. While many electronics will automatically go into a “standby” mode if they are not used for a certain amount of time, this still uses some electricity.
- If the weather is nice outside, open up your windows and use fans around the house to circulate the air and cool down in the summertime. This will help you save money by only using the air conditioning on days that are oppressively hot.
- Open up your blinds and shades in the winter to allow sunlight in and warm up your home. Warming your home naturally with the sun will keep you from spending additional money on heating.
- When you are cooking, match your pot size to the size of your burner. If you use a small pot or pan on a large burner, you are expending additional energy to get the same result.
- Use the smallest pot or appliance that you need. If you are heating up one chicken breast, don't preheat your entire oven. Rather, heat up your small convection oven, or consider cooking it in a pan.
- Wash your clothes in cold water. You will achieve the same results as washing in warm water, but you will save about 40 cents per a load of laundry.
- If you are going out of town, turn off the water heater. It only takes an hour for a water heater to reheat the water in your house and turning it off saves quite a bit of energy while you are gone.
- Don't leave your electronics on the charger once they are fully charged. This wastes energy and can possibly harm your batteries.
Resource: One tool that can help you save money on utilities is Trim, which is an app that negotiates on your behalf better rates with your providers of cable, Internet, phone and helps you get rid of unwanted services.
52. Stock Investing Skill
Whether you've inherited some money or you're saving money every month, you might be wondering about how you should invest your money to make it work for you. Learning how to invest your money is actually easier than a lot of people assume it is.
You do not need to be an experienced trader to be successful in the stock market and in fact, it is often best to not move your money around very often.
While you may have heard that the best time to begin your investments is ten years ago, but the next best time is today. In other words, it's never too late to get started with investing. So take your time to learn about the stock market, bonds, mutual funds, and trades. But once you learn the basics, you should challenge yourself to take that first step.
53. Property Investing Skill
Property investing is not a “get rich quick” scheme. But having real estate education will give you a solid foundation to a long-lasting business. There are a lot of possibilities that come along with investing in real estate and getting a step-by-step guide to analyzing, investing, selling, and flipping real estate can be very beneficial to you in the long run.
One of the best resources for this is the Bigger Pockets brand, which includes books, in-depth blog posts, and an active forum for you to talk with other people who are investing in real estate to learn from their mistakes and their successes.
You don't need to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to learn about the real estate business. Just do a little research to see what part of real estate interests you the most and go from there. Below are links to some of the best property investment books — the same ones I used to research before buying my first two investment properties.
Resource: 16 Best Property Investment Books
54. Invest Money (the Easy way)
Okay. This one is more of a hack than a skill. One easy way to invest your money is to use a service like Acorns. Here, all of the purchases you make are rounded up to the next dollar, and the change is sent to your savings account. For example, if you buy a cup of coffee that is $4.50, you will pay $5, and 50 cents will go directly into your savings.
Making purchases with whole dollar amounts also makes tracking your money easier, and the money that is put into your savings account will add up quickly. You will likely not notice the change slowly coming out of your checking account, but it can be invested quickly.
Health & Fitness Skills
Of all the skills to learn, developing your knowledge of health and fitness principles should be a major priority.
Many people want to learn about business, money, and relationships skills. They want to meet people, enjoy their lives, have success, and achieve their dreams of achievement.
However, if you skip on health and fitness skills, in the long term it will come back to haunt you.
These are the skills that keep you alive longer. They are the skills that build a health reservoir, so you are going strong when you reach 60, rather than breaking down like some other peers.
These skills to learn are potential lifesavers and should be approached with that level of importance and reverence.
So, let's learn something new from health & fitness.
55. Breathing/Deep Breathing Skill
Learning how to breathe properly can make you happier and healthier. It is a key to meditation and mindfulness, and also has a huge positive impact on your body, health, and life.
During difficult times, it's especially useful to know how to practice deep breathing to keep yourself calm. Just a few minutes of deep conscious breathing can positively affect one's state of mind.
Oxygen is a catalyst for our bodies that's so important, we take breaths constantly and hardly even notice. We need a constant supply, or we will lose consciousness in short order.
With that said, it's important to remember to breath in deeply. It should feel good to let the air in, almost like a reverse hug from the inside. The exhale should be calm and comfortable.
The effects can be felt immediately. Develop this skill and powerful breathing will become second nature. It's important to remember that you won't become perfect at breathing better overnight, but it's well worth the wait to develop.
56. Swimming Skill
Swimming is an amazing skill because it's half recreation and half survival. The ability to swim produces nearly the most health benefits of any form of exercise.
There are a few other good reasons to learn to swim.
First off swimming is the most complete exercise in the world. It exercises just about all the muscles in your body.
Second is that it is no “impact” exercise. In most forms of aerobic exercise, constant movement means constant impact with the ground. Swimming on the other hand, is easy on the joints and muscles.
Finally, due to the last reason, swimming and water exercise are the perfect “rehabilitation” exercise for any time when you get injured in your primary sport or exercise.
At these times a passable ability to swim could be an important plus.
Ideally, you should be prepared to swim in the ocean for a few hours while you wait for rescue, but swimming from the middle of a lake is a decent secondary goal. Start small.
Resource: Learn Swimming Fundamentals
Yoga is a mixture of physical exercise, breathing control, and meditation that has both physical and mental health benefits. Yoga is one of the most popular complementary and alternative medicine therapies to traditional medical care, and its effectiveness is supported by a plethora of evidence.
If you are new to yoga, chances are you can get some great beginner-level instruction at your local gym. If you are too shy, you may want to try a video-based Yoga class.
Resource: Yoga Burn, which provides a natural way to lose weight and build a fun exercise habit at the same time.
58. Get Good Sleep
Sleep is one of the key health factors few people think about. When you don’t get enough sleep, both your body and mind suffer. Your thinking is unclear. You make bad decisions. Your stress and anxiety increase leading to a whole host of possible medical issues.
While one bad night's sleep is not likely to kill you, the cumulative effect of months of poor sleeping certainly could lead to some mistake or health issue that actually could kill you.
Yes, poor sleep is nothing to joke about. In this extensive sleep tips post, I covered just about every single method you can use to get better sleep. If none of these methods works, you may seriously want to consider consulting your doctor because it is highly possible you have sleep apnea or another sleeping disorder.
Sleep Apnea is a condition where you actually stop breathing at times during the night. This leads to very restless sleep because you rarely reach the “deep sleep” stage that truly nourishes your body.
Resource #1: 17 Healthy Ways to Fall Asleep Faster
Resource #2: 28 Sleep Gadgets to Improve Your Sleep
Aromatherapy uses aromatic plants and plant materials (often the pressed plant's oils) to create a sense of both psychological and physical well-being.
Aromatherapists are experts who understand the exact blends, amounts, mixtures, and application methods to achieve desired effects for their clients.
Most aromatherapy is done through smell. Using essential oil diffusers to spread the aromatic and healing oils into the air around the client, but aromatherapy also includes topical application, massage, and water immersion as methods of application.
Aromatherapy not only includes the simple skills of using these relaxing and wonderful smelling oils to get your own personal spa experience, but you can learn the process of making your own collection of spa materials from aromatherapy.
Learning aromatherapy can teach you to make:
- Homemade Soap
- Spa quality bath bombs
- Bath salts
- Body Butter
- Essential Oils
- Specialized essential oil mixes
- Soothing creams
- Exfoliating body scrubs
- Moisturizing body lotions
Basically, any aromatic fragrance products that any spa enthusiast would be proud to use.
Resource: Handcrafter’s Companion (making spa-quality products for fun & profit)
60. Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated and drinking enough water are keys to health and fitness. Just like getting a good night’s sleep. Poor hydration can have effects that are both far-reaching and often go undetected.
Water is an important aspect of personal responsibility. There are children in third-world countries that literally beg on street corners for water, and yet there are so many people who take their unending access to water for granted.
When you are properly hydrated, your urine should be clear and colorless. This often means 64 ounces of water in a single day. But can mean quite a bit more if you exercise or if you live or work in a hot/ humid area.
Learn exactly what hydration is and feels like. Seek to stay properly hydrated at all times, as it is life-changing to go from being under-hydrated to constantly hydrated.
61. Mental Health: Get Your Mind Right for Health
Good health is not all about “picking things up” and “putting things down.” It is not all about eating right, living a healthy lifestyle, and being aerobically fit. It is all of those things but more. Being healthy also includes your state of mind.
Someone who is fit, eats well and exercises may still have a lot of issues if they are constantly depressed, anxious, and stressed.
We don’t need to live in some false state of nirvana and happiness. But it is important from a healthy mental health perspective to try to put your “best foot forward” mental health-wise when you can.
This means trying to be happy. Having an overall optimistic viewpoint. And being positive. Check out some of the books linked below to get a better grasp on positive thinking, happiness and how to can get your mind in a better place for improved health.
Resource: 18 Best Books on Happiness
62. Mastering the Mind-Body Connection
Having a mind-body connection means that you are able to learn to use your mind to positively influence some of your physical responses, which can help you manage anxiety and decrease stress and even help you to get rid of physical ailments.
The idea of a mind-body connection and a truly scientific connection was first introduced by Dr. John Sarno in his book Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection. In this book, Sarno, an expert in back pain relief, pointed out how many of his back pain sufferers were having their conditions created by or exacerbated by stress, and how sometimes mindfulness techniques and meditation were better for relieving their pain than dangerous spinal surgery.
This idea has been taken by others and expanded outside the realm of back pain. Whether the effects are psychosomatic or show true body healing via mental health techniques is a question that could be debated. Using your “mind” as a cure is certainly not an answer to every medical problem. But there are certain aspects of healthy living like back pain that can be helped by understanding the potential healing powers of a strong mind-body connection.
63. Massage Therapy
Most people enjoy a good massage. If we could give ourselves relaxing massages, the world would certainly be a much nicer place.
Learning a little bit of the skills of a professional massage therapist is not going to directly give you more massages. But if you give a good massage, there are many people who would be glad to reciprocate with a return massage after getting a dose of your healing hands.
Resource: Give A Great Chair Massage
Resource #2: Six Benefits of Using a Foam Roller
64. Efficient Walking
Walking is another key to fitness and health. Yes, there are many exercises that are more energetic, calorie-burning, and muscle building.
But walking is and will always be a good baseline. When you get injured from any other sport, walking will always be a way to recuperate. When you get older, and fitness gets difficult, walking becomes a great source of activity.
Walking is low impact. It moves most muscles, groups. It is easy to do, and one of the only places where multitasking is not suboptimal. Walking gives you the time and energy for creative thoughts while also helping you to pad any other daily fitness.
In fact, as a marathon runner, I still find time to incorporate a few long walks into my weekly routine. I think walking is essential to keeping fit and healthy and can easily be used as an addition to existing routines.
Resources: Learn Everything About the Walking Exercise Habit
|Walking to lose weight is possible. In fact, it's actually relatively simple to lose one pound per week by building the walking habit.||Incorporate the two-minute walking habit into each hour of your day to offset the dangers of sitting too long.|
|Find answers to 18 frequently asked questions about the effectiveness of walking as a form of exercise.||Learn how to calculate calories you lose when walking for weight loss.|
|Increasing the amount of daily walking has significant benefits for both the short and long term.|| |
BOOK: 10,000 Steps BlueprintDiscover a blueprint for developing the walking habit, which can fit into any busy schedule.
65. Eat Like You Respect Yourself
Most people eat like they're hungry and have a taste in mind. Few eat as though they respect themselves.
Does that person eating their second combo meal of the day truly respect their body?
Does that fourth soda really contribute to self-worth?
Simple self-respect goes the furthest when it comes to eating healthy.
Resource: Healthy Eating Ultimate Guide
66. Understand Portion Sizes Without a Need to Measure
This is a key to healthy eating. Many people have no idea how much it is “too much.” So, they either starve themselves by living off of celery, and the lime in their water or they think they are eating reasonable amounts but eating much more than they believe.
Part of these problems stems from the supersizing of the world. Plates used to be 8-9 inches. They now average 12 inches and are growing. Going out to eat you once got the proper amount of food. Now you get handed a plated topped with such generous portions it is impossible to finish it alone.
Here are your proper portion sizes. These sizes represent 1 serving of each item. Some balancing in your mind needs to go on. If your apple is extra-large, you need to realize you have had 1 ½ serving and not just a single serving. You should have these portion measurements stuck in your brain.
- Piece of cheese. NO bigger than your index finger
- Apple: No bigger than your closed fist
- Dry cereal: no bigger than a closed fist
- Canned Peaches: No bigger than a fist
- Milk: No bigger than a fist
- Salad: No bigger than two closed fists side-by-side
- Protein: Meat, Nuts, Pork, Chicken” No bigger than a deck of playing cards
- Bread: No bigger than your hand
- Peanut butter: Spoonful no bigger than your thumb
- Noodles, Rice, Oatmeal: NO bigger than the palm of your hand
The above gives you a good idea of what portion sizes really are; probably a little less “per portion” than you thought. Eat the proper portions, and there is little reason you shouldn’t be able to eat ANY food. As long as you are recognizing how much you are actually consuming.
To make this process a little bit easier, you can use some of the portion control plates linked below to make the process of eating right a little bit easier.
Resource: Learn about Portion Control Plates to help you get a handle on proper portion sizes.
67. Relax Effectively
You're going to be doing a lot of work once you absorb the skills on this list. Some of the skills are easy. But some quite difficult.
Time for rest, recuperation, and recovery is going to be essential. For many, this skill may seem amazingly simple: just sit around and do little (or nothing). However, for “go-getters” and “type “A” personalities,” effective relaxing may seem as difficult as swimming for someone who has never been in the water over their waist.
Quality rest is as good as quality work time. When you need a break, take one. Never let your work damage you so much that you have to stop working.
Resource: The Importance of Rest
68. Relieve Stress
They call stress the silent killer because it is easy to miss the day-to-day damage stress does to your body. By the time you notice these cumulative damages, it may be too late.
Stress matters. If you are constantly stressed, you need to either find a way to reduce your amount of daily stress or find better ways of dealing with your stress. Or even better, do both.
69. Maintain Proper Posture
The human body is a delicate system that can be easily ruined by constant, uneven balance under the forces of gravity. Muscles fuse, spines contort, and tendons tear. Maintaining proper posture and alignment allows you to experience less fatigue and there is far less strain being put on your ligaments and muscles.
Learning good posture is the first step you can take in a positive direction toward better postural habits to help your spine.
70. Fully Understand Nutrition
Once again, this skill is one of the true keys to health.
It only makes sense. After all, you are what you eat. If you live off of potato chips, pizza, and cola, you can expect your body to react negatively. However, if you follow some nutrition rules, you will be far healthier and likely live years longer.
Understanding nutrition means understanding everything that goes into your body and how your body processes these foods — understanding how dieting for weight-loss works, what it means to eat healthily. How to plan meals, and understanding fat loss, carbs, proteins, fat, vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and the basics of how our immune system works.
Resource: Nutrition Made Easy
71. Experiment with a Paleo Diet
First of all, paleo is not for everyone.
I am not going to make a statement that if you are not doing Paleo, you are not healthy. (Although some Paleo aficionados would make that statement for me).
Paleo is a healthy living and healthy eating option. It is not the only option, but it is a worthwhile option to consider if you want to change up your lifestyle.
In case you are one of the few people who has never heard of the paleo diet. In a nutshell, it means eating like our hunter-gatherer forefathers. Typically, the paleo diet includes meat, vegetables, fruits, roots, and nuts while avoiding or strictly limiting any food that is processed, such as dairy, sugars, oils, salt, legumes, grains, coffee, or alcohol.
Resource: The Paleo Diet Walkthrough
72. Staying Fit as You Age
As you age, it becomes more difficult to stay fit. First, all your old abuses come back. If you had not treated your body like a temple when you were younger, your body may begin to revolt as you get older.
Consider it payback for health sins of the past.
Then your genetics plays its part. Genetics may be good to you, or you may throw snake-eyes and have genetics make it more difficult to stay healthy as you age.
Either way, staying healthy as you age presents its own unique series of problems, challenges, and accomplishments to overcome.
An important point to remember about building this skill is that it becomes more difficult the longer you wait.
If you start in your 20s, building the skill of staying fit as you age is easy. But if you start to worry about building this skill when you hit 60, you have a much tougher path to fitness.
Resource: Staying Fit as You Age
Stretching can be one of the most overlooked skills leading to a healthy lifestyle. Specifically, when you are young, and your muscles and bones feel loose and limber most of the time, people may think they don’t need to stretch.
Unfortunately, lack of stretching leads directly to injury, tears, sprains, and ultimately, the loss of flexibility. It is important to start stretching young and begin to build flexibility and good posture into your healthy routine as early as possible.
74. Efficient and Safe Running
I have been a consistent runner for nearly 30 years now (except for times of injury). So, I may (admittedly)be a bit biased when I discuss the virtues of running. (To learn more, we have a new website that focuses on running for beginners.)
Along with walking, running is one of the best overall forms of exercise to stay fit. It helps tone your muscles, keeps weight off, makes you aerobically, “fit” and even gives you free time to think creatively and work through problems.
But with running often comes injuries. Learn to get the most from your running. Learn good technique and learn how to minimize injuries with this training. If you are going to run, it is important to learn to do so in a way that minimizes damage and maximizes the many positive aspects of running.
75. Practice Self-Care
Despite what some of my fellow Gen. X ers might think. Self-care is not some pampered ideal created by spoiled Millennials.
No, self-care is an important skill.
Self-care has been an important part of health and fitness for thousands of years. (They have found Aromatherapy recipes in ancient Egypt). It makes a huge difference in our health and well-being — specifically mental health.
Practicing self-care 24/7/365 is certainly indulgent. But everyone needs to take some time for themselves for rest, recovery, and recuperation, and that is what self-care is all about.
Resource: 275 Self-Care Ideas and Activities
Our list of new things to learn keeps going on. Up next are communication skills.
These are useful things to learn in two major places: business and personal life. In both of these places, it becomes important to share your thoughts and learn new things like public speaking.
Without learning some good communication skills and breaking down barriers that hold you back from communicating your thoughts, it may become difficult to get ahead in your chosen profession and find new friends and/or relationships.
76. Write Professional Emails
It is important always to present yourself in a professional manner when meeting with colleagues or clients, communication, and professionalism through email also matters.
Learning how to write emails correctly can spare you some embarrassment in the professional world. Professional emails are a bit of an art form and certainly not meant to contain a lot of shorthand “IM Speak & emoticons.”
Email is such a common form of professional communication that can make or break your reputation as an expert in your field, Even more importantly, your professionalism in your writing will have a big impact on your career path and success, as this may become one of the best ways to network within your field.
Resource: Writing Professional Emails and Memos
77. Write a Professional Resume
Your resume gives potential future employers a very quick snapshot of why you are a better fit for their company than the next guy walking through the door. That is why this skill is so darn important.
An incredibly well-written resume is worth its weight in gold because it will get you that better job, with the better benefits and greater opportunity.
In our culture of constant distractions, your resume will not hold anyone's attention for very long, so you have to know how to make it effective and efficient to capture an employer's attention.
Learning how to write a professional resume is likely to be your first step to landing an interview for a job that you are well-suited to do.
But the sad truth is that most resumes do not even make it to the decision-maker. They are screened out of the process due to resume “issues.”
These bad resumes may:
- Contain too little information
- Contain too much of the wrong information
- Do not show the applicants core strengths
- Not properly formatted
- Don’t “guide the eye” through the resume reading process
- Contain information that does not apply to that specific job
- Do not “sell” you (or your skills and experience) to the hiring manager
A few simple improvements in your resume writing skills make it far more likely to get it to seem (and approved) by the decision-makers.
Resource #1: Recruiter Reveals CV (Resume) Writing Formula
Resource #2: If you don't have time to work on your resume, here is a done-for-you service that can write a professional resume, cover letter, and follow up letters for your interviews.
78. Write with Pizazz
Let’s face it. Most writing is boring; specifically, in the context of a work/ business environment.
Deathly dull writing makes everything written simply fade into the background, like the constant drone from a bee buzzing around the room.
Being able to put a little bit of flair or personality into your writing is a big deal. It is essential if you make your living writing and can give you a big boost over your peers if writing is only part of your job description.
Whether you are writing for business, blogs, books, essays or to create a masterpiece that people notice, putting flair, pizazz, and style into your writing will get it noticed. Find out more in the guide below.
Resource #1: The Writer's Toolkit
Resource #2: James Patterson Teaches Writing
79. Learn to Offer Value to Others
The best default psychology for a success story is to have something to offer that people want. It needs to be valuable, and you need to be the one giving it out. You need to communicate the value of what you're doing to others so that they may understand it.
That's all it takes to be someone that people seek. Once you understand what it means to offer value, you can start to orient your behavior around creating and developing aspects of yourself that are truly valuable to yourself and others.
Resource: Give and You Will Receive
80. Be Personable
One of the biggest benefits of becoming a unique individual is that you can now speak with others very directly and in a way, they can't find elsewhere. That's being personable, and it's invaluable; there is a priceless process in becoming a priceless person.
One of the key components of that, though, is how you relate to others. What better way is there to relate to an individual than individually?
81. Be Able to Keep Your Message Brief
One of the keys to effective communication is the ability to keep your message brief.
In business (and in life) time is money. If you have a moment with a high powered executive, you need to be prepared to present your case in as succinct a manner as possible, but also have the facts and knowledge to expand your message as much as desired depending upon response.
Elevator speeches are a perfect example of that. They do not NEED to take place in an elevator, but any spiel should not last longer than the handful of seconds it takes to go up a few floors.
As a “training” method for this communication skill, why not try to do what my dad did for my brother and me as kids. He had a 10 words or less rule where you had to explain what you wanted in less than 10 words.
When you try this on complicated topics, it helps you build the ability to come up with succinct responses. Add a few details back in… and you have your perfect “elevator” speeches.
82. How to Write an Effective Speech (from Page to Stage)
Speech writing is very different from other forms of writing. It is as much about entertaining as it is about informing. To be effective, you need to create a pace that is unique to speeches.
Speech writing is not a skill everyone needs. Certainly not “all the time,” but most of us will need to give a handful of speeches in our lives. (business, wedding, events, etc.)
Honing a speech writing skill will, therefore, help you both personally and professionally, depending on how much need your career and life presents you to use your communication skill.
83. How to Speak to an Audience
Of course, writing a killer speech is only part of the equation. Many people can write a killer speech that could leave people laughing and informed, but do not have the speech-making skills to present a great speech. While other people can go up on stage, with no speech, and deliver a well-received speech.
The main difference between these two is practice. To be at ease in front of groups of people, you need to have spoken in front of other people before.
If you aren't prepared to speak in front of 1,000 people at this very second, how can you expect to be someone that 1,000 people look up to? Great habits lead to greatness, and greatness attracts attention. Imagine being someone incredible and ruining the speech with nervousness, shaking hands, and stuttered words.
Resource: A Quiet Person's Guide To Effective Public Speaking
84. Conversation Confidence Skill
Some people have no problem with this skill. They seem destined to talk to others and always seem to leave a wonderful impression.
Truth time: that is not me. I have always been a bit of a shy introvert. Being reserved and sometimes struggling to make even basic conversation with strangers.
“But Steve,” you might ask, “I have heard you on podcasts. How could you do those if you were not a good conversationalist?”
Well, the answer to that is simple: practice, willpower, and work.
I am not “naturally” good at talking to strangers, but like any other skill, you can improve with some time, effort and that “deliberate practice” skill we mentioned a bit earlier.
If you want to improve your confidence in conversations, the best thing you can force yourself to engage strangers in conversation. There will certainly be a few awkward moments, but as you gain your conversation confidence, these moments will become less-and-less frequent.
If you want a shortcut to building your confidence in conversations, check out the guide linked below.
Resource: Conversation Confidence
85. Learn to Network
Networking is another of the communication skills that are not natural to me at all. It takes a certain mindset to be great at making friends quickly and connecting with others.
This just isn’t me. But that is why I hold this skill in such high regard. It is a skill I am working hard to improve, bit by bit.
In the long term, your network of business contacts are going to be one of the most powerful tools for your success. I already have gotten some great ideas in the Kindle publishing, blogging, and writing fields from people I have in my network. These burgeoning friendships have made and/or saved me tens of thousands of ideas.
You may be an introvert and not inclined to put effort into meeting strangers and building friendships via networking, but the long term positive benefits are impossible to ignore.
The list of useful skills to learn has to be topped by business skills. These skills improve your performance. They get you your promotions and generally help you to get your job and do it better.
86. Question Conventional Wisdom
Okay, this one is more of a mindset than a skill, but it is worth mentioning.
In business and life, you will often be told some things “can’t be done.” You will be given examples of past failures and shown clearly why some things cannot and will not ever work.
While there is something to learn from the wisdom of past generations, it is also important to question the truth of these ideas.
87. Develop Business Relationships
This is similar to the “networking” skill we just talked about in communication skill # 85. However, this is more focused on just the work environment.
Business relationships are not just the people you network with but all work interactions.
Here are some of the essential business relationships that will help you go above and beyond any peers or competition at work:
- Find a mentor
- Mentor someone else
- Join a professional “mastermind” group
- Build networking skills
- Discover what your boss really wants
- Learn how to DO your boss's job. And why this is important
If you want to increase any of these skills, check out the networking book I wrote with my writing partner Rebecca Livermore, linked below.
88. Mastering Organization
Organization is a productivity and time-saving skill. Being good at business organization can be just as important as being as good as Marie Kondo at home organization and decluttering.
It can often be important to store paperwork around your office, for instance, and being able to find any file, folder or piece of paperwork quickly and easily relies on having a good organizational skill in place.
The lesson linked below is literally everything you might ever need to know about office organization. It is a soup-to-nuts course covering physically decluttering your office and also the main element s of digitally decluttering your office.
12 hours of training spread over 84 different classes means you will learn everything you need to know about business and office organization.
89. Planning: Plan Your Day, Week, Month, Quarter & Year
Hard work is important. But it will be trumped by effective planning every single time.
Good planning takes into account contingencies, emergencies, and setbacks. Good planning can be boiled down to a single page while also having detailed instructions of what is to come and how to do it.
Plans will also be available in varying details over time (5 years, yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily plans are all common, and when used and written properly, helpful in completing necessary tasks.
90. Managing Employees
Not only is it difficult to find a great employee, but it is also hard to keep them around. Hiring, managing, and firing employees can easily make or break a business. It seems that companies are all competing for the best workers who enable the company to achieve its strategic goals.
This course explores the importance of hiring employees who are in line with the company's overall strategy. It also goes over how to manage employees so they will stay with the company for the long term and reduce the turnover rate.
91. How to Hire and Manage VIRTUAL Teams
Working remotely is a very common thing to do these days. With everyone's access to the internet and smartphones, there sometimes is no need to add the additional cost of a large brick and mortar office to business. However, you have to know how to hire and manage employees and keep them on track without having the ability to look over their shoulder.
My personal experience with hiring virtual staff has been through the link below. I love this service and highly recommend it to help find oversea virtual staff.
Resource: Virtual Staff Finder
92. Inbox Zero
It is easy for email to get out of control. The time involved to keep your email emptied may seem prohibitive unless you have a good system.
If you are a GMAIL user, I recommend the course linked below to help keep your inbox clean and clear without spending an inordinate amount of time dealing with emails.
Resource: Gmail Zero Inbox
93. Business Skills Fundamentals
Everyone wants to know what it takes to be successful in business, and especially how to achieve the kind of success that steadily increases rather than goes through peaks and valleys.
Having critical business skills comes down to having a solid knowledge of the fundamentals of business, along with what other successful companies are doing right.
Resource: Critical Business Skills for Success (Audiobook) by The Great Courses
94. Accounting and Bookkeeping Basics
While accounting and bookkeeping may not be your job, you should still be familiar with some basics. This way, you will be able to check the work of other people and make sure that the bookkeeping is being done correctly for your company.
Unless, of course, accounting or bookkeeping is your job… in which case the basics should seem very simplistic for you.
Resource: Accounting: The Ultimate Guide to Accounting for Beginners – Learn the Basic Accounting Principles by Greg Shields
95. How to Influence Others
The ability to influence other people is a fundamental skill that all effective leaders have to master. Without the ability to influence other people, you are not likely to be able to make your vision become a reality because you won't have anyone helping you.
You have to have the ability to capture the minds and energy of other people to achieve the things in life that you want to achieve.
Effective leaders go beyond commanding and actually inspire, persuade, and encourage others. Leaders are able to tap into the knowledge, skills, and abilities of a group and lead individuals toward a common goal.
Resource: How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
96. How to Get the Most From What You Do
The first step to getting the most from what you do is envisioning what you want to accomplish. What do you want out of life? Maybe you want to do satisfying work that allows you to help other people. Maybe you want to find a fulfilling relationship that makes you happy. Maybe you want to get in shape so you can run a marathon. No matter what you are doing, you have to learn how to get the most from it.
To do this, you have to find internal motivation to do what you are doing. Learn to enjoy the process rather than race to the results and learn from your mistakes. Talk to other people who have succeeded in your quest to learn about what they have already been through.
Resource: The Psychology of Performance: How to Be Your Best in Life (Audiobook) by The Great Courses
97. Art of Negotiating
In life, everything is negotiable. Your salary. What you do at your job. How much your business pays for services.
Okay, the counter guy at 7-11 might not negotiate on the price of milk, but most major and important parts of life are open to some form of negotiating. But how good are your negotiating skills?
We don’t have an open barter system in our economy so most negotiating may seem like backroom deals, but they are really a part of the fabric of our society.
If your negotiating skills are lacking, it is important that you take a bit of time and get them up to speed. Just the hiring/firing form of negotiation makes this bit of effort worthwhile.
Resource: Negotiation and Conflict Management
98. Stay Sharp
Keeping your skills active is the ultimate way to stay sharp. Anytime you walk away from something; you move further away from being able to do it at your best unless away time was sincerely needed. Keep at what you care about, or you will be about as useful to achieving your goals as a dull saw is to wood.
99. End Procrastination
Procrastination is the #1 business and life killer. We all procrastinate from time-to-time, but if procrastination actually keeps you from accomplishing important business or personal life tasks, then this quickly becomes something that you MUST address.
If you want more info on why people procrastinate see these causes of procrastination. If you are looking for some quick-fix ideas on how to stop your procrastination tendencies, see some methods for overcoming procrastination.
But if you want to end procrastination once and forever, check out the link below, which I think of as the ultimate guide to fighting procrastination.
Resource #2: Seven Best TED Talks on Overcoming Procrastination
100. Goal-Setting Skills
Finally, we come to goal setting. It is important to have reachable goals that are lofty enough to stretch your abilities yet still very achievable. A lot goes into the planning, implementation, and execution of goals.
If you are unsure about types of goals, how to create reasonable goals, or how to actually stick to your goals until you accomplish them, you may wish to invest some time in the goal building skill.
The course below is designed for life coaches. It teaches how to reach your personal goals, of course, but has a full bag of hacks & tips for helping others reach their own personal & professional goals.
101. Essential Business Online TOOLS Skills
The final collection of skills is some highly useful training on specific PC software.
Anyone who has a job that is mainly “at the computer” will find all of these software programs familiar. They (or their generic equivalents) are the industry standards of work and productivity tools.
Rather than offer one lone overarching course that might take 100 hours to complete, why not look at the tabbed entry below to find the best training to suit your specific needs.
Resources: International Open Academy Courses
The course covers an overview of all tools and functions, useful beginner tips and tricks, intermediate formulas and techniques, and how to export your data as charts.
Knowing how to effectively utilize Word, the world’s most widely used word processor can benefit anyone. From resumes to reports, or flyers and invitations, knowing how to navigate Word is truly beneficial.
Microsoft Office Training
This course will introduce you to the three main programs in Microsoft Office – Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
PowerPoint gives you the tools to create attractive and dynamic presentations. The course covers the basics – editing and creating slides – and then progresses to creating complete professional-looking slideshows that include text, graphics, and video.
This course will provide you with a comprehensive guide to starting your blog, and choosing your niche, making your blog popular and monetizing it.
These are just 101 new skills to learn that can add value to your life.
Odds are, I will add more to this list in the next few months.
But as we close things out, try to imagine what you would be like if you were able to develop some of these skills in your life.
If you can just add one or two skills from this list, then that would be a better use of your time than wasting your time watching T.V. or playing that latest game on your phone.
So, my advice is simple:
Pick one of the skills mentioned in this list and make that commitment to work on it for the next month. Even if you spend only 30 minutes a day on this activity, you will have added something valuable to your life in just a few short weeks. You can even create a 30-day challenge to dedicate yourself to mastering this new skill.
Like this post?
Then please share your thoughts on new things to learn in the comments below.
I arbitrarily ended this list at 101 skills, but there are hundreds, if not thousands, of skills that you can build. So, please share your personal favorite skills to this list to give our readers more ideas.
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