12 Universal Skills You Need to Succeed at Anything

12 Universal Skills

There are a lot of skills you don’t need.  You can be happy and successful without knowing how to rebuild a car’s engine, program a web application, or replace drywall.  Sure, these are useful skills to have, but they aren’t absolutely necessary.

There are other skills, however, that can’t be avoided – skills that tie into various aspects of everyday life, that are not only useful, but totally indispensable.  For instance, you can’t get far in today’s world without being able to read or write.  And today the ability use a computer proficiently is simply assumed.

In this article we’re going to skip the super basic skills like reading, driving, and using a computer, and discuss twelve slightly more advanced skills that are woefully under-taught, and universally applicable.  Let’s take a look…

1.  Prioritizing and time management. – If success depends on effective action, effective action depends on the ability to focus your attention where it is needed most, when it is needed most.  This is the ability to separate the important from the unimportant, which is a much needed skill in all walks of life, especially where there are ever increasing opportunities and distractions.

2.  Keeping a clean, organized space. – Successful people have systems in place to help them find what they need when they need it – they can quickly locate the information required to support their activities.  When you’re disorganized, that extra time spent looking for a phone number, email address or a certain file forces you to drop your focus.  Once it’s gone, it takes a while to get it back – and that’s where the real time is wasted.  Keeping both your living and working spaces organized is crucial.

3.  Critical thinking and information analysis. – We are living in the information age where, on a daily basis, we are constantly exposed to an ever [Read more…]

12 Things You Should Be Able to Say About Yourself

12 Things You Should Be Able to Say About Yourself

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
– Mae West

You know you’re on the right track when you can repeat each of the following headlines to yourself, honestly.  (And if you can’t, this list gives you something positive to work on.)

1.  I am following my heart and intuition.

Don’t be pushed by your problems.  Be led by your dreams.  Live the life you want to live.  Be the person you want to remember years from now.  Make decisions and act on them.  Make mistakes, fall and try again.  Even if you fall a thousand times, at least you won’t have to wonder what could have been.  At least you will know in your heart that you gave your dreams your best shot.

Each of us has a fire in our hearts burning for something.  It’s our responsibility in life to find it and keep it lit.  This is your life, and it’s a short one.  Don’t let others extinguish your flame.  Try what you want to try.  Go where you want to go.  Follow your own intuition.  Dream with your eyes open until you know exactly what it looks like.  Then do at least one thing every day to make it a reality.

And as you strive to achieve your goals, you can count on there being some fairly substantial disappointments along the way.  Don’t get discouraged, the road to your dreams may not be an easy one.  Think of these disappointments as challenges – tests of persistence and courage.  At the end of the road, more often than not, we regret what we didn’t do far more than what we did.  Read Quitter.

2.  I am proud of myself.

You are your own best friend and your own biggest critic.  Regardless of the opinions of others, at the end of the day the only reflection staring back at you in [Read more…]

15 Things Real Friends Do Differently

15 Things Real Friends Do Differently

As we grow, we realize it becomes less important to have more friends and more important to have real ones.

Remember, life is kind of like a party.  You invite a lot of people, some leave early, some stay all night, some laugh with you, some laugh at you, and some show up really late.  But in the end, after the fun, there are a few who stay to help you clean up the mess.  And most of the time, they aren’t even the ones who made the mess.  These people are your real friends in life.  They are the ones who matter most.

Here are 15 things real friends do differently:

  1. They face problems together. – A person who truly knows and loves you – a real friend – is someone who sees the pain in your eyes while everyone else still believes the smile on your face.  Don’t look for someone who will solve all your problems; look for someone who will face them with you.
  2. They give what they can because they truly care. – One of the biggest challenges in relationships comes from the fact that many of us enter a relationship in order to get something.  We try to find someone who’s going to make us feel good.  In reality, the only way a relationship will last, and give us joy in the long-term, is if we see our relationship as a place we go to give, and not just a place we go to take.  Yes, of course it is okay to take something from a relationship too.  But both sides should be giving.  It can only be a ‘give and take’ if BOTH SIDES are GIVING.  That’s the key.
  3. They make time for each other. – It’s obvious, but any relationship without any face time is going to have problems.  You shouldn’t have to fight for a spot in someone’s life.  Never force someone to make a space in their life for you, because if they truly care about you, they will create one for you.  (Read The How of Happiness.)
  4. They offer each other freedom. – A healthy relationship keeps the doors and windows wide open.  Plenty of air is circulating and no one feels [Read more…]

30 Life-Enhancing Things You Can Do in 30 Minutes or Less

30 Life Enhancing Things in 30 Minutes

Many of us attempt to measure our happiness based on the duration of certain favorable experiences in our lives.  The longer a favorable experience lasts, the happier we think we’ll be.  But the truth is, life is simply a string of small, independent moments that are always changing.  Thus, a few minutes well spent here and there can make a big difference in what we get out of life in the long-term.

Here are 30 things you can do in 30 minutes or less that will have a positive emotional effect on you and those closest to you.  And yes, I realize some of these suggestions may lead to activities and projects that will likely take longer than 30 minutes to complete; but they still take far less than 30 minutes to start.  So go ahead and do the hardest part, use the next 30 minutes to START, and then pick up where you left off tomorrow.

  1. Learn something new by starting a free course at one of the hundreds of online self-education resources bookmarked here: 12 Dozen Places To Educate Yourself Online For Free.
  2. Watch one of the thousands of educational videos streaming at TED.com, Academic Earth, or Khan Academy.
  3. Read an online book list and find a new book to grab next time you’re at the library.  Here’s another list.  And another.  And another.  And another.  Or find a good read on Amazon’s Best Sellers List.
  4. Start reading a classic book online for free at Project Gutenberg, The Online Books Page, Gizmo’s Free Books Online, or the E-books Directory.
  5. Take a 30 minute break and work on something that’s meaningful to you.  Engage yourself in a meaningful personal project, or pull the trigger on [Read more…]

10 Habits You Must Quit to Be Happy

10 Habits You Must Quit to Be Happy

When you quit doing the wrong things, you make more room for the things that make you happy.  So starting today…

1.  Quit procrastinating on your goals.

Some people dream of success while others wake up and work hard at it.  Action and change are often resisted when they’re needed most.  Get a hold of yourself and have discipline.  Putting something off instantly makes it harder and scarier.  What we don’t start today won’t be finished by tomorrow.  And there’s nothing more stressful than the perpetual lingering of an unfinished task.

The secret to getting ahead is simply getting started.  Starting, all by itself, is usually sufficient to build enough momentum to keep the ball rolling.  So forget about the finish line and just concentrate on taking your first step.  Say to yourself, “I choose to start this task with a small, imperfect step.”  All those small steps will add up and you’ll actually get to see changes fairly quickly.  Read Getting Things Done.

2.  Quit blaming others and making excuses.

Stop blaming others for what you have or don’t have, or for what you feel or don’t feel.  When you blame others for what you’re going through, you deny responsibility and perpetuate the problem.  Stop giving your power away and [Read more…]