During job interviews, potential employers often ask “what are your strengths and weaknesses?”. While this question has the power to throw people off, it’s actually trying to gauge whether you’re aware of your abilities and competencies. Many even make the mistake of repeating the skills already highlighted on their resume, while they should be focusing on life skills and how they apply them in everyday life.
Life skills will help you participate in meaningful conversations, practice mindfulness and enhance personal growth. Such qualities are highly valued in a professional setting as they improve an organization’s culture. Wondering what are life skills? Let’s find out!
Meaning Of Life Skills
The World Health Organization (WHO) describes life skills as the abilities and positive behaviors that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life. In a constantly changing environment, i.e., a fast-paced world, life skills have become essential in overcoming the roadblocks of daily life. From managing things better to processing emotions and interacting with others, the need for life skills becomes necessary with time.
There are several underlying features that define life skills, which are
There’s an element of morality as life skills relate to what’s good or bad and right or wrong in society
It affects people on a personal level, especially when it comes to interaction and engagement with friends and family
They’re often controversial as people hold strong opinions about them
The Need For Life Skills
Psychosocial competence, also known as the ability to deal with challenges effectively, is a much-needed skill. Not only does it help you achieve your long-term goals but also improves your mental, physical and social well-being. When you’re able to effectively deal with stress and pressures in life, it minimizes behavior-related health issues. For example, in schools, students falling behind on their coursework can largely benefit from supportive learning environments.
Let’s look at the various ways in which different life skills help us cope with the increasing pace and changes of modern life. Here’s a list of reasons that stress the importance of life skills.
It helps you find creative ways of problem-solving and decision-making
It helps you identify the impact of your actions and take responsibility
It builds confidence in interpersonal communication and makes room for group collaboration and cooperation
It helps you analyze available choices or resources before making important decisions
It helps you develop empathy, a greater sense of self-awareness and appreciation for others
In a nutshell, life skills help you find your voice while you prepare for challenges and opportunities of personal as well as professional life.
The Importance Of Life Skills At Work
In addition to personal development, life skills prepare you for the professional world. You learn how to confidently tackle problems and step outside your comfort zone. You establish healthy work-life boundaries and start paying attention to people around you. Moreover, you continue to learn and grow every step of the way—making room for new skills and knowledge. Let’s look at the importance of life skills in the workplace.
You learn to work collaboratively with other people, which further helps you promote team (or collective) objectives
Not only do you find creative ways to solve problems but you make active efforts to put them into action
You learn to keep an open mind, encouraging new ideas and diverse perspectives
You learn how to stand up for yourself as well as for your team; you’re accountable for your own actions
You discover the ability to recover from setbacks and failures and view them as opportunities to continue learning
If you’re still not convinced about the need for these core skills, here are some life skills examples that’ll highlight their relevance in the workplace:
When you apply for a job, interviewers often want to tap into your skill set that goes beyond your resume. This is your chance to highlight life skills that also act as employability skills such as critical thinking and self-awareness. It even gives you a competitive edge over other applicants.
A majority of people are motivated by the opportunities that a job creates—climbing the corporate ladder. An effective way to seek out more opportunities to develop and practice leadership skills. Whether it’s leading an independent project or a team, you need these essential skills to guide and help you advance in your career.
A highly valuable trait in the workplace is the ability to navigate, manage and resolve conflicts. Any organization with diverse employees also invites diverse perspectives and there will be times when there’s a difference in opinions and viewpoints. Life skills help you look at the bigger picture and consider multiple perspectives. As a result, conflict management becomes easier.
The Life Skills List – 10 Essential Skills
Although life skills are related to personal development and well-being, it’s useful to reflect on our environment and personal relationships. It leads to sociability, tolerance and increased self-esteem. We learn to say no without being aggressive and make compromises for positive solutions.
Here’s a comprehensive life skills list you should consider to make active changes that lead to self-improvement.
If you’re able to appreciate and differentiate between your strengths and weaknesses, you’re a self-aware individual. It helps you make choices, take actions and make decisions that are consistent with your abilities. Examples of self-awareness are:
The ability to understand what you can or can’t do
Recognizing your own talents and being aware of your skill set
The ability to differentiate between the weak and strong aspects of your abilities or behavior
It refers to the way you feel about yourself and what others think of you. People with healthy self-esteem trust themselves and their abilities. They aren’t afraid of what others think about them. Examples of healthy and positive self-esteem are:
Developing a positive self-image or perception
Respecting yourself and your choices or decisions
Not being influenced by what others think of you
Humans are social beings by nature and friendly relationships boost social and mental well-being. Interpersonal skills refer to the ability to positively engage with others and coexist amicably. Interpersonal relationships include a host of interrelated skills, such as:
The ability to spark up conversations in unfamiliar or new settings (e.g., business conferences)
The ability to make others feel comfortable in your presence (e.g., a job interview where you build rapport)
The ability to manage conflict and resolve issues (e.g., respectfully disagreeing with your manager and offering a different solution)
It isn’t easy to put your foot down, without hurting somebody’s feelings. Assertiveness teaches you how to maintain a delicate balance by helping you express yourself freely without hurting someone’s feelings. In the workplace, it’s especially difficult to establish boundaries and saying no to people. By being assertive, you can communicate your needs and expectations in a respectful manner.
One of the most crucial life skills, effective communication, includes verbal and non-verbal communication. It goes beyond a simple exchange of words or gestures and involves the ability to express yourself clearly. Examples of effective communication are:
Delivering ideas skillfully and persuading others of those ideas
Using appropriate tone, language and non-verbal cues when presenting information or interacting with someone
Paying attention to your emotions as well as others and making others feel comfortable in your presence
It refers to the ability to think critically i.e., separating facts from opinions. This enhances the ways in which we articulate and express our thoughts and ideas. The flexibility and fluency in the thought process make room for creative and innovative thinking. Critical thinking includes multiple abilities such as:
Identifying and planning for risks in advance
Differentiating between opinions and facts
Challenging personal biases and looking at situations from an objective perspective
The ability to use available information to assess a situation and make an informed choice is known as decision-making. It helps develop problem-solving skills and is a highly valuable trait in the workplace. Examples of decision-making skills are:
Not being influenced by external factors when deciding something
Being certain about your needs, expectations and end goals
Being able to separate your emotions and engaging in rational thinking
Time management helps you stay on track, organize your activities and work well under pressure. It further reduces stress and allows you to set goals successfully. To stay organized and on top of your priorities, you must manage your time smartly. Time management skills have several advantages, such as:
Knowing how to spend your time productively and staying organized
Setting priorities and saying no to things that aren’t urgent
Feeling less stressed and having the energy to accomplish things successfully
People often view negotiation as a zero-sum game, while in reality, it involves a win-win situation. The ability to compromise or settle in an argument that benefits everyone is the cornerstone of successful negotiation. It’s an important interpersonal skill that helps resolve conflicts and solves problems.
High emotional intelligence and empathy allow you to accept others who may be very different from you. You show compassion, support and respond to situations appropriately. Empathy improves the quality of social relationships, encouraging trust and respect between you and others.
Being aware of life skills isn’t enough. You need to find ways to actively implement them for successful careers and relationships. Harappa Education’s Leading Self course will help you embark on your journey of discovering your true potential. You’ll learn how to overcome roadblocks and step outside your comfort zone. The Ladder of Learning framework will help you learn everything about competence and skills. You’ll embrace opportunities for growth and learning and pursue the best version of yourself!
Explore Harappa Diaries to learn more about topics related to the LEAD Habit such as What are Employability Skills, How to Develop Self-Awareness, Why is Self Motivation important and Guide to Personal SWOT Analysis to become the best version of yourself.
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