5 Skills Everyone Should Have

Red and Gold Treble Clef Email ImageThink back over your life and the skills that proved especially helpful. Which ones rise to the top as musts? (Hint: These skills are ones you may be insisting that your kids get early in life.)

Now think back over your life and the skills you wish you would have had. What skills rise to the top? (Hint: These likely now exist as regrets.)

Sure, our individual lives and personalities impact the skills we need, but many skills remain universal too. Regardless, we certainly gain wisdom from learning about the skills others view as important. We can gain insight by going through the act of listing these skills, of taking the time to process the regrets and the successes both of ourselves and others

These are skills I think would benefit everyone.

  1. Fun Colorful NumbersHow to read and play music. I gave up learning music too early in life and have missed out on opportunities to serve through music because of my lack of skill. For this reason, I mightily encourage this skill in my son, who has an aptitude for and interest in music.
  2. How to outline thoughts & ideas. The ability to organize thoughts helps in seemingly unending ways. From giving a presentation to coworkers to discussing a problem with your spouse to giving your testimony, the ability to outline is invaluable. I’m so thankful this skill exists naturally in my repertoire.
  3. How to do math. Math does not come easily for me. I wish I would have pushed more in this area and further developed these skills. Maybe I wouldn’t need my fingers to add and multiply. Because of this gap in my life, I encourage my youngest all the more with his similar struggles.
  4. How to play sports. I would like to have developed this earlier in life. I see the confidence it gives both my boys (one naturally athletic, the other not), and I realize the benefit it could have also given me at their ages.
  5. How to be healthy. I call this an ability because it’s something everyone can develop. An ability to understand and apply health and wellness knowledge allows us to be our best physically, so we can be our best mentally and spiritually too.

Volleyball in Red and WhiteI realize these skills may not interest everyone, but being interested isn’t always that important. In fact, I wish someone would have pushed me as a kid to develop skills I wasn’t interested in at the time. Doing so helps develop us in ways that make our natural abilities stronger and amplify what we do enjoy.

For another point of view, the November 2013 issue of Real Simple lists the following 5 skills as ones everyone should have: (1.) How to be alone. (2.) How to take a compliment. (3.) How to keep a conversation going. (4.) How to ask for feedback. (5.) How to remember names.

All good skills to have! In fact, when I read the Real Simple list, I want to throw out my list and take theirs as my own. This shows the value of sharing these ideas. So, let’s do just that!

DISCUSSION: What 5 skills do you think everyone should have?

One more thing… As I over-analyze, which I can’t always stop from happening, I see how un-spiritual I am with my list and the ones I desire from the Real Simple list. Then I realize these skills – all our skills, really – exist for us to use as tools, tools to communicate and to connect with others. Aha! There’s the connection!

23 thoughts on “5 Skills Everyone Should Have

  1. First, I'm in bad shape in that first list. I do not qualify in either #1 or #3. What would I put? These are not in order. Stay healthy (exercise, eating, sleeping right, etc). Learn to relax (take time away). Learn to get along with others and put other people before yourself. Worship God. Learn how to have fun, to laugh at the little things, learn the value of a sunrise and watching a baby. I'm not sure those are skills exactly Kari, but that list is what makes me tick.

    • Really, that's the point, Bill. To think about what makes us tick, what's most important to us to the point that we want to instill them in others, so we can begin to simplify our lives toward that which God created in us for a focus. Does that make sense? I am focusing a lot in future posts on reducing busyness and becoming strong and associated topics, and I believe that understanding how God made each one of us tick in a unique way is an important part of that.

  2. Kari,
    My list would be to learn to listen well, to develop how to work well with people, to be willing to serve and give, to have good time management skills, to communicate expectations and find out what others are.

    • Great list, Mark! What strikes me about it is that these are skills that I want my boys to learn & that I hope we are teaching & modeling for them at least to some extent. Even more though is the idea that the sooner they learn them, the better. Gets harder and harder as we go through life to incorporate these types of skills into our character.

  3. I laugh because I too was forced to give up music way to quickly, a shortage of money for lessons and a busy farm life contributed to that, but I could have kept it up as an adult and did not.
    I too need to count with fingers and toes when adding!
    I have never been good at athletics, probably because I didn't have opportunity to play them with when young, and I have always preferred to cheer others on.
    As for healthy, well that is a work in progress and has differed as I age. That IS an important skill if you call it that, to have.
    I believe for me it would include learning to spend time with God, alone or with others. To learn I am valued just because I am HIS creation.
    Learning to listen is another skill I am still working on but I wish I had learned it better as a child.
    Respect for others, not matter who they are. Appreciating others for who they are and not who you would have them.
    I am sure there are more, but I am not good as I should be at organizing my thoughts on the run.

    • All very important points, Mary. What stands out is the root in childhood. Just proves my point about wanting to instill certain things in my kids while they are young. It will serve them well to have certain skills from a young age.

  4. Focusing on our health is so essential. Even though I'm young, I make sure to be intentional about eating right and working out. Knowing that what I do today can impact me for years to come. I personally believe more people should learn the skill of being healthy. Great post as always!:)

  5. I love this post, Kari! I would list a second language as one I regret not learning. I took Latin in high school, but that obviously does not count!

    While it may seem obvious, I would also include learning to enjoy reading. Too many adults never found enjoyment in reading as a child and therefore do not read as adults. I believe there is so much growth available to us in reading Scripture and other books! A void here is too costly – not just in a financial sense, but also regarding eternal impact!

    • Thanks, Chris. You add to very good ones. I have forced both my boys to read regularly, and one now has a passion for reading. The other, well, he's made progress. And with just the right book, my youngest will read on his own too. I don't regret forcing this on them at all. And, we are strongly encouraging them to learn a second language. Our oldest is in his 2nd year of Spanish. Not sure if the other one will take it too, but we'll try to get him to! Both very important. I have always read, but I did not learn another language and wished I would have.

      Also, anyone reading the comments needs to also check out your post that connects with the spirit of this one. Here's the link: http://christianfaithatwork.com/what-does-your-fu

  6. I love your list Kari! We don't have to excel in every area but knowing how to participate is key. I think my list would include knowing how to: 1. Be a friend. 2. Be persistent. 3. Be silent or speak as needed. 4. Make and stick to a budget. 5. Serve others. I could change my mind tomorrow, but today those are at the top of my list.

    • Thanks, Deb. You make an interesting point about how your list might be different tomorrow. That happens with me too. Though, the more centered and focused I am and stay, the less that happens.

  7. Boy, good think I'm not a legalist! I'm not athletic, but work at staying in shape. I dont read music, but have often wondered what that part of my brain would be like. I think what yo uare saying is to expand our brains — and then see what God can do!

    • Good thing I'm not either. Well, maybe I'm a recovering legalist, but that's an entirely different topic. It was more of a self-assessment by looking back & thinking about regrets as a way of planning & thinking about the future. Just trying something different… and seeing what God would do with it.

  8. That's a fun question to think of. I'd probably say 1) how to think and analyze, 2) how to communicate well – including writing, speaking and being a good conversationalist, 3) how to work which would include being a self-starter and avoiding procrastination, 4) how to renew your mind, 5) how to have a vibrant relationship with God. Although, I might come up with a different list, if I thought longer!

    I went to a great homeschool seminar when the kids were little. They said we should each decide what we think is most important to teach the kids and then teach them those things. This was great advice. The things I came up with were the things on the list I just gave, so although i made my kids take the basics, science, math, etc – I was more interested in the habits they were developing.

    • Deb also said she might think of other things on another day. You're so right about being interested in the habits they're developing rather than the topics they're studying. When my kids comment on something they think is stupid that they're studying, I remind them that it's the habits they're developing that are important. Maybe one day they'll fully understand that. I just think it's important to think about what skills and habits are important rather than just catching whatever happens our way.

  9. Great question: I would offer the following skills or talents. 1. Learn to recognize and make the most of the gifts and talents God gave you; 2. Be able to relate to others, even when they are hard to get along with; 3. Be humble and share success with others freely; 4. Know when to speak and when to be silent and listen, and know which is more important; 5. Know the difference of wisdom versus knowledge, on empowers the other.

    Your list is good too, but I was thinking in a broader sense that while we may excel in sports, music, math or writing ideas, how we use those gift are important too.

    God bless.

    • Your list and especially your comment after made me realize that the skills I listed are ways I feel we can learn the character traits that your list seems to focus on. And when I think about it, I realize that developing character traits is one reason I feel certain skills are important. Does that make sense?

  10. Hummmm…well I do not regret not playing sports, I was and still am a cheer leader for those who play sports. Every sport needs a few like me. What can I add that has not already been added.

    Be faithful in the small things so the hard ones will not be so hard.
    Be a reader and not be afraid to ask questions.
    Be flexible.
    And I would add what Couch Mike said…

    • We definitely need cheerleaders (encouragement) in our lives. The Bible calls all of us to be one actually. I am thankful for the cheerleaders in my own life & need to determine to be a better one myself.

  11. Hmmm… this is a tough one because I could think of many. I like the idea of playing music. I would also add enjoying good books. I like your number 5 skill as well. I like the idea of keeping a conversation going. And then I'd add the skill to control your own emotions – that's a good one.

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