Hundreds of hours of trigonometry and world history in school have helped us start conversations about how irrelevant schooling was, and not much else. To survive, we need dozens of practical life skills that we can’t learn at any institution – experience is the best teacher. Here are eleven key skills you have to master by the time you turn 25.
- Maintaining an apartment or a house
This is probably the most essential skill on the list! There’s no point in earning a steady income and cooking the tastiest food on Earth if your home is in a state of absolute disrepair. You have to know how to fix broken pipes, change a lightbulb, replace a fuse and more. Does your house have a fire extinguisher? Check its pressure. This is a very useful home maintenance checklist we should all go through.
- Using a credit card without ending up in debtSwiping a card and making a purchase is one thing. Not ending up in debt as a young adult is quite another. Many people can’t control their purchases and end up in an endless cycle of credit card debt, where they can’t even make minimum payments. Speaking of minimum payments, you might want to know that those are your last resort, and you should pay your whole bill at the earliest unless you want half the next bill to be interest and overdue charges.
Grew up with mom or dad preparing your dinner every night? Too bad, they won’t live with you forever. Cooking is an essential part of being independent. Start off with some simple pasta and dessert recipes. Once you’ve figured out the stove and the oven, move on to more serious dishes like chicken curry, lasagne, and the rest. There’s only so long you can survive on cheap home delivery.
- First Aid
You never know when a piece of glass slashes your fingertip in half. By the time you get to the hospital, that fingertip has been exposed to all sorts of germs and dirt – learn some first aid skills to bandage it up before it’s badly infected. While you’re on that site, pick up some knowledge of what to when someone has a heart attack too.
- Being in functional relationships
Whether it’s with your girlfriend, wife, parents or children, it’s important that all your personal relationships are fully functional. Perfect happiness may be a dream for most people, but you can at least work towards keeping your loved ones close. Did your dad just learn how to make desserts, and make you try a cupcake? Say a wholehearted thank-you, even if it tasted awful. You can give your honest feedback as well, but appreciate other people’s efforts first. Respect is at the heart of every working relationship.
- Applying for jobsSome of us are lucky enough to inherit a family business or trade of some sort. The rest of us need to hunt for the best possible job we can get. It’s too bad that many people are really awful at this, and end up in underpaid, boring jobs that demand more working hours than being the prime minister. Find the right way to apply for a job using Google.
- Accepting CriticismIt’s the hardest thing to do: accepting you’re wrong, that you have faults, that you made a mistake. This is what makes many people slip in life. They can’t accept criticism when they need to. Know that you aren’t perfect and it’s quite okay to blunder every now and then. Figure out the right way to take constructive criticism when it’s hurled at you.
- Public SpeakingAt some point during your career, you’ll have to get onto a stage and speak to an audience. Surely you don’t want to stutter and stammer and drop your notes on the way to the podium. Relax. Keep it simple, appear confident even if you aren’t. Try out these tips if you feel like you need some help learning to speak in public.
- Learn when it’s time to change some of your deep-rooted beliefsEvery hard experience in life leaves us with at least one profound belief that is unlikely to change for a very long time, if ever. The problem here is that beliefs that served us well at one age may not work at all after a few years. When you were 18, perhaps you thought that the key to happiness was partying. Feasting like an animal, downing vodka by the bottle on Saturdays and smoking like a 19th century railway engine. At 30, you have no energy left to do this – and that’s perfectly fine, but your beliefs from twelve years ago are stuck in your head. You still feel that you need to party every weekend to remain happy, and this is making you miserable. The key here is understanding that old beliefs need to be changed completely because they can come in the way of leading a comfortable life.
- Surviving without electricityWe take electricity for granted to the point that we’ve forgotten how 90% of the world didn’t have any a few decades ago. Power failures may be rare, but when they do hit your area, you don’t want to be unprepared. Keep a diesel generator at hand. If you don’t have space for one, make sure you always have a box of candles, some matches and a battery-operated fan in your house.
- Maintaining a car or bikeMost car owners have no idea what to do if their car breaks down in the middle of a highway. Replace a tire? Start the car if the battery’s drained? No clue. Read a 101 maintenance guide for whatever kind of vehicle you own or plan to buy.
Do you have any other life skills that are absolutely necessary? Do share them with me on firstname.lastname@example.org!
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