Being 28 years old now, I think little of the past and don’t feel sorry for many things happened there. However, at times I wish I was taught earlier the things that I’ve learnt just recently. 

We did have some kind of a self-improvement class in school. And I suppose some of the 16 life skills that should be taught in school and are discussed in this article, our teacher tried to tell us during classes, but either I forgot all of them because of little attention paid to the teacher’s words, or else they were of minor importance for me at that time.

I still think that at least a few hours of some personal development classes instead of German language classes would have been a good idea. I feel certain that it would also be helpful for students all over the world today as much as for the society in general.

Thus, I present 16 life skills not taught in school, but which I would like to have been taught.

16 Life Skills Not Taught in School

  1. The 80/20 rule.

The 80/20 rule (another name The Pareto Principle) can help to learn how to use time more effectively. The main principle is that 80% of the value comes from 20% of activities. It means that most of your activities are not as useful as you may think. Thus, this rule can help you to understand how to spend your time wisely on things that really matter. As a result, you will save much time and energy for the things that are useful and make you happier. 

  1. Parkinson’s Law.

Many things can be done faster than you consider. Parkinson’s Law states that a task expands in time and gets more complex when you set aside more time to perform it. For example, if you decide to find a solution within seven days, then the issue seems to become more complex and you spend more time on finding a reasonable solution.

Thus, you should spend your time on solutions. Just take less time, two hours (instead of twenty-four) or twenty-four hours (instead of seven days) to resolve the issue. It helps your mind to be focused on finding solutions and taking actions.

This method also helps to do many things faster improving ability to focus, and considerably saves time.

  1. Batching.

Many routine tasks make you bored and create a delay and lower anxiety level. You can do such things quicker by just batching them, meaning that you can do them all one by one, in a row.

The efficiency is proved by the fact that you spend less start-up time. Besides, when you batch, you are more concentrated and engaged in the tasks. An example of a batch can be as follows: Clean the desk / answer emails / do the dishes / make four calls / write a shopping list, etc.

  1. Firstly, give value, then get value.

There exist an idea that someone should give or do something for us before we act the same. From such kind of thinking there often arises a lot of problems. If you aim at increasing the value you get (e.g. affection, kindness, money, opportunities, a big audience for what you create etc.), you should also increase the value you give. This is because you often get pretty much of what you give. It surely can be good to receive something giving nothing. Though that never happens.

  1. Be proactive rather than reactive.

Too many reactive personalities can result in little productivity. You can also sit and wait until someone starts doing something, which is not a rare thing, but too much time can be wasted before it happens.

The most beneficial solution lies in being proactive, being simply the one, who first takes some practical actions and gets the ball rolling. It can save you a lot of precious time, and can give more pleasure as you feel in control of your life.

  1. Mistakes and failures are good.

Being young, you are usually braver to try things, even if you fail, until you get to know the outcomes. But when you get older, you learn from the past mistakes trying fewer things.

This may result in you decreased proactivity and increased reactivity, when you wait for another person to take actions. And what bad can it bring, if you try and fail doing something? Probably it feels humiliating when others laugh at you?

It actually is humiliating. But after all it is not the end of the world. Moreover, people don’t actually care much about your failures experiencing their own challenges.

In fact, you can become successful only if you don’t give up in spite of mistakes and failures. Success does come from persistence.

  1. Don’t beat yourself up.

I was wondering why people quit many things after experiencing few mistakes or failures. The answer is pretty simple:  they just beat themselves up way too much. Though such a habit is sort of useless. It only adds more of unnecessary pain and wastes much of your precious time. It is vital to just give up such a habit as soon as you can.

  1. Assuming rapport.

Getting to know new people can be of great fun. However, it can also make you more nervous in your desire to make a good first impression.

In order to succeed in this assume rapport, i.e. simply imagine that you meet your best friend. It is always easier to be engaged in a conversation having such an attitude.

  1. Use your reticular activation system to your advantage.

Body organs and how they function were learned in class but I was never told a word about the reticular activation system. This is shameful because it is one of the most useful things.

R.A.S allows you to find out in the things surrounding you what your thoughts are focused on. It is helpful as you can easily find what you are searching for. Thus, just focus on things you want to have or achieve and keep your focus steady.

Set goals and review them from time to time. It will also help you to be focused on important things and take actions, which drag you closer to your aim.

One more approach is using an external reminder. It can be a piece of paper where you write down a few principles from this article, “Be proactive” or “Mistakes and failures are good”. And then put this little note where you can frequently see it.

  1. Attitude changes reality.

Many times in our life we hear that we should be positive or sometimes even change out attitude to some things. It is quite a useful piece of advice. However, without proper motivation and reasons it can be very easily just brushed off while you go on with your old attitude.

Nevertheless, during last few years, I’ve found out that the change in attitude actually changes reality. When you start feeling more positive, you observe many interesting things unnoticed by you before. You think like, “why haven’t I seen it before?” Changing an attitude changes your focus and all familiar things of your world are now seen from a different perspective.

This tip is pretty much similar with the previous one. I just wanted to give a special attention to this one because when your attitude changes, you are able to make a considerable change in your own world. Although it may seem different, when you only think of it. 

You may think that your pessimism is just realism, but it is not so. Your reticular activation system is just turned on seeing everything negatively. That can help you to feel always “right”, which is probably what pleases you. However, you can find more fun in many other things rather than in being “right” at all times.

If you really want to change your attitude in practical life (not only thinking about this concept as a potential one in your mind), you will surely be surprised with the outcomes.

  1. Gratitude makes you feel happy.

Of course, I was taught to be grateful. The reason was that it is a good thing to feel thankful, and I knew that I should do it. Though, if I had ever been told that if I were grateful about various things for a minute or two, it would turn any negativity into happiness, I would have practiced gratitude more.

It can also serve a good tool if you want to keep your attitude up and focus on the right things. Make other people feel happy as well. This will make you even more joyful as you know emotions are catching.

  1. Do not compare.

Ego always strives for comparing. Its eternal goal is to find reasons to make you feel good about who you are. But while trying to achieve this goal, you may also face a difficulty of comparing yourself with those who have more than you (“Oh no, Bill has a cooler bike!”). As a result, you don’t feel positive about yourself. The more you compare yourself with other people, the more control you let them have over you. As such, it becomes like a rollercoaster of mixed feelings.

There exists another useful strategy for fighting the desire to compare yourself with others. Just try to trace your progress: compare your beginning with the accomplishments. Thus, you’ll be able to see how much you’ve grown and appreciate more your own situation. It probably does not sound like much fun, though, in some time it does bring a lot of satisfaction.

  1. 80-90% of your fears never come to life.

Be sure and consoled that most of your fears will never happen. They are just like monsters and live nowhere else but in your head. If they do come to life, they still are not as painful or bad as you might expect. Worrying thoughts are just great waste of your precious time.

I do understand that it might be easy to say. But just try to remind yourself of how few of your fears have happened throughout the course of your life, and you will get a chance to actually relieve some stress and be released from many worrying thoughts.

  1. Don’t take it too seriously.

It’s so easy to be absorbed with so many problems. Though most of your worries cannot be justified and cannot ever be fulfilled. What seems like an insurmountable obstacle at the moment, you may not even recall in five years’ time.

When you take yourself, your feelings and emotions, and your thoughts too seriously, it will lead you to terrible suffering and even deep depression. Thus, just relax and take most of your everyday happenings easy. That will have a more positive impact on your mood and your life in the whole.

  1. Write everything down.

If you have memory like a leaking bucket, many of your great ideas are under the threat of being lost forever. Though, there is a chance to save them and fulfill later on. Just make it a habit and write all your plans and ideas down. This can also help you to stay focused on the most desirable things.

  1. Find opportunities in every experience.

Each new experience brings many things from which you can learn something useful, and which can help you to grow into a strong personality. Some negative experiences, mistakes, and failures are even more valuable than positive ones as they teach some totally new things, which any of the good experiences could never do.

When you are experiencing something negative, just ask yourself: what benefit can I get out of this hurdle? What is my opportunity here? What can I gain from it? Even one negative experience can be a good start for many positive ones in the course of time.

Thus, I made an attempt to draw 16 major life skills that should be taught in school. Unfortunately, it is a wide known fact that school doesn’t prepare us for life and many of us feel frustrated leaving it, not knowing how to face the reality and overcome different obstacles. In addition, it often happens that skills you learn in school are useless and have no practical value. I do hope that the mentioned above 16 life skills not taught in school will be really useful for many of the readers.