Tuesday, October 21, 2008

8 Essential Skills They Didn't Teach You In School

What are the top skills that should be taught to every man, woman, and child who enters our education system? Here are a few that aren’t taught at all:

1. How to Make People Like You and Network

For a skill that affects every area of your life (from dating, to family, to work), it’s amazing how little people know about this. There is great power in knowing you can reach out to your network whenever you have a problem to solve, to be able to reach key influencers at conferences and meetings, to make an impression on audiences, to project confidence and trustworthiness, and to make friends with other successful people.

Required reading: How to Win Friends and Influence People and How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships.

2. How to Speed Read and the Power of Audio Books

Speed reading and speed comprehension is real. The nominal investment of time it takes to learn pays off in spades for the rest of your life. The same goes with audio books. If you spend an hour per day in the car learning instead of cursing at other drivers, you will have attended the equivalent of an entire semester course.

Required reading: The Psychology of Achievement by Brian Tracey

3. How to Set Goals and Manage Time

Want to know how to get anything done in life? Our school system doesn’t feel that this is worth teaching. If you have ever found yourself being busy all day only to wonder what you accomplished at the end of it, then you need to learn this.

Required reading: Getting Things Done, Eat That Frog, No B.S. Time Management For Entrepreneurs

4. How to Read a Financial Statement

Robert Kiyosaki is fond of saying that the rich teach their children how to read financial statements and the poor do not. Schools have never been very good at teaching people how to get rich, probably in no small part because professors are generally poor and wouldn’t know how to teach it.

Required reading: Cash Flow Quadrant, or this blog article

5. How to Negotiate and Use Contracts

If you want to accomplish anything of significance you’re going to have to work with other people. There is a certain art to structuring good contracts and measuring results. School teaches you none of this and most people have to learn it from the school of hard knocks.

Required reading: Donald Trump’s The Art Of The Deal

6. How to Save and Invest

People are never taught how to build wealth, which is why the nation is in credit card debt. Moreover, people are never taught the power of passive income streams and how to really break free from the rat race of working 9-to-5. There is a whole body of literature on this topic which is never even touched upon in traditional education.

Required reading: The Richest Man In Babylon, The Millionaire Next Door, or Ben Franklin’s The Way To Wealth

7. How to be Successful in Life

Some people have devoted a lifetime to understanding what makes people happy and successful. There are the big three: health, wealth, and relationships. People need to find what they really want to do with their life. There is a lot to learn here!

Required reading: What To Say When You Talk To Yourself, When I Say No I Feel Guilty, Think and Grow Rich, The Way Of The Superior Man

8. How to Spread an Idea and Basic Marketing

The basics of marketing are something everyone should understand. Even if you don’t think you’re in marketing, you’re in marketing. If you have an idea at work, or want to get a raise, or want to convince your kids to go see a movie, then there is something applicable from the marketing world.

Required reading: Dan Kennedy’s The Ultimate Sales Letter, CopyBlogger, The Psychology of Influence

Lifehack.org August 15, 2008


Read said...

Awesome list. I'm going to bookmark this page and start reading. It really is sad how the schools fail to teach many "non-academic" skills which are essential to success in life. My parents always kept me abreast of their financial situation and showed me how they were managing their money. This has been invaluable for me when learning to manage my own money, but not all parents do this.

I also wanted to mention that, for those who have difficulty reading standard print size, there is a great site I found at http://www.readhowyouwant.com/pcsWebUI/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=13231. I know they have "Eat That Frog", and they might have some of the others, but I'm not sure.

Anyway, thanks for the great list.

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