What are life skills?

Once you grow up and are well into your adulthood, no one is really going to ask you how much you scored in a particular subject or whether or not you stood first or last in class. Other than potential employers, no one is really interested in your marksheets and certificates either.

What always matters is your behaviour and attitude and how you take on the daily challenges that life throws at you – how you conduct yourself, how you manage your daily chores, how independent you are, how you take certain decisions, how you perform under any form of stress, how you manage your valuable time, how you handle negative influences, and so on.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines life skills as, ‘abilities for adaptive and positive behaviour that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life’. There are some skills that are inherent, but not everyone possesses all skills. The earlier we learn to do things on our own, the better it is for ourselves.

Practise decision-making:

While you need to leave the executive, decisions to your parents, you can take your own decisions, where there’s not much risk involved. Like deciding what flavour of ice-cream you want to have! You had vanilla last time, try a new flavour this time. Or what game you would like to play with your friends or what is the appropriate clothing for today’s weather! It helps you reason and make abstract connection. Every small decision that you make will go a long way in sharpening your decision-making skills.

Take onus:

Help yourself – do basic chores that you can easily accomplish, and you don’t need to bother your parents with. Doing your bed (and theirs), putting your laundry away, watering the plants, setting the table, serving meals to family or guests, packing your tiffin boxes, cold cooking your snacks, putting your own things in place. Don’t these jobs sound easy, yet so important? Imagine how much even small things like these take the burden off your parents’ daily routine!

Manage your time well:

Learn how to prioritise your tasks – do what is more important first and then move on to the rest. We only have a fixed number of hours to do everything we need to finish, and this is a very important skill to master because the numbers of things to do every day only multiply and the time, well, it remains the same.

Learn some necessary skills:

I know many older children who cannot even tie their own shoelaces. Take time out to learn things you don’t know but they need to be done regularly. Fix your own sandwich – it could be a sloppy job but it’s still a sandwich you made all by yourself. Learn how to fold your clothes and put them neatly in your wardrobe. Pack your own bag when you are traveling – the more you do it, the more efficiently you will pack each time.

Money matters:

Learn how to spend wisely. Learn how to save. Know how to maintain a record of expenses – say, when you go for a school trip and your mother gives you some money to spend in a shop. Think about need vs want, about what makes more sense. Make a note in your diary of the expenses and balance amount.

Analytical thinking and having healthy social-emotional skills are paramount. Remember, you are more capable than you will ever realize. Always keep your leaning mode on and nothing can stop you from taking life’s challenges head on.

Like Gandhiji said, ‘Live like you were to die tomorrow and learn as if you were to live forever.’


Picture Credit : Google