We learn a lot of things in school, but many of them aren’t particularly valuable from the standpoint of practicality.
You were probably required to take algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and so on. How many times have you used those math skills after graduation? How many hours did you spend in class learning and studying those subjects? Not the best use of your time unless you entered a profession that uses mathematics.
On the other hand, there are many skills that are important to our life – things we do each and every day, regardless of our profession – that neither the school system nor our parents are likely to teach us.
Consider these valuable life skills:
1. How to sleep. There are several things you can do to sleep better. The most important thing is to have a routine. A few ideas include:
• Avoid eating after dinner.
• Avoid viewing any electronic screens within 60 minutes of going to bed.
• Ensure your sleeping environment is cool and dark.
• Avoid thinking about unpleasant things in bed or before going to bed.
• Relax your entire body from head to toe after climbing into bed.
• Get up at the same time each day.
• These are simple things you might think you already know, but are you doing them?
2. How to deal with discomfort. When you’re feeling uncomfortable, you feel compelled to do something to escape those feelings, rather than dealing with them. Many times, we choose activities that, although they might feel good in the short term, actually undermine our quality of life.
• The key to avoiding many of these behaviors is to learn how to just be with yourself. It takes practice! Try sitting alone with yourself for 15 minutes, without distractions.
• Build up to a solid hour. Just permit yourself to be uncomfortable and observe how it feels.
• This is an important skill. It will help you learn how to deal with the discomfort of failure, social pressure, and allow you to persist in general.
3. How to focus. Children have a poor ability to focus, and that doesn’t change in adulthood unless you teach yourself. However, it’s simply a matter of practice. Focus on something you need to do for just one minute. Stay completely focused on the task. As you get more practice, extend your focus time.
4. How to deal with procrastination. This is very much related to learning how to focus and how to deal with discomfort. Learning those two skills might be enough. But just in case you need more help:
• Start with something small. Even if it means typing one sentence, making a single phone call, or picking one dirty sock up off the floor. Just get started.
• Think about how great it will feel to be finished. You’re probably focused on how awful it will be to do the work. Put your attention on the benefit.
• Avoid thinking about it too much. Procrastination takes time and work to create. Shut down your brain and leap into action. Try to keep a silent mind and just do it before you have time to stop yourself.
Our schools and parents teach us a lot, but there are holes in our knowledge and skills as we enter adulthood. It is our responsibility to learn these skills on our own.
You need to focus, deal with discomfort and procrastination, and sleep each day. Take the time to practice these common, but valuable, life skills. Mastering them will make your life so much more enjoyable!