The 10 most important life skills

If we were to ask someone on the street what they think are the most important life skills, they would probably tell us a lot, but they would all be directly related to three main aspects: social relations, development and good use of cognitive abilities and management of emotions. .

There are various skills related to these three aspects that are present in virtually everything, whether at work, at school, with family, with friends or as a couple.

Of all the proposals that exist on skills for life the most important and considered the most “standard” is that of the WHO of 1999, ten competences in total which we will see in more detail below.

    What are life skills?

    The world is a diverse place, made up of around 7 billion people, each with their own unique personality, characteristics and abilities. No one person is equal to another, but in this diversity we must all have developed specific skills to thrive in life. These life skills are what enable us to survive and cope with the social, physical and emotional demands of our existence.

    There are several skills that we might consider essential for life and even each might have their own list of what they are. Most would agree that it is important to have a lot of relationships with others, to recognize and manage our emotions, to accept ourselves as we are and to know how to make the right decisions. They also point out that it is very important to understand others without making hasty judgments about the way they are and to speak our opinions confidently and kindly.

    But of all the life skill lists we could mention the most important is the 1999 proposal of the World Health Organization (WHO), Organization that specifies in 10 the most important life skills or HPV, defining them as the skills necessary to be able to behave in an appropriate and positive way, allowing us to effectively cope with the demands and challenges of daily life.

    Originally, these 10 vital skills were developed to prevent problems directly related to public health, including the use of drugs like alcohol, tobacco and cannabis at an early age. They also aimed to prevent high-risk behaviors in the population, improve the health habits of the population, prevent discrimination, promote self-esteem and positive social relationships and encourage school performance, considering themselves to be important not only for health but also for cognitive and social aspects.

    The main life skills and their usefulness

    According to the WHO, there are ten most important life skills, the first four being social skills, 5-8 cognitive skills and the last two skills for controlling emotions.

    1. Self-knowledge

    As the name suggests, self-knowledge is self-knowledgeThat is, recognizing how we are in terms of character, personality, strengths, weaknesses, likes and aspects that we don’t like so much. Having developed this skill allows us to easily recognize the aspects that we need to improve, which allows us to progress as people.

    It is also important because before you can deal with others, it is essential to know yourself. We need to know how we are to be able to see how well we are up to what our society demands of us and, therefore, whether a change is more or less urgent. Knowing yourself will allow us to motivate us in life, to know what we need to achieve our dreams and achieve greater well-being.

    2. Empathy

    In essence, we can define empathy as the ability to imagine what other people’s emotions and experiences look like, even in situations where we are unfamiliar.

    This ability is essential to be able to understand what others are like, to accept as they are even if they are very different from us, and thus to establish social interactions based on mutual respect and understanding.

    3. Assertive communication

    Assertive communication is the ability to expressing oneself in an appropriate, socially appropriate way, but without hiding what we think and really want to say. It involves both verbal and non-verbal skills and the peculiarities of the cultural context should be taken into account when communicating with others.

    Having this skill well developed allows us to achieve our personal goals in a socially acceptable way and does not harm others. It is very important to pay attention to the way we say things, not disturbing our interlocutor, but expressing them in a clear and concise way.

    This ability allows us to seek advice or help when needed, which is not often easy for us. Moreover, it involves not only asking others, but also asking them if they are doing well, actively listening to them to find out what their dreams and emotions are, and thus trying to help them as much as possible.

      4. Interpersonal relationships

      Being in a positive relationship with others is a key skill to be able to survive on a daily basis since the human being is a social animal. The ability of interpersonal relationships is a necessary ability to start and maintain good relationships with others, whether with a friend, family member or partner,

      It is a fundamental skill for developing good social and mental well-being, not only by helping us have good social relationships, but also by making it easier for us when we cut off with those who are toxic and do not benefit us. Knowing how to maintain interpersonal relationships is not only about having good friendships, but also cutting off with people who put our mental health at risk.

      5. Decision making

      To have a successful and full life, you need to know how to make good decisions. It is clear that we make mistakes throughout our lives, but in most situations, as long as we think about what to do next, we can survive on a daily basis.

      Make good decisions involves knowing how to choose, behaving proactively, with initiative, determination and being able to anticipate problems or needs. It involves being consistent with the decisions we make, pre-evaluating what we decide, and knowing what the best way forward is.

      6. Problem and conflict management

      Closely related to the previous point, problem and conflict management can be understood as the ability to resolve problematic situations in an assertive, peaceful and functional manner.

      All the problems in this life demand an answer from us, because it is not as easy as just ignoring them: problems do not magically disappear.

      As a skill, problem and conflict management enables us to deal with the wide range of issues that arise in life, preventing these situations from becoming chronic and crystallizing in the form of physical, mental, emotional and psychosocial damage. . Among the skills of this skill would be the ability to reflect, analyze, change and improve any situation, learn from it and grow personally.

      7. Creative thinking

      Creative thinking is a very important skill in this life, directly related to dealing with problems. involved consider and take decisions that go beyond the normative, considering that a new alternative could give better results than what has already been tried previously for the same problem.

      Thinking creatively involves imagining possible scenarios before applying a new way of solving a problem, trying to understand if it’s really worth a try and, if it failed, try to recycle that same idea but from a new perspective.

        8. Critical thinking

        Critical thinking is the ability to objectively analyze the information and experiences that unfold in our lives. Often times, the information we receive from our family, friends, school, and most importantly, the media is biased or distorted in a way that encourages a specific opinion.

        Critical thinking would be the ability to try to go beyond what has been given to us, to see to what extent what we have been told is true and how much information has been withheld from us. We must analyze, compare and objectively judge the information that is told to us in order to be able to have a totally our opinion on a concept or a social subject.

        9. Managing emotions and feelings

        Knowing how to recognize our mood and understand the best way to change it functionally is a key aspect of our mental health. Managing emotions and feelings is the skill of learning to feel, to express ourselves emotionally and to manage our feelings, to understand what we are feeling and how to deal with it, Preventing it from harming our daily life or harming our social relations.

        10. Managing tension and stress

        Finally, stress and stress management is a very important life skill, directly related to the above, which involves know how to recognize when you are stressed, apply relaxation techniques and eliminate this stress or channel to make it something constructive.

        It also involves recognizing what the sources of this stress are, what its effects are on our lives, and how its occurrence can adversely affect our social relationships, our work and our academic productivity. Since stress is already considered an epidemic, stress management is well developed and stress is considered an extremely adaptive skill for 21st century society.

        to summarize

        Although there are many criteria used to define what life skills are, WHO considers them to be the ten most important in our daily life. These skills take into account social relationships, the cognitive environment and the management of emotions, three fundamental aspects to be able to develop and progress as a fully functional person.

        Living a healthy lifestyle is not only about avoiding risky behaviors such as using drugs or having unprotected sex, but it is also about having a good social life, feeling successful in life and having emotions. are managed correctly. Having an assertive communication style, satisfying emotional management and prosocial behavior are aspects that allow us to survive in the midst of the complex and diverse jungle that is society.

        Bibliographical references:

        • Mantilla, L. (1999). Skills for life: an educational proposal for better living together. Bogota.
        • Melero, J (2010). Skills for life: a model to educate Zaragoza in a meaningful way
        • World Health Organization. (1999). Guidelines: Life skills education programs for schools. Geneva, Switzerland.
        • Cuartero, N. (2014). From self-awareness to social competence. Educational notebooks (442), p. 65.

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