We live in the golden age of self-development. The internet makes a seemingly limitless amount of information readily available.
Abundant information is great for self-development. However, it can also be overwhelming. Where should you start?
In my opinion, the most important thing is that you do start. Procrastinating will only make things harder.
However, if you are interested in saving time, I suggest you start with these 4 skills.
1. Learn how to learn
Technological advancement happens at a blistering pace, and it shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. This rapid progress makes learning how to learn incredibly important.
If you have been in the workforce for more than a couple of years, you have probably seen this kind of transformation. The skills you need to be successful at your job today are probably not the exact same that you needed 5 years ago.
The faster and more effectively you can learn, the better. Learning quickly will allow you to keep up with any changes in your career field. It will also add to your job security. Learning faster makes it much less likely that your skillset will eventually become obsolete.
Not to mention, the more skills you have, the more valuable you become. Asking for a raise is always hard. However, if you come to your boss with new and/or improved skills, you are more likely to be successful next time you ask for a raise.
Ok, curiosity might not actually be a skill. But it is important.
Curiosity is important for two main reasons.
- It works well when combined with learning how to learn. When you are curious and know how to learn, you can figure out the answers to your curiosity much faster.
- You should always be asking questions. How can I fix this? How does this work? Why do we do it like that? How can this be done faster? Is this the most efficient way to do it? Constantly asking questions like that will take you far. You can’t answer a question you have never even thought to ask.
Many people ask me if I regret getting my degree in Mathematics since I don’t “use it” in my job. Whenever that happens, I can’t help but chuckle inside because that could not be further from the truth. At its core, Mathematics is all about problem-solving. You have a problem, tools, and strategies to use to solve that problem.
Most high paying jobs involve some problem-solving. Thus, learning to solve problems is a skill that transfers over to many different career fields.
There are three main steps to solving any problem.
- Fully understand the problem
“If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.”
― Albert Einstein
Don’t make the mistake of taking this step lightly. In my opinion, this step is critical. Fully understanding what the problem is asking saves you a lot of time and headaches. There is nothing more frustrating than working hard to solve a problem to find out you did not answer the question being asked.
2. Understand the tools and strategies that you have at your disposal
Different fields will solve different problems with different tools and strategies. It is important to keep the tools and strategies at your disposal in mind so that you can use the most effective ones.
When you always use a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail. If you are consistent with the first two skills listed, the number of tools in your toolbox should be sizable.
3. Solve the problem
If you do the first two steps correctly, this step should be nothing more than a formality.
“Nothing in life is more important than the ability to communicate effectively.”
Gerald R. Ford
It doesn’t matter how smart you are if you can’t communicate important information fast and effectively.
The simpler you can explain something, the better, as long as you still get all the essential points of your message across.
Take writers and YouTubers, for example. The ones that are most successful are not always the ones who are the smartest or do the best work. The most successful ones are usually the ones that communicate the best.
There is an overwhelming amount of information available to us today. That is great for self-improvement if you can sift through all that information and start with the most critical skills.
It is impossible to predict all the skills that jobs of the future will require. However, these 4 skills have stood the test of time.
- Learning how to learn