There are certain things that everyone needs to master in order to be a successful, happy, and healthy adult. I’ve compiled some of these things into this list but have not ordered them in any sort of ranking system.
1. Basic Sewing Skills
Sure, chances are you won’t need to sew an open wound closed, but one of these days, you’re going to need to sew on a strategically placed button before an important meeting. Or you might need to sew a tear in your shirt or pants before or during a first date. Basic sewing skills comes in handy in emergencies but it can also help you save money. We don’t all have money to spend on tailors or extra pants and shirts. When we take care of the clothes that we have, we will buy less to start with – we just won’t need it. In a time where we are bombarded with messages of rampant consumerism, we need to be able to stop and think about what we really need and what we really want, in order to be happy and healthy.
2. Learn how to fold a fitted sheet
Lay the sheet on the bed with all of the elastic corners facing up. Fold one side over to the next and tuck the corners of one side into the other. Smooth the fabric. Now keep folding it in half or thirds until it is the size that you need. If you need a visual, check out this link: http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/cleaning/laundry/fold-fitted-sheet. So you may be thinking, “What does this have to do with making me a better person?” Keeping things clean and organized will help de-stress you. While some people might not find the act of cleaning and organizing relaxing (like I do), the end result will result in less stress in the long run. Instead of being stressed out about small details and having to find things, you’ll know exactly where things are and in what condition they are in.
3. Learn how to cook – anything.
You don’t have to be a gourmet chef. You do need to know how to prepare a simple meal. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, but it does need to be something a little more complex than – let’s say – a ham and cheese sandwich. Being able to make your family a delicious and healthy meal is vital, especially if you’re not the regular cook in the house. There will be a time where your significant other will be out of the house and you’ll need to provide your family with a homecooked meal. Even if you don’t have a family yet, you can further impress a date with your great cooking skills if you can prepare one great meal.
4. Come up with your own time management system that works.
Everyone doesn’t use the same system. Some people find digital planners work well with their lives. Others find it cathartic to use hardcopy, leather bound planner systems. Most people try to use a combination of both. No matter what system you end up with, it is important that you find the one that works for you. This will keep your professional and personal life in good shape.
5. Public speaking
I’m not comfortable in front of a large crowd. I talk too fast and I have a tendency of forgetting what my end goal was. However, I have found a system of notecards, projection, and visual props that I can work with. We don’t all work in a company that needs us to make presentations each quarter. However, having basic public speaking skills will come in handy. You may have to make a toast at a sibling’s wedding. Someone might need you to fill in during a business proposal. You can even use public speaking skills when you’re not in front of a crowd. They can help when you’re just standing in front of your boss, asking for a raise or some extended time off.
Meditation is often associated with certain religions but it’s not wholly about religion. It can be about being closer to God or clearing your mind for prayer. It can also be about clarity and centering yourself. Meditation is about helping your mind achieve a deep feeling of peace by being calm and silent. We live in a fast, crazy world. Our minds don’t find silence often. Regular meditation can help you think clearly and keep everything in perspective. You will also learn how to make smart, well thought out decisions after you establish a regular meditation routine. It is one of the great side effects of regular meditation.
7. Basic first aid
Do you know what to do if you break your arm or if a family member breaks a bone? Do you know what the signs of a heart attack are? It can be earth shattering and shocking to be thrust into one of these situations if you don’t know what to do. If you haven’t learned basic first aid, you won’t know what to do in case of an emergency and you may only be able to panic. While it is natural to panic in situations like these, being well-versed in basic first aid can help you work your way out of that panic stage. Speaking of emergencies….
8. Basic Survival and Emergency Packs
You don’t have to be a “prepper” (someone who believes that a disaster is inevitable and takes active precautions and preparations for it by stockpiling supplies) but you do need to have an emergency pack or box in your car and in your house. This isn’t just going to be about first aid items. If you power goes out for a few days, you should be able to feed your family, be prepared for any injuries, and you should be able to survive without electricity for all three days.
9. Have a basic understanding of your purpose and passion
This really falls back on knowing what your core values are. If you know what these are, finding your purpose and passions will be a little easier. So why is this so important? When you find your calling in life, you will be able to find work that is fulfilling and you will be able to make an impact in the world – the kind of positive impact that you can be proud of.
10. Create a family mission statement.
A family mission statement is self-explanatory. It is your family’s idea of a good and happy life. What are your family’s goals? What is its purpose? If you don’t know where to start (it can be intimidating to start from scratch) try filling out these blanks:
We believe that we were meant to ______ and we can do that by doing these things:
We will ________ to/with each other.
We will ________ with our extended family and friends.
We will _______ with our neighbors.
We will ________ with our ____ (choose a group that your family associates with like a church, sports activity, club, or group) community.
We want people to say “They are a wonderful family because they _____.”
If you don’t have a family, you don’t have to miss out on this valuable exercise. Write your personal mission statement. What types of goals do you have in mind? What do you want out of life? What do you have to do in order to consider your life a “life well lived”?
11. Know what your priority list is
Your priority list says a lot about who you are on the inside. Do you put your career before your family? Do you value money over quality time together? While most people can list of their priority list quickly and they state claims that their families are on the top of their lists, their actions may prove otherwise. Consider your priority list when you need to make important decisions. Do you take an extra shift at work so you can buy your kids the latest digital toy on the market or do you go home on time and spend quality time with them? Do you take the extra shift to pad your emergency savings fund or do you blow off the extra shift to go to the bar with your friends? Unfortunately, the choices aren’t often that easy – which is why you need to make sure that you know exactly what your priorities are.
12. Learn how to be present
Being present isn’t just about listening. It is about understanding and caring as well. When you are present in a situation, you are showing [the people that you are with] that they are important to you. You are telling them that they have your full attention because you care about them and their feelings. Being present can also help you enjoy your life. Life can pass you by when you’re always in your head, thinking about the past, thinking about the future, or worrying about other situations.
13. Basic etiquette
Etiquette is something that is taken for granted these days. There are kids that know exactly what to do if an old or pregnant woman gets on a crowded bus with them (offer their seat) but there are also the kids that know what they should do and don’t do it. Knowing basic etiquette is important but it is up to us to put these skills and knowledge into everyday use. In a time of instant gratification, it can feel like a difficult choice to choose between ourselves and others. When that is an everyday problem, then there is a shift in social norms that must be looked at.
14. Effective communication skills
Being able to communicate your wants and needs was first important when we were babies. We needed to tell our parents when we were hungry, needed to be changed, or when we were craving some attention. After that initial lesson, we thought that we had it down, but we will always be learning how to effectively communicate those needs and wants. I still find it difficult to communicate my needs in my relationship – not because of my spouse but because of old habits. Every animal in this world knows how to communicate. Being able to communicate effectively is a different animal though.
Take it from someone who often works from a home office, self-discipline can be hard. It is so easy to just go through life, taking the easy way out of most situations. But that’s not where life’s lessons come from. When you are able to work hard and be patient – when you are taught those lessons and put those two characteristics into practice on a daily basis – that’s when you will find yourself on the path to success.
16. Writing “Thank You” notes
The art of the thank you card is a lost one. It’s so easy to just send a quick text message or to send off an email. You can even do that when you’re waiting in line at the grocery store or waiting in a doctor’s office. But truly taking the time to craft a thank you card or write a thank you note by hand is special. Hand written letters say that you have the time and energy to make something special for someone. You could have just sent a text, but instead, you’re able to sit down and hand write a note. That takes more dedicated thought and care than just typing out something on your computer.