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10 Skills You Need to Succeed at Almost Anything

October 14, 2008 | 77,766 views

successSuccess is all a matter of perception. It can mean winning a gold medal at the Olympics, learning how to ride a bike, or reconciling with an ex. Of course, for many success also means earning a certain level of income or moving forward in your career.

No matter what success means to you, make sure you go for it with gusto. It has been my observation that nearly all of us set our expectations too low, usually because of fear or self-limiting beliefs. Yet, I have studied personal development literature for over 30 years now and one of the more common fears is to wind up on your deathbed not having at least tried for your dreams and goals.

What does it take to succeed at your dreams and goals? Success takes action, and taking good and appropriate action takes skills.

Here Lifehack has compiled a list of general skills that will help anyone get ahead in practically any field, from running a company to running a gardening club. As you read through this list keep in mind that anyone can develop this set of skills, and use them to go after, and achieve, their dreams.

1. Public Speaking

The ability to speak clearly, persuasively, and forcefully in front of an audience -- whether an audience of one or of thousands -- is one of the most important skills anyone can develop. People who are effective speakers come across as more comfortable with themselves and more confident.

2. Writing

Writing well offers many of the same advantages that speaking well offers: good writers are better at selling products, ideas, and themselves than poor writers. Learning to write well involves not just mastery of grammar, but the development of the ability to organize your thoughts into a coherent form and target it to an audience in the most effective way possible.

3. Self-Management

If success depends on effective action, effective action depends on the ability to focus your attention where it is needed most, when it is needed most. Strong organizational skills, effective productivity habits, and a strong sense of discipline are needed to keep yourself on track.

4. Networking

Networking is not only for finding jobs or clients. In an economy dominated by ideas and innovation, networking creates the channel through which ideas flow and in which new ideas are created.

5. Critical Thinking

You are exposed to hundreds, if not thousands, of times more information on a daily basis than your great-grandparents were. Being able to evaluate that information, sort the potentially valuable from the trivial, analyze its relevance and meaning, and relate it to other information is crucial.

6. Decision-Making

The bridge that leads from analysis to action is effective decision-making -- knowing what to do based on the information available. Being able to take in the scene and respond quickly and effectively is what separates the doers from the wannabes.

7. Math

You don’t have to be able to integrate polynomials to be successful. However, the ability to quickly work with figures in your head, to make rough but fairly accurate estimates, and to understand things like compound interest and basic statistics gives you a big lead on most people.

8. Research

Nobody can be expected to know everything. And you don’t have to know everything -- but you should be able to quickly and painlessly find out what you need to know.

9. Relaxation

Stress will not only kill you, it leads to poor decision-making, poor thinking, and poor socialization. Being able to face even the most pressing crises with your wits about you, in the most productive way, is possibly the most important thing on this list.

10. Basic Accounting

It is a simple fact in our society that money is necessary. Knowing how to track and record your expenses and income is important just to survive, let alone to thrive. It’s a shame that basic accounting isn’t a required part of the core K-12 curriculum.
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