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8 Life-Changing Skills You Can Learn in Less Than 6 Months

8 Life-Changing Skills You Can Learn in Less Than 6 Months

Everyone has the ability to learn a life-changing skill not just this year, but in the next 6 months.

By life-changing, I mean something that can have a positive impact in your life moving forward, even if it’s something you can’t envision today. Certain skills we can immediately reap the benefits of, while others will be life-changing when we least expect it.

In this article, we’ll share 8 life-changing skills you can learn in 6 months, where you can learn them, and how you can get started today.

1. Speed reading

Bill Gates has been known to state that if he had one superpower, it would be the ability to read faster. What Bill and the rest of the mega-successful understand is that knowledge is power. The ability to process information faster from books, articles, and reports is what will help us learn faster, and therefore improve each aspect of our life faster as well.

Where you can start learning: Speed reading courses are becoming more popular, as more people realize how important it is with the limited time we have. You can check out free courses like Read Speeder or you can start learning how to use Spritzlet, which allows you to speed read articles online with a browser extension.

2. Public speaking

Research shows that people fear public speaking more than death itself. There’s something terrifying about being in front of dozens or hundreds of people, and exposing yourself completely. It’s when you’re most vulnerable, but learning how to public speak is a life-changer.

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Warren Buffett has given advice to recent graduates that the number one skill you can have to succeed is public speaking skills. Everything from communication, confidence, and sales is developed when you develop your public speaking skills.

Where you can start learning: Luckily, there are great communities out there like Toastmasters that organize local meetups all around the world. You’ll find amazing public speakers that are looking to get to the next level to beginners that are just getting started. Check out Toastmasters’ website here.

3. Spanish

As the third most spoken language in the world, the ability to speak Spanish will allow you to reach over 500M people around the world. No matter where you live, knowing how to speak Spanish is becoming increasingly more important, with the Hispanic population and economy spreading quickly worldwide. If you’re living in the US, this is even more important, with over 30% of the population being Hispanic.

Spanish is also on this list, because it’s one of the easiest languages to learn. Sure, Mandarin is an important language to learn, but it’s an incredibly difficult one to learn. If we were to measure the level of importance and the time to learn for all the languages available, Spanish would make it to the top of the list.

One of the biggest reasons why people never reach fluency in any foreign language is: using the wrong method, and lack of time.

It turns out that humans retain only 5% of what we learn from lectures, 20% of what we learn from apps (visual cues), and 90% of what we learn from immediate immersion. Yet, how do 90% of learn a new foreign language? Language schools (lectures), books, Duolingo (apps), etc that don’t provide the real-life immersion required for our brains to learn faster.

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Where to get started: If you want the most effective way to learn a language, learning from real-life interactions is the best way to do it. There are great websites like Rype, which offers Spanish coaching for busy people, solving the issue of lack of time and bringing real-life immersion to your screen. With Rype, you can book as many lessons as you want, at any time of the day, any day of the week, allowing you to fit it into your schedule, no matter how busy you are.

4. Accounting

If you’re looking to get into business, accounting is one of the core fundamentals you’ll need to succeed. While you don’t need to be an expert, you definitely should understand the basics.

This skill can also be used to manage your personal finances, to meet your financial goals, and having more control over your life.

Where to get started learning: If you didn’t learn accounting in school, no worries. You can either teach yourself using books, or check out free accounting courses online.

5. Microsoft Excel

Most people reading this probably have a basic understanding of Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet. While this is a good start, there are so many powerful functionalities that are hidden, which could make your life a lot easier.

Excel is also a great asset to have whenever you’re looking for a job, as many corporations rely on Excel to organize and manage multiple parts of the business.

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Where to get started learning: With the popularity of Excel, you can find tons of free resources and videos online to learn. Check out Excel Exposure, Lynda, and Excel with Business.

6. Blogging/Vlogging

Blogging is a powerful tool if you want to spread your ideas, build your brand, or grow your business. Since it was introduced, blogging has taken on a life of its own, and today there are ~2M blog posts being written on a daily basis.

Where to get started learning: Anyone can start blogging today. All you need is a content-management system like WordPress, which is completely free. Personally, I think the best way to start learning how to blog is to just start writing. There are techniques you can learn on how to promote your blog, but the best way to grow your blog is to write great content.

7. Weight training

Yes, weight training is a skill. It’s not as advanced as learning how to code, nor will it take as long as learning a new language, if you just want to learn the basics.

We’re not promising that you’ll get a body like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but you will see much faster results for whatever goal you have, just by understanding how to workout properly. And of course, when you’re dealing with an activity that involves physical strain, you’ll always want to caution yourself.

Where to get started learning: There are amazing body builders that are sharing all of their secrets for free on Youtube. You can check out Bodybuilding.com’s Youtube channel to get started.

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8. Photo and video editing

In the digital world that we live in, from Youtube, Instagram, and Facebook, there is no avoiding photos and videos. In fact, social media has increasingly gone away from text sharing and almost everything to photo and video editing.

Where to get started learning: For photo editing, you can use Photoshop. For video editing, you can use iMovie or Final Cut Pro. Keep in mind, there are dozens of editing software tools for video and photo editing, but what’s more important are your editing skills, not the tool itself.

Check out education websites like CreativeLIVE or Skillshare, where you can learn from experts themselves on how to best use design and software tools.

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    Sean Kim

    Sean is the founder and CEO of Rype, a language learning app. He's an entrepreneur and blogger.

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    Last Updated on August 14, 2020

    How to Find a Career That Is Right For You

    How to Find a Career That Is Right For You

    There are thousands of careers to choose from. No wonder finding the one that’s right for you can feel like a guessing game.

    Choosing or changing careers can be scary. Even if it’s right for you now, you might wonder, who says it’ll still be a fit in the future?

    The truth is, you have to start somewhere. Whether you’re looking for a first job out of college or need a new career, follow this process to find the right one for you:

    1. List Out Careers You Could Pursue

    It sounds simple, but it’s good advice: Start with what you like. Even before you begin looking for the right career, you probably have an idea of what you’re interested in.

    Next, make a second list, this one including your strengths. If you aren’t sure whether you’re actually good at something, ask someone close to you who’ll give you a truthful answer.

    Once your lists are made, cross-reference them: What do you like to do and do well?

    In a third list, rank these. If you’re skilled at something you don’t particularly like, for instance, that should fall lower on the list.

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    2. Take a Career Assessment

    Standardized tests shouldn’t make decisions for you, but they can get you pointed in the right direction. Career assessment tests gauge your abilities and interests and make recommendations for career paths based on the answers you give.[1]

    Before reviewing your results, take a break. Getting some perspective can help you see whether your answers were guided by your mood. Look at the percentage match and ask yourself whether you could see yourself doing the work of the career or role every day.

    For example, if your responses emphasized helping others, the test might point you to a medical career. However, if you don’t want to work in a hospital or clinical environment, you might cut that option or place it lower on your list.

    3. Sweat the Details

    Every career has gratifying and frustrating things about it. Before you choose one, you need to be clear on those. Reading reviews and job descriptions you find related to each career, make a list of its pros and cons.

    There are a lot of factors to think through. Key questions to ask yourself include:

    • What are the hours required by this type of work? Can they be flexible?
    • What skills are required? Do I possess them, or would I be willing to learn them?
    • What are the education requirements? Can I afford to go back to school?
    • How much do jobs in the field pay? Is the payscale top-heavy or evenly distributed?
    • What does job growth in this sector look like? Are they traditional or contracted roles?
    • Are opportunities in the field available in my area? If not, would I be willing to move?
    • Would I be working solo or on a team?

    In answering these questions, you’ll find yourself crossing a lot of careers off your list. Remember, that’s a good thing: You’d rather find out a career isn’t right for you now than after you’ve put yourself on that path.

    4. Find the Sweet Spot

    The crux of the career question is this: What’s the “sweet spot” between your interests and strengths and the market’s needs? The greater the overlap, the better.

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    Be warned that you’ll have to compromise. Perhaps you enjoy working with animals, but there’s no demand for that line of work in your area. You might be good at math, but you wouldn’t want to crunch numbers in a cubicle for a living. Finding balance is crucial.

    5. Start Networking

    What’s the best way to get the real story about the careers you’re interested in? Talking to professionals in the field.

    Where should you find these people?

    • Reach out to local businesses.
    • Scour your social media networks, particularly LinkedIn.
    • Ask a past employer for recommendations.
    • Sign up for industry events and conferences.

    Schedule a short interview with each of your new connections. Ask them to weigh in on the comments you see online. Every role and company is a bit different, so don’t be surprised if their responses don’t align.

    Regardless of who you find or what they say, write it down. If one interviewee’s responses differ wildly from online responses, chat with someone else in the field. Do your best to find out what’s the rule and what’s the exception.

    6. Shadow and Volunteer

    As valuable as networking can be, you need a firsthand glimpse of the work. If you hit it off with one of your interviewees, ask to do some job shadowing. Sitting beside someone as they work can help you understand not just the pay and the responsibilities but also the culture and work environment associated with each career.

    Job shadowing is a good way to get your feet wet before taking a career plunge. If you felt uninterested or unhappy during your shadowing experience, it’s a good sign that you should ponder a different career path. If your shadowing experience made you want to come back for more, you may have found your calling.

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    Volunteer work is an alternative to job shadowing that can get you the experience you need as you analyze your career options. As a volunteer, you can be more flexible with your time and get opportunities you wouldn’t find elsewhere.

    7. Sign Up for Classes

    Many careers have an academic component that you can’t ignore. If you decide you want to be a lawyer, for instance, you might want to know you can survive law school first.

    Sign up for an introductory class or two related to each career you’re interested in. The earlier you do this, the better. If you’re still in college, the class will count as an elective and may be covered by your scholarship, but if not, look for a community college option to keep costs low.

    Taking a single class is not the same as earning a degree in the field. With that said, it’s a good way to test the waters before you invest thousands of dollars.

    If the content interests you and you look forward to class each week, that’s a good sign. If you start dreading the class or choose to drop it, focus your attention elsewhere.

    8. Enter the Gig Economy

    Contracted work is a great “try it before you buy it” career tactic. Skipping to an entry-level role requires more commitment than you might want to give while you’re still investigating your options. The gig economy offers the best of both worlds: paid work as well as flexibility.[2]

    Gig workers take work from companies or individuals that do not directly employ them. Plumbers and artists are good examples. Rather than receiving a regular paycheck, they sell their services by the task or deliverable.

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    In the gig economy, you aren’t bound by long-term agreements. If you don’t like the experience, you can simply move on.

    You never know if you’ll enjoy something until you try it. And because contractors work with professionals in the field, gig workers naturally get networking and shadowing opportunities.

    9. Market Yourself

    As you zero in on your dream career, there’s one final test you can use to find out whether you’ll be successful: marketing yourself as a candidate for hire. Whether you get bites is a key indicator of how you’ll fare in the field.

    Beware that, as someone without much experience in the field, you’re going to get a lot of rejections. Don’t be discouraged. If you get two interviews out of 50 applications, think of it as two opportunities you didn’t have before to find your ideal career.

    Just as important as outreach is a good inbound strategy. Set up a website, and post your portfolio on it. Describe your dream job on your social media.

    Recruiters are constantly on the lookout for candidates that fit their company. The more exposure you get, the more people will be interested in what you have to offer. Put yourself out there, and you just might find the perfect fit.

    Don’t Give Up!

    Nobody ever said it was easy to find a career that’s right for you. Finding one is tough enough, and even then, you may find yourself looking for a new field ten years into your career.

    Whatever you want from your professional life, you have to be willing to put in the time. Don’t hesitate, and don’t give up. Start your search today.

    More Tips on How to Find a Career

    Featured photo credit: Saulo Mohana via unsplash.com

    Reference

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