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7 Skills You Should Learn Before You Turn 50

7 Skills You Should Learn Before You Turn 50

Your ability to acquire skills will determine your value in the market and the level of impact you can have in the world.

While learning any skill can be useful, some skills are more valuable than others. When it comes to deciding which skill to learn, you should focus on skills that are transferrable. For example, you could learn how to knit, but there’s not too many ways you can transfer that skill into more areas of your life. However, if you were to learn how to speak Spanish, this skill can help you improve your communication skills, career opportunities, and the ability to speak with people you never could have before.

Here are 7 skills you should learn before you turn 50.

1. Negotiating

Negotiating is one of the most important skills you can learn, and a skill you can apply in every aspect of your life. Whether you want to grow your business, make more money, or have more control over your life, learning to negotiate effectively can help you get there.

Developing your negotiation skills can also help you develop empathy, listening, and sales skills. The question is, how do you start developing negotiation skills?

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Where to learn: The best way to start negotiating is to start small. While reading books can help you, you don’t want to get stuck in “learning mode.” Instead, embrace the “learn as you go” mode. You could literally practice negotiating anywhere, from your local flea market to a street vendor, where negotiating is more acceptable.

2. Playing an Instrument

Learning to play an instrument can not only impress your friends (or your date), but it can help improve your cognitive skills. Playing an instrument has been shown to increase your concentration skills, which is an increasingly important skill in the distracting world we live in.

If you’re new to the music industry, you can check out this article to know which instrument you should play.

Where to learn: You can find a local teacher that can meet up with you in-person on craigslist or Kijiji, and have them come to you. Or if you’re a busy person, you can check out this list of websites to learn different instruments online.

3. Public Speaking

Public speaking, according to Warren Buffett, is one of the most important skills you can learn to advance your career.

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Being able to communicate effectively can positively impact nearly everything you do in your life, from your career, relationships, business — the list goes on. Not everyone is born a great communicator, and it’s a skill that can be learned and developed by anyone who’s committed.

Where to learn: Join a local Toastmasters organization in your city and you can start to practice your speaking skills and receive constructive and immediate feedback from a supportive community.

4. Personal Finance

This one is quite underestimated by most people, especially recent college graduates. No, it’s not a sexy topic to learn, but none of the dreams and goals you have will come true if you don’t master this skill.

Being able to manage your own finances is the first step to achieving freedom. Instead of ignoring the issue, we have to confront our fears or ignorance and take control of our budget.

Where to learn: This is one topic where being educated is a great place to start. You can read books on personal finance, check out personal finance bloggers, and even go see your personal accountant.

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5. Speed Reading

Bill Gates has shared that if he had one superpower, it would be the ability to read faster.

Time is the most important and limited commodity that we have. Learning how to read faster can save you dozens of hours per year, even hundreds if you’re an avid reader.

Where to Learn: You can take a free speed reading course online, or you can use technology such as Spritz to increase your speed.

6. Networking

If you want more success, then you must surround yourself with people that have achieved what you want to achieve. This could be a mentor, coach, or advisor that can guide you to where you want to go and even see blind spots that you may miss.

In order to become a better networker, especially with high-profiled individuals, then you need to learn how to bring value first. The rule of thumb is the bigger the person you’re targeting, the more value you need to deliver upfront before asking for anything.

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Where to learn: The best way to learn how to network is to watch how other successful people network. In order to do this, you need to attend industry conferences, networking events, and get in front of these people in-person.

7. A New Language

As the world becomes more globalized, we’re quickly entering a multilingual era. Twenty years ago, you could get away with knowing just one language. But today, with businesses going global, traveling becoming more affordable, and countries becoming more multicultural, it’s not enough to know just English.

Learning a new language can help improve your career, grow your business (especially if you’re targeting non-English speakers), and even build your confidence. If you’ve lived your entire life speaking only one language, then learning a popular language like French, Mandarin, or Spanish can open you up to a world of over 500 million or even a billion people.

If you’re not sure which language to learn, here’s an article on the easiest language to learn and the most useful languages to learn.

Where to learn: You can take advantage of websites like Rype, which is built for busy professionals, offering unlimited one-on-one Spanish lessons online, anytime of the day, any day of the week. Or, if you want to dip your feet into the pool, start off with free mobile apps like Duolingo to get started.

Which of these skills have you yet to learn? How will you learn these skills? We’d love to hear from you below.

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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