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7 Life-Changing Skills You Can Learn Even If You’re Broke

7 Life-Changing Skills You Can Learn Even If You’re Broke

Skills are the gateway to a better quality career and life.

The problem is, money is tight for most of us after covering rent/mortgage, car payments, and just maintaining our quality of life. But don’t worry, there are many ways for you to acquire new skills without breaking the bank.

Here are seven life-changing skills you can learn even if you’re broke (and where to learn them).

1. Public speaking

Speaker giving a talk on corporate Business Conference. Audience at the conference hall. Business and Entrepreneurship event.

    When Warren Buffett was asked to give one piece of advice to recent graduates, he said that improving your ability to communicate and speak publicly is one of the most valuable skill sets you can develop.

    Most of us don’t have regular opportunities to improve our speaking skills, but there are cheap options you can take advantage of to start practicing immediately.

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    Where to go: The International Toastmasters organization puts you in a tight-knit community of supportive people with the same goal as you: to improve public speaking skills. Having been a Toastmaster member myself, it’s one of the most affordable ways to get consistent feedback and practice around a great group of people.

    2. Personal finance

    stock-photo-67556053

      As basic as it seems, getting your personal finances down is something many people haven’t yet handled. It’s one thing to remember that you should spend less than you make, it’s another to know the details of how much you should be saving, where you should be allocating your funds, etc.

      Where to go: A great book that will teach you how to automate your personal finance is I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi, and as scammy as it sounds, it delivers real value. A free app worth checking out is Mint.com, which automatically integrates your bank accounts and analyzes your spending, budgeting, and income for you in a visual and easy-to-understand application.

      3. Investing

      Making trading online on the smart phone. New ways to make economy and trading

        Once you have your personal finances in order, it’s time to start investing. None of us can get the wealth we want without investing our way there. If you’re not 100% sure which avenue you should pursue (stocks, bonds, real estate, etc.), it’s worth investing some of your time to learn about it before you get into the game.

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        Where to go: Check out a tool like Investopedia, which has an abundance of resources to teach you the terminology of investing, and even have a virtual stock market platform that allows you to invest “fake” money into the stock market. Wealthfront is another great option to go to, which automates your investments for you depending on your goals, risk-tolerance, etc.

        4. Foreign language

        lessons-1024x536

          We’re quickly entering a multilingual era, where everything from culture, business, and people are integrating globally. Whether you’re looking to advance your career, form a deeper connection with your family & friends, or looking to travel in the near future, learning a foreign language is a life-changer.

          Where to go: The good news is, learning a language has never been easier. Take advantage of free options like this Learn A Language Challenge, delivering 10 new most common words in your inbox every morning. Or if you’re busy, like most people, you can check out Duolingo, which is a gamified application, or Rype, which offers unlimited private language lessons 24/7.

          5. Web/Mobile development

          A few shots of 500px team working on exciting new things at HQ here in Toronto

            Have a great idea, but no idea how to build it?

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            Instead of spending tens of thousands of dollars on developers or agencies, why not take the time to learn it yourself? Learning how to code has never been more accessible and affordable, and luckily it’s also in huge demand.

            Where to go: Check out free options like Codeacademy, which has you building real applications and websites on their platform, while giving you real-time feedback.

            6. Speed reading

            Reading room with open window

              Books are a game-changer in our lives and careers. They condense the knowledge of experts and thought leaders into one place, and can significantly improve the quality of our lives. The problem is, books can consume a lot of time, especially if we’re busy with our work and personal lives.

              One way to overcome this is to increase our reading speed. The faster you read, the more books you can read in less time.

              Where to go: First, you should take this quick reading speed test to see where you’re currently at. With speed reading, you can either go the technology route, with apps like Spreeder, or you can try to improve your own reading speed through free courses.

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              7. Meditating

              Yoga exercises at the city park

                Meditating has been scientifically proven to increase happiness levels, reduce stress, and enhance productivity to get more done throughout the day. While it was once an uncommon practice, meditation is becoming more mainstream in our culture–for the better.

                Where to go: There are free (with premium options) apps like Calm or Headspace, which will guide you through a meditation practice if you’re just getting started. All you need is 10 minutes a day, and you’ll quickly begin to build a habit that will positively impact your life.

                Which of these life-changing skills were your favorite? Share this with someone that’s also trying to learn something new!

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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 July 3, 2020

                30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

                30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

                In today’s world, true peace must come from within us and our own actions. Here are 30 small things you can do on a regular basis to increase your overall sense of harmony, peace, and well-being:

                1. Don’t go to every fight you’re invited to

                Particularly when you’re around those who thrive on chaos, be willing to decline the invitation to join in on the drama.

                2. Focus on your breath

                Throughout the day, stop to take a few deep breaths. Keep stress at bay with techniques such as “square breathing.” Breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, then out for four counts, and hold again for four counts. Repeat this cycle four times.

                3. Get organized and purge old items

                A cluttered space often creates a cluttered spirit. Take the time to get rid of anything you haven’t used in a year and invest in organizational systems that help you sustain a level of neatness.

                4. Stop yourself from being judgmental

                Whenever you are tempted to have an opinion about someone else’s life, check your intentions. Judging others creates and promotes negative energy.

                5. Say ‘thank you’ early and often

                Start and end each day with an attitude of gratitude. Look for opportunities in your daily routine and interactions to express appreciation.

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                6. Smile more

                Even if you have to “fake it until you make it,” there are many scientific benefits of smiling and laughing. Also, pay attention to your facial expression when you are doing neutral activities such as driving and walking. Turn that frown upside down!

                7. Don’t worry about the future

                As difficult as this sounds, there is a direct connection between staying in the present and living a more peaceful life. You cannot control the future. As the old proverb goes, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.” Practice gently bringing your thoughts back to the present.

                8. Eat real food

                The closer the food is to the state from which it came from the earth, the better you will feel in eating it. Choose foods that grew from a plant over food that was made in a plant.

                9. Choose being happy over being right

                Too often, we sacrifice inner peace in order to make a point. It’s rarely worth it.

                10. Keep technology out of the bedroom

                Many studies, such as one conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, have connected blue light of electronic devices before bed to adverse sleep and overall health. To make matters worse, many people report that they cannot resist checking email and social media when their cell phone is in reach of their bed, regardless of the time.

                11. Make use of filtering features on social media

                You may not want to “unfriend” someone completely, however you can choose whether you want to follow their posts and/or the sources of information that they share.

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                12. Get comfortable with silence

                When you picture someone who is the ultimate state of peace, typically they aren’t talking.

                13. Listen to understand, not to respond

                So often in conversations, we use our ears to give us cues about when it is our turn to say what we want to say. Practice active listening, ask questions, process, then speak.

                14. Put your troubles in a bubble

                Whenever you start to feel anxious, visualize the situation being wrapped in a bubble and then picture that sphere floating away.

                15. Speak more slowly

                Often a lack of peace manifests itself in fast or clipped speech. Take a breath, slow down, and let your thoughtful consideration drive your words.

                16. Don’t procrastinate

                Nothing adds stress to our lives like waiting until the last minute.

                17. Buy a coloring book

                Mandala coloring books for adults are becoming more popular because of their connection to creating inner peace.

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                18. Prioritize yourself

                You are the only person who you are guaranteed to live with 24 hours a day for the rest of your life.

                19. Forgive others

                Holding a grudge is hurting you exponentially more than anyone else. Let it go.

                20. Check your expectations

                Presumption often leads to drama. Remember the old saying, “Expectations are premeditated resentments.”

                21. Engage in active play

                Let your inner child come out and have some fun. Jump, dance, play, and pretend!

                22. Stop criticizing yourself

                The world is a hard enough place with more than enough critics. Your life is not served well by being one of them.

                23. Focus your energy and attention on what you want

                Thoughts, words, and actions all create energy. Energy attracts like energy. Put out what you want to get back.

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                24. Assign yourself “complaint free” days.

                Make a conscious decision not to complain about anything for a whole day. It might be harder than you think and the awareness will stick with you.

                25. Surround yourself with people you truly enjoy being in the company of

                Personalities tend to be contagious, and not everyone’s is worth catching. Be judicious in your choices.

                26. Manage your money

                Financial concerns rank top on the list of what causes people stress. Take the time each month to do a budget, calculate what you actually spend and sanity check that against the money you have coming in.

                27. Stop trying to control everything

                Not only is your inner control freak sabotaging your sense of peace, it is also likely getting in the way of external relationships as well.

                28. Practice affirmations

                Repeat positive phrases that depict the life and qualities you want to attract. It may not come naturally to you, but it works.

                29. Get up before sunrise

                Personally witnessing the dawn brings a unique sense of awe and appreciation for life.

                30. Be yourself

                Nothing creates more inner discord than trying to be something other than who we really are. Authenticity breeds happiness.

                Featured photo credit: man watching sunrise via stokpic.com

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