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25 Soft Skills You Need to Be Successful in Life

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25 Soft Skills You Need to Be Successful in Life

There’s a saying that goes, “hard skills get you hired, but soft skills get you fired.”

Essentially, what this means is that you may be fantastic at crunching numbers or developing software (both hard skills) but if you’re difficult to work with and not a team player, (a soft skill) you probably won’t be around for long.

Employers want more than just a warm body who has the necessary requirements and education to do the job. They also need an employee whom they can count on and whom they genuinely want to work with.

It’s easy to pad your resume with soft skills that sound good on paper, but you need to embrace these attributes in the workplace to have longevity in a career. More often than not, soft skills apply not just to jobs but social relationships as well.

These are the soft skills you need to be successful not only in your career but also in life.

1. Open-Mindedness

Imagine a world where people weren’t open to new ideas. There would be no free speech, and innovation would be near nonexistent. Nobody says you have to agree with every idea, but people want to be around those who will at least listen to a different perspective or new way of doing something.

2. Giving and Receiving Feedback

Some people have no problem voicing out their opinion but don’t take constructive criticism well. Others are the total opposite. It’s important to learn how to both give and receive feedback to foster positive growth for you and the people you work with.

Here’s Why You Need to Ask for Feedback…and How to Use It.

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3. Perceptiveness

To “perceive” is to see, and social perceptiveness is the ability to discern what somebody is feeling through their body language, words, and emotions. While it might take some practice, learning to be more perceptive can be helpful in an infinite number of situations.

4. Communication

Whether it’s written or verbal, knowing how to effectively communicate your ideas is pretty important in life. If others can’t understand your needs and wants, then this becomes a real problem. Like so many things, you can learn to be a better, and developing this soft skill should be on everyone’s to-do list.

5. Networking

This is one of those buzz words that’s a staple in the business world, but it really boils down to meeting people. Humans are social animals, and networking leads to friendships, marriages, and new jobs. So, get out there and network: 5 Steps to Master Networking Skills and Perfect Your Personal Branding

6. Enthusiasm

Remember that kid in school who complained about every little thing? They weren’t a blast to be around, were they? People want to be around those who have a positive attitude about life and their work.

7. Patience

Even in today’s fast-paced, 5G world, patience is a key soft skill to possess. People learn at different paces and whether you’re the student or the teacher, having patience will go a long way towards accomplishing a goal.

8. Empathy

Having empathy means you can recognize and understand the feelings of other people. It’s the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand their perspective and where they’re coming from. From personal relationships to running a Fortune 500 company, empathy is a soft skill everyone should strive for.

9. Active Listening

If you’re not a good active listener, empathy will be difficult. Active listening is paying attention when another person is speaking, without distraction, and asking deeper questions to better understand their point of view. It’s a great skill to have and will come in handy for everything—from job interviews to social relationships.

10. Collaborative Spirit: AKA Teamwork

Lots of people prefer to work solo and there’s nothing wrong with that. But knowing how to work with others to solve a problem or accomplish a goal is important for so many different aspects of life, work, and society. This is potentially one of the most important skills here in this soft skills list.

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11. Conflict Resolution

From the moment we start school, it becomes apparent that not everybody is going to agree with us and disagreements will arise. Learning how to manage and find a resolution to conflicts that involve yourself or are between other people is key to building strong relationships and teams.

12. Friendliness

You may not be the most outgoing person, but don’t be a mean jerk. Nobody likes a mean jerk.

13. Self-Confidence

Employers want an employee who is confident in themselves and is willing to step-up when the time is needed. Having a little doubt at times is completely normal, but possessing a healthy self-confidence will go a long way in both social and business relationships.

14. Punctuality

Some people seem to always be running late. Sure, life is busy, but it’s busy for everyone. When you lack punctuality, you’re telling others that your time is more valuable than theirs. Do this enough, and your boss may soon tell you to not bother showing up at all.

15. Self-Awareness

This is one soft skill you might not see employers flat out ask for, but make no mistake, they’d love for you to have it. Self-awareness means that you’re aware of your outward behavior and how it does or doesn’t align with your internal values. It’s estimated that only around 15% of people are truly self-aware, but you can work on developing this soft skill.

16. Problem-Solving

Problem-solvers get things done! They invent life-saving technologies, unite warring nations, and figure out how to make better-tasting peanut butter. Learning how to take a step back, see the problem, and work towards a solution is a skill that has helped mankind survive for thousands of years. This makes it an essential part of this soft skills list.

17. Creative Thinking

This skill goes hand-in-hand with problem-solving and some problems are simply more complex than others and require more creativity. From brainstorming to keeping a journal, there’s a host of ways to develop your creative thinking muscle.

18. Perseverance

Like the song says, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Those who meet an obstacle but don’t give up and work to find a way over or around it will be rewarded in life, time and time again.

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19. Stress Management

Stress is a part of life and it always has been. Unlike our ancestors, though, we now have apps on our phones to help with stress. Whether it’s exercise, meditation, or blasting heavy metal music, finding a healthy way to handle stress will help to make you more productive and successful.

Check out these 7 Stress Management Techniques to Get You Back on Track.

20. Consideration

You’re pretty important, but you’re not the only one who matters. How considerate of others you are is a soft skill that can make or break any kind of relationship—business and social.

21. Emotional Intelligence

This soft skill is really an umbrella term as it encompasses some of the other skills on our list. Employers may not ask separately for each of those soft skills and might choose to simply say that they value employees who possess “emotional intelligence.” In short, it covers everything from empathy and self-awareness to social awareness and conflict resolution.

Learn more about emotional intelligence: What Is Emotional Intelligence (And How to Develop It)

22. Delegation

Knowing how to delegate and give direction is an important soft skill to develop, whether you’re managing an intern or leading a multimillion-dollar company. Choosing the right person for the right task comes with a certain degree of responsibility, but there’s so much more to it than that. One must learn how to motivate, give clear direction, and provide the right feedback.

23. Integrity

Your grade school teacher may have touched on this by stressing the importance of being honest. Truthfulness is a huge part of integrity, but it also encompasses doing the right thing and showing a strong moral character by treating others the way that you want to be treated.

24. Courtesy

Being courteous, or simply having good manners seems to be one of those soft skills that is completely lacking through much of social media. That said, being polite and respectful of others will always stand out in the workplace and will take you far in life.

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25. Self-Control

The last one in this soft skills list is self-control. There’s a good chance you’ve probably known somebody who is always taking things a little too far and getting themselves in trouble. Don’t be that person!

Having the ability to manage one’s emotions and behavior is paramount in all areas of life, from holding down a job to maintaining a marriage to staying out of jail! There are certainly ways to work on improving self-control, and this is one soft skill that is essential to building upon success.

Here’s How to Have Self-Control and Be the Master of Your Life.

Bottom Line

These soft skills are transferable to so many aspects of your life and career. So, take the time to assess how well you embrace them and then actively work on improving upon the areas where you’re a little weaker.

You might be surprised at how quickly you see positive results.

More Soft Skills That Can Help You Succeed

Featured photo credit: You X Ventures via unsplash.com

More by this author

Jeremy Diamond

Jeremy Diamond is a lawyer and entrepreneur. He is the Senior Partner of Diamond and Diamond Lawyers, a national law firm based in Canada

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Last Updated on June 1, 2021

10 Effective Ways To Make You a Fast Learner

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10 Effective Ways To Make You a Fast Learner

The importance of learning cannot be underestimated. Learning empowers us to fulfill our ideas and realize our full potential. The speed of gaining new knowledge is practically as important as its volume. Who wouldn’t love to remember tons of information as quickly as possible?

If you want to start learning faster, you need a new approach towards the process which would enable you to comprehend the essence of the matter and relate it with new concepts you encounter.

The following 10 tips will help you become a fast learner:

1. Analyze Your Learning Style

Before you can start experimenting with different studying methods, you need to understand what type of learner you are:

Is your memory associated to sound?

Maybe you can remember what you were reading when a particular song was playing? If this is your case, then you fall into the category of auditory learners.

If you want to start studying more efficiently, then it would be wise to record the lectures and listen to them instead of reading textbooks.

Do you relate information to visual content?

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If you are a visual learner, you should implement images, graphs, charts, infographics, colorful lists, flashcards, and other types of visual content when you study.

Are you a physical learner?

If your learning style is not auditory or visual, then you might be a physical learner. Some students have too much energy; they tap their feet or play with a pen during lectures.

A walk before a lecture will calm your nerves down. You can try studying or listening to audio lectures during a walk. That will help you remember the information more quickly.

2. Use the Right EdTech Tools

Technology has the power of making everything easier. There are plenty of websites, online tools, and smartphone/tablet apps that will boost your skills of planning, writing, time management and brainstorming, etc.

One way of improving your productivity is using flashcards. You can make your own cards, but you can also download pre-made kits online:

  • StudyBlue is one of the best online destinations when it comes to creating and discovering flashcards from all areas of study.
  • If you are looking for a tool that makes the process of brainstorming more effective, then you should try PapersGear.
  • You also need the SelfControl app, which will eliminate all distractions when you need to stay focused.
  • Quizlet is another website you should bookmark; it offers study tools that will transform the learning process into a fun activity.
  • Notella is an app that will help you take quick notes at any time.
  • Brainscape is an educational platform that makes complex subjects easy by relying on cognitive science.
  • You can also try Dragon Dictation, especially if you are an audio learner.

3. Train Your Brain to Accept New Information

Efficient studying is a habit. Your brain needs constant training if you want to improve your focus and complete complex tasks without taking breaks.

One way to achieve this goal is to create a private learning space in your home. You’ll also need a specific time of day that you’ll devote to studying. That will make your brain ready to accept the information it gets, so you’ll notice you’re starting to learn much faster by the day.

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4. Get Some Exercise

You are aware of the fact that physical activity is good for your body, but your brain needs it too!

Light exercise, such as yoga, can help you learn much faster. If you are inactive throughout the day, your body will want to move, so it will be difficult for you to stay focused.

If, on the other hand, you canalize your energy through light training sessions, you will be ready to study productively.

5. Work on the Ambiance

If you have a noisy neighborhood or a working environment full of distractions, you won’t be able to learn or study no matter how hard you try.

If you want to learn quickly, you need a quiet, distraction-free environment that won’t disturb the mind in any way. Such a peaceful place will set you in learning mode as soon as you find yourself in it.

6. Take a Lot of Notes

Only few people are capable of remembering information as they read it. If you don’t belong to this category of privileged learners, then you absolutely need to start taking notes.

This simple learning method will force you to think about the essence of the material. It will also give you a nice framework that will help you review the things you’ve learned.

Write down only the most important information. That will help you remember all the other things you’ve learned.

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Here’re some tips to take notes effectively: Why Successful People Take Notes And How to Make It Your Habit

7. Make Mind Maps

Mind maps are among the best tools to speed up the learning process. Your mind will process information effectively if you create a visual representation of the things you’re about to learn.

You can create a nice mind map in the old-school way: take a large sheet of paper and organize all facts and explanations. Use pictures, note-cards, and other symbols you can think of. Group similar items together and connect them with colorful pens.

Some tips mind-mapping here: How to Mind Map: Visualize Your Cluttered Thoughts in 3 Simple Steps

Of course, you can also use an online mind mapping tool if you want to save yourself some time.

8. Experiment with Memorization Methods

Memorizing is often misused in the process of studying. Some people memorize whole sentences, paragraphs and lectures without grasping their essence.

However, memorization can be useful when you need to learn definitions and classifications really quickly. Don’t avoid this technique if you want to fill your brain with information without wasting any time.

Try this if you want to memorize more and faster: How to Memorize More and Faster Than Other People

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9. Find the Right Context

Memorization works solely in times of urgency. If you want to learn in the most effective manner, then you need to have context for information.

Find an aspect that’s interesting for you; try to research for related information, and you’ll discover the joy of learning.

The first step? Jot down as much information and as many ideas as possible: How Simply Jotting Down Ideas Can Make You Smarter

With time, this practice will make you a faster learner.

10. Study Every Day

It will take some time before you get used to a daily studying routine, but your mind will eventually grasp the habit.

The more frequently you study, the less time it will take for you to remember the things you read.

If you start studying as soon as possible after you have learned some new concepts, it won’t take long at all for you to get ready for an exam. Now that sounds really good, doesn’t it?

More to Help You Learn Quicker

Featured photo credit: Becca Tapert via unsplash.com

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