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Published on November 26, 2020

15 New Skills To Learn For Rapid Self-Improvement

15 New Skills To Learn For Rapid Self-Improvement

Personal development doesn’t just happen. You can’t expect to be bitten by a radioactive arachnid and wake up the next day with new skills. Self-development requires hard work, dedication, and an ever-growing skillset.

So, what new skills do you need to power forward? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but these 15 new skills are great places to start.

All skills have value, but some are more helpful than others when it comes to your self-development. Adding these to your arsenal will increase the pace of your growth:

1. Goal Setting

On your journey toward your best self, you need to set goals. The key is balance: If your goals are too lofty, you’ll get discouraged when you fall short. Start too small, and you’ll become satisfied with your progress too early and stop pushing yourself forward.

The better approach is to think in milestones. If you want to be a novelist, don’t set a goal to finish a book in a week. Focus on getting a couple of pages done each day, or on writing a chapter each week. This measurable progress is more sustainable and fulfilling.

Some resources for you:

2. Stress Management

Personal growth can create a lot of stress.

“Growth and comfort do not coexist.” — Ginny Rometty, former CEO of IBM[1].

To keep going when times are tough, you have to learn how to manage your stress levels. If brisk walks help you keep your head on straight, schedule one for your lunch period every day. If you need to take Sundays off to recharge for the next week, it’s more than acceptable to do so.

Some resources for you:

3. Organization

Organization is a skill that comes more naturally to some people than others. If you’re a naturally messy person, start small. Otherwise, you’ll get overwhelmed.

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Focus on the places where you spend the most time. Clean up your bedroom or vacuum your car. If physical cleaning is stressful, start by culling files from your computer. Believe it or not, one clean space can set the tone for the rest of your life.

Some resources for you:

4. Problem Solving

On the road of personal development, you’ll run into some barriers. Nobody but you can remove these from your path. That’s why problem solving is a vital skill for self-development.

Perhaps anxiety is keeping you from doing your best work. Instead of struggling through it, quietly take a mental health day. “You absolutely don’t need to disclose why you’re taking a sick day,” says Carissa Toyama of Forward, a membership-based preventive care group.[2]

Don’t let personal challenges stand in the way of your growth. If you can solve them, do — and don’t let anyone give you flak for it.

Some resources for you:

5. Time Management

To master yourself, you must master your time. You only get so much of it, and every minute wasted is a minute you’ll never get back. The good news is, time management is a skill that transcends every situation.

Time management is about the power of routine. You can use an online calendar to give your day more structure.[3] You can develop morning and nightly rituals to promote better sleeping habits.

When in doubt, replace idle time with projects geared toward new skills. If your goal is to learn to bake, spend an hour making muffins rather than scrolling through social media.

Some Resources for you:

6. Work Ethic

You can wish for something all you want. But if you’re not willing to put in the work, you won’t actually achieve it.

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The first step is acknowledging the work you need to do for personal development. The second is actually getting your hands dirty.

If you want to squat a certain amount of weight, you have to spend hours in the gym. Simply imagining yourself becoming stronger will do nothing.

Some resources for you:

7. Accountability

You are responsible for your own actions. Hold yourself accountable to them. The sooner you do, the quicker you can get back on track after making a mistake.

If your personal development slows down because you opted to sleep in instead of getting up early to work out, don’t blame the cold, grey morning. You made that choice.

Some resources for you:

8. Networking

The fast track to self-development is through networking. By connecting with other professionals in your field, you gain access to the wisdom of those with more experience than you.

The internet makes networking incredibly easy. Social media sites like LinkedIn allow you to connect with workers and leaders from all corners of the globe. Make meaningful connections, and they’ll give you not just something to aspire to, but a helping hand along that path.

Some resources for you:

9. Empathy

The people around you impact your self-development more than you might realize. Treating them with empathy cracks the door not just to compassion and understanding, but to all sorts of mentorship opportunities.

Remember, mentorship is a two-way street. Mentors benefit just as much from the arrangement as mentees do. One study of CFOs who mentored others found the top benefit they cited was improving their own leadership skills.[4]

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Some resources for you:

10. Self-Control

Self-development is no walk in the park. In challenging times, you’ll be tempted to find comfort in relaxing activities, such as playing video games or scrolling through social media. In order to truly progress, though, you have to learn self-control.

Smartphones in particular are a threat to self-control. The average person spends hours per day on their mobile devices. If you fall into that bucket, ask yourself: How could you use that time more productively?

Some resources for you:

11. Patience

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” — An old Chinese proverb

Remember no meaningful goal is achieved overnight.

Be patient. Self-development is a process that can take years, even decades. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t see immediate progress. Take pride and find joy in even your smallest accomplishments.

Some resources for you:

12. Resilience

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. In other words, you have to push yourself through hard situations. Every time you throw in the towel, you lose momentum that’s difficult to get back.

Resilience is a skill acquired through struggle. That may not sound encouraging when looking for quick self-development, but you’ll soon see the power that comes from never giving up.

Some resources for you:

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13. Balance

Spend all your time at your profession, and you’ll become a master at your trade. Spend all your time with family, and you’ll have wonderful relationships — but fewer skills and a much smaller bank account.

The key to getting the best of all worlds is balance. If you’re tired of working on one thing, take a break. You can always come back later, when you’re feeling more up to it.

Some resources for you:

14. Self-Care

Self-care means different things to different people, as it should. But the overarching truth holds for everyone: If you don’t care for your health, you won’t see the self-growth you want.

Make time to exercise regularly, either at home or at a local gym. Choose a diet that will supply you with the nutrients you need, and stay hydrated. Meditate at least once per day. And if you’re having trouble managing your health on your own, reach out to a professional.

Some resources for you:

15. Sacrifice

What do you have to give up to achieve your goals? When it comes to personal development, there’s always something.

When you’re learning a new skill — especially if you also work full-time — you can’t spend the night socializing with friends. You may even need to sacrifice your weekends.

While it’s important to find time to enjoy life, this isn’t the same as indulgence. Too much of any good thing is bad. Be prepared to give up a few pleasures in service to your self-development.

For Best Results, Start Today!

Developing all of these skills is a tall order. You’ll find, however, that in doing so you’ll already have made a lot of progress.

Use that progress to push even harder. Keep honing your skills, and you’ll see just how life-changing self-development can be.

Featured photo credit: Melanie Deziel via unsplash.com

Reference

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Kimberly Zhang

Kimberly Zhang is the Chief Editor of Under30CEO and has a passion for educating the next generation of leaders to be successful.

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Published on February 22, 2021

6 Proven Ways To Improve Your Intellectual Wellness

6 Proven Ways To Improve Your Intellectual Wellness

The mind, the body, and the spirit are universally recognized as the three main pillars of personal wellness. Similar to the way that a tripod balances itself on three legs, each pillar of wellness requires an equal amount of attention and support for you to achieve optimal balance in life. With that being said—and in my humble opinion—the mind is the most vital pillar of them all since it serves as the central processing center for all of our actions and all of our beliefs.

Similar to space exploration, no matter how much you learn about yourself, you may only be scratching the surface of your mental limits. And it seems that the more that we learn, the further we want to go. Either way, the pursuit of knowledge and understanding keeps us moving forward, constantly searching for greater substance and meaning in our lives—no matter where we come from, no matter our age.

Intellectual wellness essentially refers to having an educated and insightful understanding of our ever-changing surroundings. It suggests that we should be open-minded about learning new concepts and trying new experiences that have the potential to improve our perception of ourselves and our decision-making processes.

No matter how much we may like things just the way they are, the world is constantly in motion and change is an inevitable part of the human experience. Intellectual wellness emphasizes the importance of being able to adapt to our surroundings as it works to integrate our mind, body, and spirit in harmony.

Here are 6 proven ways to improve your intellectual wellness:

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1. Read a Book

“One glance at a book and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1000 years. To read is to voyage through time.”—Carl Sagan

Reading is like having a train ticket to go anywhere in the world at any time in history and learn almost everything that you ever wanted to know about anyone or anything that ever existed from an almost infinite number of perspectives. Furthermore, reading at a young age has been proven to significantly increase vocabulary in adulthood, which in turn has been shown to directly correlate to higher socioeconomic advancement through increased opportunity.[1]

Additionally, reading not only challenges you to stay focused on the words that you see but also on the context in which those words are intended to be interpreted. Therefore, reading can actually help increase your comprehension skills, strengthen your attention span, while simultaneously expanding your global perspective on any given subject.

2. Go Back to School

You are never too old to learn something new. However, if your schedule is anything like mine, I know that you probably feel as though you may not have any more head-space, nor room on your to-do list to go back to school any time soon. Nevertheless, this may be the perfect time to challenge yourself intellectually and do exactly that, especially now, while the world begins to recover from the pandemic.

Your mind is similar to a muscle, without exercising it regularly, it can lose its strength, as well as its form. As a matter of fact, studies have shown that people who are intellectually stimulated at work experience greater job satisfaction and ultimately live happier lives.[2]

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If you are feeling burned out, uninspired, financially displaced, or just ready to try something new, this may be an ideal time to learn a new craft, skill, or even a foreign language. Distance learning programs, for example, are offered by colleges and universities from all over the world. Almost anyone with a laptop and internet access now has the ability to go back to school to either become more proficient in a subject that they have already studied or learn more about a subject that they have always wanted to learn without ever having to leave the comfort of home.

3. Grow Your Career Path

“Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”—Mark Twain

As you learn more about the world around you through reading and education on your intellectual wellness journey, your career path will probably broaden as you gain greater insight. Whether you are making a fortune in the stock market or just making a living in retail, you may have been thinking about making a career change or at least exploring an alternate route along your current professional path.

Nevertheless, rather than running out and making a major career change today, perhaps start by trying to figure out exactly what type of work will give you the greatest sense of professional satisfaction. Carefully consider your personal interests, current skill set, financial expectations, as well as both your emotional and physical strengths and limitations.

Next, take a comprehensive look at the investment of both time and money required to make the career change. Finally, try to connect with someone already in the field that you want to enter to get the real inside scoop. Although you may need to be a little flexible on some of your expectations, I am confident that if you keep an open mind and stay laser-focused on your intellectual wellness, you will ultimately find your perfect professional fit.

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4. Start a New Hobby

In simple terms, a hobby is an activity that we do regularly for pleasure in our leisure time. They can be as simple and as inexpensive as collecting seashells on the beach or much more costly and time-consuming, such as restoring classic cars in your garage.

Hobbies are an excellent way to break free from the monotony of your normal daily routine by taking you away from all of your responsibilities, even if only for a few precious moments. Additionally, hobbies can help strengthen your sense of self-esteem as you build the breadth of a collection or your competency in performing a skill required to participate in the hobby that you chose, such as flying model airplanes and drones.

5. Play Games of Strategy

“All work and no play” makes for a boring life. Intellectual wellness can also be fun. Most games require some form of strategy to win. The more proficient you are in playing whatever game you choose, the higher the probability that you should be able to do well in the game.

So, I suggest that you consider choosing a game that challenges you to use as much strategy and skill as possible, rather than a game that is more about chance. Chess, for example, is one of the best strategy-based games to help you improve your overall intellectual wellness. As a matter of fact, research has shown that chess has been proven to improve memory, increase mental processing speed, build self-awareness, and even protect against dementia.[3]

6. Plan a Road Trip

With continued caution and plenty of common sense, this could actually be a great time for a road trip, even if you never actually travel outside of your own hometown. Although there are still some travel restrictions in place, most of us are now able to move relatively freely within our local communities.

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Travel has the potential to increase your intellectual wellness by broadening your horizons, increasing your sense of self-awareness, and improving your communication skills. And perhaps most importantly, especially right now, travel can increase your intellectual wellness by helping you adapt to your surroundings.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, intellectual wellness may be more important now than ever. From farming to finance, family, faith, and even personal freedoms, the recent global pandemic essentially forced all of us to reevaluate how we perform almost every aspect of our lives. We have all just witnessed firsthand how fragile life can be, while at the same time, witnessed how much we can accomplish when we work together as a global community to overcome a common problem or defeat a common enemy—for example, developing an effective vaccine to stop the spread of a highly contagious and deadly bat-borne virus.

Fortunately, however, you don’t have to be an infectious disease expert nor a genius to achieve your own level of intellectual wellness. You just need to have the desire to expand your intellectual horizon along with an open mind. And if that happens to be you, this just may be the perfect time to do a little work on your own intellectual wellness.

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Featured photo credit: Thought Catalog via unsplash.com

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