Published on April 12, 2021

8 Most Important Life Skills For Adults To Build

8 Most Important Life Skills For Adults To Build

In this article, I will give you hard-hitting pieces of advice you need to change your life. These are specific things I wish I had known earlier—that I had to learn over the years and now live by.

A word of warning before we begin: they might seem simple, but often it is the simplest things that get waylaid, passed off, or forgotten over time. Don’t confuse simple with easy. The ability to consistently train your mind and focus on committing to the development and implementation of these life skills as an adult is what makes the difference.

Each of these skills can change your life, but I’ve saved the best until last. When you read through them, don’t waste time getting started. The time to act is now. I promise you that if you feel you need to change and aren’t getting the full potential out of your life, you won’t regret making these changes today.

You’ll notice that I am being direct for a reason—because we all need someone to tell us to “wake up,” to get serious about playing the leading role in our own lives and being someone our families can depend on.

In today’s volatile world, I need you to step up, to shine, and to bring your best self every day. I want you to become the person you were born to be and to go after your really big goals and accomplish them.

Let’s get into it.

First, pull out a pen and paper—taking notes is the world-class way of winning, and we need to start right away in training our minds to be elite performers.

Don’t be afraid to do things differently from those around you. You are anything but average. However, being average has a way of creeping in, and the only way to change that is to move against the grain.

This is where you start to find yourself craving new associations, connections, and friendships. If this is happening to you, follow your thoughts and intuition and expand your horizons.

This is your time, now is when the transformation takes place. Here are 8 important life skills for adults to build.


1. Set Your Intentions Daily

If you don’t, life will set them for you. It’s as simple as that. If you don’t pay attention, you will drift, and slowly, quietly, over time, you will slip into poor routines and habits that don’t support who you had the potential to become or where you ultimately want to be.

By setting an intention for the day, you gain clarity over your goals and who you want to become. In essence, you are more likely to live the life you desire if you fix a point to aim at daily and hold yourself accountable to.

I was dubious at first—how could something so obvious make such a big difference?

Well, it has to do with small wins compounded every day. People don’t just get lucky. They put themselves in the path of success because they refuse to be average.

Maybe this speaks to you right now—you refuse to be a product of your environment, an output of your teaching. What’s possible for you is off the charts. Maybe you feel this burning desire inside to do more and contribute fully—if so, welcome.

By becoming a person that sets an intention for the day, you get to stay on track, value your time, and indirectly value yourself more. This is a big deal! Your self-esteem and how you view yourself matter. By loving yourself, you are open to opportunities and connections in a way that only you can make sense of.

This is what you bring to the world—your unique ability to be authentically you and set the direction and course of your own life.

2. Create Energy

As high performers, we must cultivate the ability to create energy, even when we don’t want to. This is so we can be consistent in the pursuit of the attributes and skills we know will aid us in living life more fully. Much like the skill above (setting intentions), being able to do things at times when we’d rather not is what makes the difference.

If you want to stand out—at work, as a leader or a boss, to your family—being able to generate energy in moments when everyone else is flagging, quitting, and giving up is a clear way you can demonstrate your character and commitment to excellence.

On top of this, it allows you to put habits and rituals into full effect and be a role model to others.


You are the girl who goes to the gym when she’d rather stay at home. You are the guy who prepares for the sales meeting and, as a result, has questions that impress the CEO rather than scrolling social media. This is the ultimate separator, the divider—the thing that means you win in business and life.

If you find that you aren’t that motivated, then you either need to raise the reasons why you are doing what you are doing so they are so big that you have no choice or you might need to change what you are doing to something that excites you.

3. Action and Urgency

It’s time to move into the action-taking zone. When a climber looks up at a cliff face, they don’t plot every move beforehand. Instead, they get started and make little adjustments along the way.

It is the same in life when we face big challenges, hurdles, complications—it’s all about getting started.

Those that make moves are the ones who reap the rewards, but it goes further than this. The world is competitive and if you want to be a top performer, you must combine taking action with urgency.

The urgency piece is huge. Sometimes, opportunities come along that are only “once in a decade”-type opportunities and you must be ready, willing, and hungry to pounce on them as soon as they come up.

4. Put a Price on Your Time

Another important life skill for adults to build is knowing the price of their own time. Far too many people do tasks that don’t align with their goals, dreams, and vision while complaining that they aren’t running their own business or their sales figures are lower than they want them to be because of a bad market.

The answer is to stop doing tasks that are below your hourly rate. You must come up with a number for your hourly rate/ This can be a number that’s higher than what you are currently on. It must inspire you. Next, use this hourly rate as a guide to help you understand what tasks to outsource.

Does it make sense for you to walk across town to save $10 on cab fare versus getting to the office early and get a jump on the day?

When you value your time higher, it puts things into perspective and helps you level up to the life you want to be living. If you are building a business, what’s taking your focus? Is it Instagram, cooking, cleaning, paying bills, organizing birthdays? Question everything that you are doing that is below your hourly rate and outsource it (if possible), leaving you free to focus on what actually moves the needle.


5. The Art of Persuasion

Critical to business and life is learning the art of persuasion. This is the ability to be able to get what you want, to read the room, to sell, and to enjoy the process while doing it.

Confidence in the art of persuasion comes from knowing how to influence people, and the way you can influence others is not by trying to convince someone that something is true but rather, make them believe your own beliefs. It is a subtle but mighty distinction.

To persuade someone, they must believe your beliefs about something. This is how salespeople become world-class. They change their focus from trying to get the other person to believe and act from a place of their own belief to inspire others.

This is a skill that will help you in all areas, from business, career, job negotiations, housing, rental, family, team to problem-solving. It impacts a huge array of life areas.

6. Surround Yourself With Your Dream

I love luxury hotels. I am drawn to the abundance and opulence of them. That’s why even if it is just for a day, I make it a priority to go and stay for a night.

When I was struggling to make ends meet—the six credit cards I had were all fully maxed out, the debts were piling up, and the dream I was fighting so hard to keep alive was weighing down on me—I made it my priority to never lose touch with where I was headed: the bigger vision I had a for my life.

I would find a luxury hotel and just go work out of the restaurant when I could only afford a coffee or even the reception. I wanted to be surrounded by my dream life. To me, this was about having an abundance mindset in the midst of the struggle. This is what helped me dial in and stay focused on where I was headed.

If you have a dream or a vision for your life, be conscious of the way you allow yourself to experience it and celebrate your small wins and successes as they occur. Too many people are waiting to celebrate their wins and as a result, the Universe notices, which affects how regularly wins occur.

7. Give and Give Some More

A large part of what makes life worthwhile is giving. If you are in a space of doubts, fears, negativity, and anxiety, the best way to combat this is to focus on what you can give. It doesn’t have to be financial either, this could be as simple as a smile and as deep as listening to a friend who is having a hard time themselves.

The key here is to make giving part of your skillset so that you recognize it as one of the core strategies you have to keep yourself moving forward and making a contribution.


8. Get Clear on Your Identity

Knowing who you are and what you will tolerate in your life is bigger than all of the above. This adult life skill alone will dictate how successful you are, the habits and rituals you set for yourself, and the standards you have for yourself. If you want to raise the bar of your own life, then you might need to start transforming a few areas of your identity.

For example, if you are in sales, make going the extra mile a part of who you are—working the extra hour, getting up earlier, hitting the gym more times in a week, doing an extra rep.

These small shifts have a big effect on your identity. If repeated consistently over time, your identity will change and you will associate yourself with a higher level of success. You may even find yourself drawn to different people, content, and lifestyles.

A Word of Warning

With all of the life skills for adults above that I have outlined, the number one thing you can do for yourself is to actually do what you say you will do for yourself. Keep the commitments that you make. It will help you grow your confidence like nothing else and, as a result, you become more.

That’s why I say commit today but really mean it because the biggest thing you can do is trust yourself—that you will do what you say you will.

Having a trusted relationship with yourself is paramount to making it in life. The more experiences you can collect where you make yourself proud and recognize that within yourself, the higher your level of self-confidence and the more you’ll be able to make an impact on others.

Remember, the time is now to increase the trajectory and velocity of your life. Don’t wait, get started, and iterate along the way.

More Life Skills for Adults

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Tim Castle

Bestselling Author, Coach and Co-Founder of My Book Habit

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Published on May 11, 2021

20 Best Books on Personal Development

20 Best Books on Personal Development

Let’s face it—transformation isn’t always easy. Getting from where you are to where you want to be in life requires a lot of personal growth and development. It can require everything from letting go of old beliefs to speaking up for yourself and setting boundaries to even recognizing your own unmet needs. These aren’t exactly skills we’re taught in school, so it can be incredibly overwhelming to even know where to start.

A few decades ago, most personal development information was locked behind thousand-dollar seminars and coaching programs. Fortunately, the industry has absolutely exploded in the last decade, and a large part of that is driven by books. For under $15 or with a library card, we now have access to priceless wisdom from some of the most brilliant minds and best books on personal development.

By reading the words of experts in the field, we literally can think their thoughts and benefit from decades of experience to improve our own lives. So, how do you get started?

Here are the 20 best books on personal development that can completely transform your life.

(Links are listed for accessibility, but remember to check your local library to see if these books are available for free. And don’t forget to support your local bookstore, if possible.)

1. The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron

    Celebrated by everyone from Martin Scorsese to Elizabeth Gilbert, The Artist’s Way has been one of the most important books for artists and non-artists alike for decades. It guides you through a 12-week process of morning journaling and self-dates to unlock all of your blocks to creativity and intuition and live a life that feels like you.

    Whether you are an artist or not, this is an insightful book that will bring so much clarity to what you really want out of life and why you’ve been holding yourself back.

    Get the book here!

    2. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown

      Researcher and storyteller Brené Brown has been a leader in studying vulnerability. In The Gifts of Imperfection, she shares research and encouragement that helps you release the definition of who you think you’re supposed to be to become who you actually already are.

      Brené encourages you to let go of shame, open up to vulnerability, and live a more authentic life. This is an inspiring and important book for anyone struggling with the shame of being radically yourself.

      Get the book here!

      3. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

        In Start with Why, author and TED speaker Simon Sinek shares the secret that united Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers—they all started with “why.” They realized that people won’t truly buy into a product, service, movement, or idea until they understand the “why” behind it.

        While this book is primarily focused on work or business, Start with Why makes a compelling case for the power behind a strong motivation that people can get behind and how it can inspire more innovation and support.

        Get the book here!

        4. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

          For decades, psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has famously studied the concept of “flow”—the highly-focused psychological state that Olympic athletes, great artists, and brilliant scientists all find themselves in at moments of groundbreaking success.

          By breaking down decades of research into bite-sized actions, Flow reveals the process to create this state for yourself and get “in the zone” to achieve your optimal potential.


          Get the book here!

          5. The HeartMath Solution: The Institute of HeartMath’s Revolutionary Program for Engaging the Power of the Heart’s Intelligence by Doc Lew Childre and Howard Martin

            Touted by Deepak Chopra as the book that “saves you years of therapy,” The HeartMath Solution pulls together decades of Institute of HeartMath research on how to be less stressed and make better decisions, making it one of the best books on personal development.

            This practical, easy read will change the way you view the relationship between your head and heart. The techniques in the book are incredibly simple and can help you calm down from some of the stressful moments in a matter of seconds to tap back into your best decision-making.

            Get the book here!

            6. The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller

              If you’re overwhelmed by too many things to do and never seem to accomplish the stuff that really matters to you, then this is an invaluable book. The ONE Thing argues that until your most important task is completed, everything else is a distraction that diffuses your energy and makes you frantic.

              This book helps you focus on what you really care about and want to accomplish and then, organize your life around accomplishing the “one thing” before moving on to something else. This is one of the best books for personal development, especially for anyone who’s struggling with overwhelm and productivity.

              Get the book here!

              7. Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself by Melody Beattie

                Codependent No More has been an international bestseller for more than 30 years, and the reason is that we all struggle with codependency somewhere in our lives.

                Whether it looks like addiction, people-pleasing, taking care of everyone around you, or just not giving yourself enough self-care, this book unpacks the roots of codependency and helps you break free once-and-for-all.

                This is an important book for anyone having challenges in friendships or relationships or struggling with people-pleasing or addiction.

                Get the book here!

                8. The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday

                  Presenting ancient Stoic wisdom to a modern audience, The Obstacle Is the Way shows you how to turn your obstacles and challenges into massive opportunities.

                  Ryan Holiday draws from the same ancient philosophy that empowered John D. Rockefeller, Amelia Earhart, and Steve Jobs to succeed and breaks down the essential formula for not running away from obstacles but actually running toward them.

                  This is a really empowering book for anyone struggling with obstacles to get what they want.

                  Get the book here!

                  9. Real Help: An Honest Guide to Self-Improvement by Ayodeji Awosika


                    Real Help isn’t your usual self-help book. Wildly popular Medium writer Ayodeji Awosika takes a no-BS, tough-love approach to developing mental toughness, finding clarity, and taking action to transform your life.

                    This is a great book if you’ve read dozens of self-help or personal development books but haven’t taken action to change your life. Real Help gets right to the point and gives you actionable steps to start implementing change right away.

                    Get the book here!

                    10. Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

                      Year of Yes is a deeply personal and honest account of how the creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal Shonda Rhimes started saying yes to everything that scared her.

                      This inspiring and raw memoir makes you reflect on what you’ve been avoiding or making excuses for out of fear and what would really happen if you started saying yes to all the stuff that terrifies you. It’s a relatable, casual, easy read, and is great for anyone who needs a little inspiration to start saying yes to life.

                      Get the book here!

                      11. The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level by Gay Hendricks

                        Psychologist Gay Hendricks unpacks why we all seem to self-sabotage when we’re so close to success and what it will take to leap to a life where you’re in your “Zone of Genius.”

                        In this highly motivating book on personal development, you’ll walk step by step on how to “go beyond your internal limits, release outdated fears, and learn a whole new set of powerful skills and habits to liberate your authentic greatness.”

                        Get the book here!

                        12. Power vs. Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior (5.2.1985) by David R. Hawkins

                          Hailed by Mother Teresa, Lee Iacocca, and Sam Walton, Power vs. Force combines spirituality and cutting-edge research to help you understand your emotions and level of consciousness.

                          In this seminal work, David Hawkins explains how to get a yes or no answer to any question you ask and how to understand what you’re feeling and why so that you can begin to change your life and the world around you.

                          While it’s not exactly a light beach read, this book is really eye-opening for those wanting to explore spirituality as part of their personal development.

                          Get the book here!

                          13. What I Know for Sure by Oprah Winfrey

                            Personal development as we know it would not be the same without Oprah Winfrey. For 14 years, Oprah shared her greatest wisdom in a monthly column for O, The Oprah Magazine called “What I Know for Sure.” This book collects all of those essays—a lifetime of Oprah’s greatest experiences and lessons—into a comprehensive work.

                            What I Know for Sure is honest, thoughtful, and deeply inspiring. This is a powerful book for devout Oprah Winfrey fans and soon-to-be fans alike.

                            Get the book here!


                            14. Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins

                              In this memoir, Navy SEAL David Goggins recounts his own life story from poverty, prejudice, and physical abuse to becoming one of the world’s top endurance athletes and military icon through pure will.

                              Can’t Hurt Me will inspire you to stretch and persevere to defy even the most improbably odds and realize that when you think you’re completely tapped out, you’ve only tapped into 40% of your capabilities—and there’s still so much more you can do.

                              It’s an inspiring, tough love book that will motivate you to take action toward your dreams.

                              Get the book here!

                              15. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

                                In The Happiness Project, writer Gretchen Rubin documents her entire year of testing out research, classical philosophy, and common wisdom to find out what makes her truly happy.

                                This casual and accessibly written book inspires you to design your own happiness project to transform each area of your life as you follow Gretchen’s journey and contemplate research on happiness.

                                If you’re looking for an inspiring structure to change every aspect of your life, The Happiness Project is an easy read that can inspire you to experiment with what makes you happy.

                                Get the book here!

                                16. Unlimited Power: The New Science Of Personal Achievement by Tony Robbins

                                  The name Tony Robbins has been synonymous with personal development. In Unlimited Power, he reveals the exact techniques he has used to help Olympic athletes, movie stars, and heads of state to harness their own untapped power.

                                  This book breaks down complicated neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) techniques into simple visualizations that anyone can learn in literally minutes to start to change the way your mind processes information. If you’re looking to change your thinking or step into more confidence, this is an important book to not overlook.

                                  Get the book here!

                                  17. The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor

                                    In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor flips conventional wisdom on its head. It’s not that we’ll be happy when we’re successful. It’s that we’ll actually be successful when we’re happy.

                                    Shawn presents research that shows us how to rewire our brains for positivity and optimism to be happier in our lives, our careers, and even our health. He also breaks down actionable strategies to retrain our brains, build a solid support network, and spread positive change to the people around us.

                                    If you’re looking to retrain your brain for happiness and success, this is definitely a worthwhile book to consider.

                                    Get the book here!

                                    18. Energy Leadership: Transforming Your Workplace and Your Life from the Core by Bruce D. Schneider


                                      Renowned coach Bruce D. Schneider doesn’t just tell you what energy leadership is—he shows you. In Energy Leadership, Bruce recounts the story of how he helped a client to transform his failing business by systematically changing the energy of the business.

                                      At each new level, there are specific emotions, actions, and predictable arguments. By the end of the book, you’ll be able to identify exactly which level of energy leadership every relationship, job, and friendship in your life is at and how to begin transforming it for the better.

                                      It’s an eye-opening look at why we’re stuck where we are and how we can shift ourselves and those around us to get extraordinary results.

                                      Get the book here!

                                      19. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

                                        Bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert digs into her own creative process in Big Magic to unpack the mysterious and spiritual nature of inspiration. She discusses the habits needed to cultivate creativity, go after our deepest desires, and confront our fears.

                                        With a casual, poetic tone and lots of encouragement, Big Magic inspires you to find the magic inside—whether that’s to create art, start a new business, or bring more mindfulness and passion to our everyday lives.

                                        If you’re looking for more inspiration and creativity, this is an important book to reignite that fire within.

                                        Get the book here!

                                        20. Enough Already: Create Success on Your Own Terms by Mike Iamele

                                          I’d be remiss if I didn’t include my own book on this list.

                                          Enough Already is a battle cry for the success seekers who are fed up trying to achieve someone else’s definition of success. Broken up into 12 steps, the book follows a journey through the 12 aspects of creating success on your own terms with homework and challenges at the end of each chapter to implement the work into your life immediately.

                                          By the end of the book, you’ll have a completed strategic plan to step up into the world and go after even some of your biggest dreams knowing that you are enough already.

                                          Get the book here!

                                          The Bottom Line

                                          You only need one good idea to change your life, and there’s so much important wisdom and inspiration in the 20 best books on personal development listed above. You don’t have to read all of them. You just have to start.

                                          Personal development is about taking action to develop yourself personally. So, scan this list, find a book that resonates with you, and then start reading.

                                          You don’t need to measure the magnitude—just the direction. If you take one tiny step toward the life you want, every day for a year, you’ll be 365 times closer to your dreams a year from today. But you just have to start.

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