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Brush Up On These 10 Important Skills Many Young Adults Are Losing

Brush Up On These 10 Important Skills Many Young Adults Are Losing

In today’s world, we constantly rely on tools, electronics, and connected devices. Growing up in a world of ever-increasing connectivity is bound to require different skills than were needed before. Being a millennial myself, I feel many criticisms from older generations relating to this are misplaced. On the other hand, young people do stand to lose some important skills if we let new technologies completely obscure our approach to life. We might not need to know how to repair things like fences or old-time appliances, but the DIY mentality could be powerful if applied to our new devices. By taking the best of older generations and combining it with today’s unique demands and skill sets, young adults stand to be more empowered than any generation before. Though you don’t need to give up your love of technology, the Internet, or gaming, these 10 skills are still ones we could all benefit from brushing up on.

1. You need to know how to fix things

While it’s unlikely that our generation will need to know the same mechanical skills that past generations knew, our world is constantly growing more technologically connected. Because of this, we shouldn’t overlook the importance of fixing something ourselves. By growing more familiar with the inner workings of our technological tools and toys, our generation stands to be more efficient and self-reliant, and save some money. Things like simple button repairs or frayed cords are straightforward repairs; we shouldn’t be intimidated by learning how to fix our own electronics. Some easier repairs on mobile devices for example, run between $60 and $150. The same repairs can be done in less than an hour if you are familiar with some of the basic parts that go into the devices. Though the objects we are fixing may be different, younger generations should still value knowing how to do something yourself. Just remember that tinkering with your electronics often nullifies your warranty: only do repairs on items when the warranty has expired.

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2. You need to value and connect with nature

Another skill our generation is in danger of forgetting is valuing nature. While many people today are concerned with environmental causes, many of us neglect to explore the nature that surrounds us. Though our connected devices do show us the entire world, it’s important to remember that basic knowledge of local plants and animals can come in handy. Not only that, making a habit of going outside helps with vitamin D production, and may even help with anxiety.

3. You have to be able to rely on your memory

While there’s nothing wrong with embracing new innovations, one skill our generation may be losing is committing things to memory. By always having search engines at our fingertips, we are relying on our memory less. It’s important to remember that basic skills and knowledge may be required when you don’t have an Internet connection, so committing things to memory is a valuable habit to get into.

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4. You need to know how to cook

Many people in younger generations are more than happy to rely on fast food and microwave meals to get through the week. However, as our society faces increasing concerns with the lack of nutrition in ready-made meals, it’s important that your body is getting everything it needs. One way to ensure this is by cooking at least some of your meals, something most of us could do more of. Though it seems intimidating, a few basic cooking skills are really all you need to supplement your diet.

5. You need to value thriftiness

In today’s world, planned obsolescence and brand obsession attempt to keep consumers spending more than ever. However, it is important to remember the financial crash of 2007/2008 and the challenges we faced. It is crucial that younger generations remember to value thriftiness. Ultimately, the less you spend on possessions, the more you can spend on people and experiences. While we probably don’t need to go as far as the older generation’s world war rationing, keep in mind that possessions are just possessions, and that a new phone doesn’t offer much more than your current one. By wearing things out before you replace them, you stand to save a lot of money, and will be less at the beck and call of corporate marketing.

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6. You need to appreciate simplicity

Another quality younger generations should try to hold on to is simplicity. Thankfully, younger generations seem to still be on board with this one, as many millennials are turning away from typical big ticket purchases like cars and homes. While we don’t need to forfeit a comfortable life, if we consume less, we have more resources at our disposal to help others. As the first generation to grow up with the Internet, we are aware of the world around us than ever before. If young people can use this power to live more simply and give more to those who need it, we will truly be living up to our potential.

7. You need to expand your vocabulary

Another skill young people should try to retain is a good vocabulary. Language has always fluctuated and changed over time, and many of our “proper” expressions today would have been considered unintelligent, offensive slang 100 years ago. In this way, it’s not necessarily wrong to use abbreviations or Internet slang; however, remember that different ways of expressing yourself make what you’re saying stand out better. Having a rich vocabulary does not require you to ignore messaging language trends, but learning more words to express yourself will make your message more powerful.

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8. You need to know basic DIY skills

Another skill young people should try to keep is basic DIY repair skills. Almost everyone will go through a time when something in their house or apartment breaks but they don’t have enough money to fix it. By learning basic repairs and how to use basic tools, you stand be more empowered in your life. If you don’t need to rely on others to fix absolutely everything, you will save money, save time, and probably impress your significant other.

9. You should have some basic survival skills

Along with basic do-it-yourself repairs, young people shouldn’t shy away from learning basic survival skills. While younger people today are probably less likely to be outdoorsman, you never know what situation you might find yourself in. A wrong turn on a back road, or getting lost during an easy hike, can quickly lead to needing to survive a night outdoors. If you know basic skills like how to make a fire, or not to leave your vehicle or supplies, it might just save your life.

10. You have to be able to apply yourself to long tasks

Finally, one skill young people should value is the ability to internalize long books and films. Today’s world moves fast, and our media generally reflects this. Gone are the days where films would normally last over two hours, and the longest book many of us of have ever read is probably one of the Harry Potter books. However, in life we are often required to tackle challenges that take months or even years of perseverance and work. While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying today’s fast-paced media and reading material, it is always helpful to try to finish classic works of literature or older, longer films. By forcing your brain to focus on longer tasks, you will be better equipped to deal with real life situations that require determination and persistence.

Featured photo credit: xflickrx via flickr.com

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Alicia Prince

A writer, filmmaker, and artist who shares about lifestyle tips and inspirations on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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