How life skills and values protect us

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Life is a beautiful journey that throws several challenges in its path. When skilled with the right variables and understanding, each new experience that comes our way helps us in managing the difficulties. But many of us look at struggles with despair.

Life is not always happy-go-lucky and hunky-dory for all. With nature’s inevitable inequalities, each of us has to experience the same journey differently but mostly, proportionate to our acts of omissions and commissions, following the cause and effect theory.

Decision making and problem solving are unavoidable moments that often define the course of our journey, and the quality of life that we could follow subsequently. Life skills include adaptive and positive behaviours that enable us humans to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of life.

When we simply go with the flow, we experience varied moments, ups and downs, hope and despair, happiness and sorrow, and more often than not, an uncontrolled drive.

Experiences do teach us but not before pushing us to go through upheavals. Therefore, learning life skills will enable a relatively smoother path in this journey for happier outcomes.

Psychologist William James once said, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes.”

Psychosocial competence is a person's ability to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life. We acquire professional skills, and during our life’s journey, we learn life skills. But conscious efforts to learn help us in dealing with situations better.

Many of us have intelligence. We enhance knowledge with education and training but emotions manage most of our actions, and hence, we need to regulate and control our emotions.

There are many such skills, but core life skills include the ability to cope with emotions and the resulting stress, critical thinking & decision making, effective communication and accepting failure as a learning process and not as the end of this world.

The 10 core life skills as laid down by the World Health Organization are:

  1. Self-awareness
  2. Empathy
  3. Critical thinking
  4. Creative thinking
  5. Decision making
  6. Problem Solving
  7. Effective communication
  8. Interpersonal relationship
  9. Coping with stress
  10. Coping with emotion

Home is the first school for a human, and parents have the responsibility to teach life skills, mostly by engaging their kids in the daily household work, and become the example for them in everything. Children are great observers and fast learners. Parents have to behave responsibly and help creating an educative and positive atmosphere, inculcating good values and practices.

Over indulgence could spoil them and indifference could dishearten. Schools should also follow suit, because after home and parents, children spend maximum time in schools, learning all that is imparted to them by teachers. This way, their foundations could be built strongly for a safer and smoother voyage ahead in life. Family is the closest circle around you.

It gives a sense of comfort and foundation. Friends circle is another close circle that influences you as much. It is important to be surrounded by positive energy which ultimately defines and moulds you. Hence, your energy should be positive while your thinking should be progressive.

Rejections and defeats should be faced chin up and not be treated as the end of the world. Remember, when one door closes, another opens up. We just need to have perseverance, stay positive, and not allow our self-confidence to get affected in any manner possible.

Wallowing in self-pity and sulking long on the challenges during the difficult times would only make us suffer more. Acting timely on the available opportunities and finding solutions could only help tiding over the surging waves of negative emotions.

Frustrations creep in and confidence wobbles when in short supply of certain knowledge and skill. In order to overcome this, one must always stay busy. Learning is a continuous process and there is no end to this.

At the same time, we must accept that imperfection is natural and inequality is also a common phenomenon in this planet. Though comparison is obvious, it generates various emotions, mostly negative. Absence of knowledge and such shortcomings and imperfections induce us to defend ourselves and even justify, thereby closing the doors for learning and improvement.

If not addressed suitably, it remains an uncovered sink-hole, which could expand further into a larger crater, forcing us to trip over and fall. Someone rightly said that this modern world does have human beings but humanity is missing.

Emotional Quotient (EQ) helps us in managing and overcoming various human emotions and thus, facing challenges better.

All the ills afflicting our society and our behaviours today are simply in the absence of values, which is a prime factor in the growth and progress of any civilisation. Values and principles help refining and restructuring our clumsy minds, eliciting positive thoughts, offering strength and courage to face the challenges in life.

There is deep meaning and profound thoughts behind values and principles. Following them will help in leading a disciplined life that would give peace and self-respect. Everything in our lives need to work within a boundary, moving beyond it invites challenges.

We must know where to draw the line in everything that we do and think. Acting within the boundary, as prescribed by the civilised society, helps in managing the same rather smoothly and with less hassles. Values define this boundary and teach us to act within it.

With the onset of the 21st century, the free global economy brought in crass consumerism and over indulgence, pushing behind the value system. Hedonism, over-indulgence and crass consumerism overpowered our minds and absence of value systems pushed us into loss, pain and sufferings.

Negativity envelops our confused minds and frustrations and anger leads to depression. A mere glance around most families, our society and several institutions, mirror the glaring absence of values and ethics. Millennials may not understand this as they have stepped into a world bereft of values and principles at every step in life. And we rue this today.

No society is civilised if value systems are ignored. One doesn’t develop values just by being religious. Conscience plays a major role in shaping up minds, instilling discipline. Values emerge from that. A man will be a mere living creature without his conscience and values.

As your definition of success changes, so do your personal values. This is why keeping in touch with your values is a lifelong exercise. You should continuously revisit this, especially if you start to feel unbalanced... and you can't quite figure out why.

Some of life's decisions are really about determining what you value most. When multiple options seem reasonable, leading perhaps to confusion and dilemma, it's helpful and comforting to rely on your values – and use them as a guiding force to take you in the right direction.

Ask yourself what do you want at the end of the day...Peace? So be it. If you value health, you will maintain balanced food and healthy life style. If you value relationship, you will nurture and care for them, no matter how much differences you could be experiencing at times. Plenty of excuses are available, if you are looking for one. But will that help moving things further, offering peace and contentment? Skills provide us confidence and logical progress while value acts as conscience and moral guide.

Ego, ambition and vested interests push us to find excuses and feel negative in everything. When will we love one another if we become judgmental?

Today, consumers are changing, the approach to marketing is changing, and technology is changing fast. You will need to upgrade and learn on a continuous basis.

Communication is much underrated. People think that it is merely command over a language and mastering the same. But it is much more and much beyond that, including listening and absorbing while understanding the context, the domain and the audiences it is targeted to.

Of course, a compelling storytelling would work wonder for you always…how persuasive you are and how focused. It always helps to be on top of the situation at hand though challenges offer them in different ways and handling each needs different techniques and approach.

Like professional skills are required to enhance career, life skills will help tide over challenges and control emotions. Values are the guiding factors that add substance and self-respect. Lifelong learning is no longer just optional, it’s necessary.

Procrastination is a very comfortable zone. Getting out of the comfort zone is the biggest crossroad that people face. Successful serial entrepreneur, Ronnie Screwvala says, “The one good thing about habits is that they have been challenged during the pandemic for everyone. A habit should always be questioned, because there’s a sense of comfort with routine, and it doesn’t challenge you.”

Edited by Anju Narayanan

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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