There are some personal skills that most people don’t realize are crucial for success. Moreover, you can and should master them if you want to make your dreams a reality.
“I wish I was special.” That verse from Radiohead’s Creep contains the essence of people’s existence, don’t you think? Ever since childhood, we dreamed of becoming pianists, Formula 1 drivers, actors, scientists, teachers, doctors… Whatever our vision was, it was always centered on a specific talent and not some vague personal skills.
But as most of us grew older, we understood that we didn’t have the talents we so wanted to have. Does that lead to disappointment? Sure. The feeling of being just an average human who’s not making contributions to this world is certainly not heartwarming.
The thing is: everyone is special. You don’t need to have extraordinary talent. You don’t have to wish you were born different. You can make yourself different. You can make yourself better if you work towards the development of specific personal skills that will set you on track for a successful life.
Personal development is a tad underestimated. Having talent is easy… you’re born with it. Building a skill requires hard work and persistence. That’s what makes the process hard, but it’s exactly what makes you stronger along the way.
We’ll list 10 underestimated personal skills that everyone can and should master. They will definitely make you more special!
1. Ability to Handle Constructive Criticism
Handling constructive criticism doesn’t mean ignoring it. No one wants to hear that they’ve made a mistake. When you invest time and energy in doing something, you want other people to appreciate it. When someone gives you constructive criticism, however, you should not be hurt.
Turn this into a skill: understand where that critique is coming from and figure out what you can do to improve some aspect of your work or yourself.
We keep seeing this term all over the Internet. But what is it, exactly? It’s the state of mind in which we see ourselves, our actions, and the consequences of those actions more clearly. Research shows that that capacity for self-evaluation makes people less likely to steal, lie, and cheat. It also helps them develop better leadership skills.
So how can you cultivate self-awareness as a skill?
- You have to work on two aspects of self-awareness: internal and external. Internal self-awareness means having a clear view of your own actions, values, goals, and impact on other people. External self-awareness means understanding yourself from another person’s viewpoint. When you combine these two aspects of awareness, you understand who you are and what goals you want to accomplish.
- Introspection is a nice way to work on your self-awareness. It means examining all the thoughts and feelings you experience and finding their root cause.
This has been said many times before, but not everyone understands it. Communication skills are the essence of your professional and social success. If you speak and listen well enough, you already have the foundation for developing other personal skills.
- Articulate your points clearly. Do not allow anger, disappointment, or impatience to affect your tone and message.
- Listen and comprehend! Do not stand behind a single argument without listening to what other people say. That’s called stubbornness; not communication.
In the era of consumerism, budgeting is a highly underestimated skill. It’s still a necessary skill that takes you to a more successful future.
Have you read The Raw Youth by Dostoevsky? In this book, the main character has an important “idea” that would allow him to live independently. The foundational element of this idea is a simple principle: spend less than what you earn.
It’s a simple philosophy that works. You shouldn’t work towards greater spending but towards greater savings.
5. Going Beyond Expectations
When you’re asked to complete a task, you shouldn’t limit yourself to meeting expectations. Let’s say you’re writing an article. The structure is simple: introduction, body, and conclusion. If you just follow the rules with the intention to complete that article, you’ll be average. If you challenge those expectations and go beyond the standard effort required for completing the task, you’ll write something special.
The mentality that tells you to get things done just to get things done is your enemy. Challenge yourself to go beyond average and develop a skill out of that mindset!
6. A Subtle Sense of Humor
No; no one is saying you should become the clown in the company. Your sense of humor should never be exaggerated. You don’t want people to expect you to entertain them unless you want to become a successful stand-up comedian.
If you want humor to be not your superhero but your sidekick, then you should develop this skill in its subtle form. You want that elegant sense of humor that makes you a nice person to talk to. Whenever you’re at a tense meeting or in the middle of a complicated situation at work, your ability to express the humorous aspects of things can make you a real star.
Do you have a network of successful and inspiring people around you? Do these people share your aspirations, interests, and values? No; we’re not talking about family and friends. We’re talking about a professional network that you can use to climb up the career ladder.
You can develop networking skills if you learn how to use LinkedIn the right way. You can take things further. Start attending conferences from your industry of interest and use your communication skills to connect with the right people.
Did Lady Gaga reach stardom all by herself? No. She had the talent and personal skills, but she would still be anonymous to most of us if she didn’t collaborate with the right people.
Being able to work as part of a team is a major necessity in any modern workplace. You cannot do everything on your own, no matter how talented you are. Start relying on other people! Start working on your collaboration skills, which involve listening to other people and working towards a common goal.
It’s devastating to see how many people neglect writing skills as a foundation for their success. They think that a careless misspelling in an Instagram caption is nothing serious, so they don’t even bother writing clear, grammatically correct sentences.
The truth is: writing skills are important. It doesn’t matter what profession you choose; you’ll be writing a greater number of emails than you assume. Writing is an aspect of successful communication, and we already talked about the importance of communication skills.
10. Personal Branding
The personal branding process will provide a clear focus on your personal development goals. It’s essential to career success since it lets everyone see the person you want them to see.
- Figure out what you’re good at, and set the personal branding process on that foundation.
- Show the world! Start sharing your own content on social media. Start a blog, too!
If you have a well-known personal brand, you’ll start getting one career opportunity after another.
So how about putting some work into your personal development? If you manage to master the 10 personal skills we listed above, you’ll definitely become more successful. That’s a guarantee!
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