3 Life Skills That Are Just As Necessary As A College Degree {Holly Springs/Raleigh/Durham/Triangle Area Photographer}

You’re thinking about your future. What College do I want to party at go to? What will my major be…WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH THE REST OF MY LIFE? That’s a loaded question, and if you asked most of us that are already adulting, we still may not be able to tell you. Regardless of all of those tough decisions ahead of you, here are three skills that will get you far in this life!

1. The Golden Rule

Treat others the way you want to be treated. I know you probably learned this when you were 4, but it’s time to start putting this one into practice.  Actually, while you’re at it, treat others better than you expect to be treated. Even if they don’t deserve it, always keep your composure and be the bigger person. Not just to spite them either, but do it for real. Thinking outside of yourself is an appealing attribute. I always try to keep in mind that person could have had a huge loss in their life or a bad break up with coffee and they’re just taking it out on me.  It’s not right, but I can only control my own words and actions. You’d be shocked to find out how many people respond to kindness and respect, but if they’re just one of those negative Nancy’s, keep doing your thing. Life’s too short to allow anyone to steal your joy.

2. Communication

If there’s anything I’ve learned in my adult life, it’s this. Always keep an open line of communication. With your teachers, your boss, your peers, your colleagues, your clients, your (future) spouse (and children), your parents, your friends….This is SO important!

This can be as simple as making sure your hairstylist knows you want auburn hair, and not fire engine red hair.  There are SO many shades of red! Communication is key.

Other times it can be a little trickier when you know it may be a conflicting situation. I hate conflict, but sometimes there’s no way around it. Just bite the bullet, and try to approach these situations in a non-aggressive way. Effective communication ensures you are on the same page, and it also allows for the other person to make a change. How else would my hubby know how loud he’s chewing if I didn’t tell him? (In his defense it’s actually my issue! I HATE hearing people chew, but apparently I’m not alone-its called misophonia! The struggle is real people, look it up!) When it comes to my businesses, I always let people know up front about any upcoming changes. No one likes to be surprised when it comes to their wallet. By the way, communication goes both ways, so you need to learn how to receive feedback. It’s important to step into the other persons shoes and try to see things from their perspective. Self reflection goes hand in hand with all of this. If someone brings something to my attention that I may not like to hear, my knee jerk reaction is to be defensive. But I have learned how to listen, let it settle, and do my best to make a change. If it’s truly constructive criticism or something that’s going to get in the way of my relationship with them, it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on. They’ve brought it to my attention for a reason. It’s not always easy to push our pride to the wayside in the heat of the moment, but in the end you will be glad you did.

3.Honesty’s the best policy

Always, always be honest. Unless you’re protecting someone’s feelings, or if it’s keeping others or yourself from danger. But in general, it’s extremely important to be honest with others, not to mention with yourself. No one likes to be lied to, and omitting the truth also counts. A lie will come back to haunt you at one point or another, so It’s better to lay it all out on the table where it can be dealt with right then and there. You can tell a lot about a person’s character in this area…and trust me, people know fake when they see it. Being honest with yourself helps you to grow as a person. It allows you to be an effective listener, and it also allows you to set realistic, attainable goals.

See how these all work together? All of these things have one common theme: people. You can’t get away from people, they are a part of this world and you will have to learn to successfully interact with them. If you do your best to put others first, be honest with them, and effectively communicate with them, you will be WINNING at life, and you’ll find much contentment in it.

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