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Why It's Important for People to Have Life Skills

Updated on July 12, 2017
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Dreamworker has a lifetime of business, career and financial experience she shares with her readers here.

Life skills are learned and important behaviors that most people just assume everybody has.

Unfortunately, there are thousands of individuals whose lives are limited or have even been damaged because they never learned them.

If you have ever wondered why other people advance in life but you do not, it may be because nobody ever taught you the importance of doing basic things such as how to

  • peel a hard boiled egg,
  • back a car into a parking spot or
  • tell time on an analog clock.

Even some of the most well educated and intelligent people lack the ability to do these types of things and because of this, they have problems as they go through life.

For example, I know a highly successful doctor who has never balanced his check book.. He says he has never seen the need for doing so, but does not understand how it is that he lost all of his money a few years ago!

The good news is that is never too late to learn the basics for successful daily living,

Taking the time to do so can make a world of difference in your life.in terms of improving your relationships, earning money, finding good jobs and making good decisions.

The more skills you possess, the better your life will be.
The more skills you possess, the better your life will be. | Source

Why Don’t People Know These Things?

There are several reasons why people never learn these skills. For example,

  1. they may not have seen a reason for learning some of them,
  2. parents may not have known about them or taught them to their children,
  3. schools may have excluded them from their curricula or
  4. students who are continually absent from school may have left themselves with learning gaps.

There is a tendency for people to believe that if you don’t know these things, you are stupid, but this simply is not true.

Every one of these skills can be learned by the average person.

As the above example shows, even some of the smartest and most educated people have never learned them!

Parents don't always teach their children even the most basic every day living skills.
Parents don't always teach their children even the most basic every day living skills. | Source

Technology Adds to Life Skills Lists

With technology proceeding ahead at warp speed, the list of basic skills people need to to succeed in life grows longer every day.

Some people become so the new things they need to learn that they simply give up.

This is a serious issue because it is getting to the point where technology is affecting everything people do.

For example,

  • Many doctors now have “portals”, where patients can log on to make appointments, send messages, check test results and other similar things.
  • Since each doctor has his own portal, accessing them can become confusing, especially for people who don't have basic computer and internet skills
  • This situation can affect people's health because it can make accessing care awkward, slow and sometimes ineffective.

If you are sick, you don't want to wait all day for your doctor to call a prescription in for you when a simple email to his nurse via a portal can get one sent to your pharmacy within an hour or less.

.Doctors’ offices are making the assumption that all people have the skills they need to use the portals, but this is far from being the truth.

The portals are good for the medical staff because they save time and money, but they are not so good for patients who lack the skills to use them.

Technology is changing the list of skills we must have in order to function well in today's world.
Technology is changing the list of skills we must have in order to function well in today's world. | Source

Technology Causes People to Lose Skills

As technology progresses, people begin to think that the need for certain daily living skills is no longer necessary.

They start using technology as a substitute and in so doing, they lose the ability to perform even the most basic functions.

  • Ask any young person to look at an analog clock and tell you what time it is.
  • He can’t do it.
  • The reason is that today's kids have been brought up in a digital world!

So while it seems to most older adults that this is a ridiculously easy skill for someone to have, young people simply don’t see the need for it because in their world most clocks and wristwatches these days are digital.

They assume that this simple skill should be removed from the list, but they are wrong.

There still are many clocks and watches in the world that are analog in nature, and a person never knows when he might need to be able to tell time using one!

How the Lack of Basic Living Skills Damages People

Having a toolbox full of meaningful daily living skills is the best way for an individual to succeed in the world.

Unfortunately, a good number of people don’t realize this, so they just plod along hoping for the best, but always having to deal with problems that are the result of not having the knowledge they need to do well. For example:

  • If you don't balance your checkbook every month, you never really know how much money you have.
  • If you write too many checks, they start bouncing, and you get fined.
  • The fines are expensive, so you may have to borrow money to pay them.
  • You have to pay interest on your new debt, which costs you even more money.

You can see how this situation can lead to a serious financial downhill spiral that can negatively impact many aspects of your life, all because you never learned how to balance your checkbook!

Below is a list of daily living skills. Check it to see what you need to learn, and then take action. As you can see, doing this can significantly improve your life.

Basic Livingl Skills List

Here is a list of you can check to see if you know how to

  • write a check,
  • balance a checkbook,
  • justify your credit card statement,
  • apply for a loan,
  • open a checking account,
  • open a savings account,
  • figure the cost of interest,
  • add figures without a calculator,
  • multiply figures without a calculator,
  • divide figures without a calculator,
  • subtract figures without a calculator,
  • organize a notebook,
  • properly address an envelope,
  • back a car into a parking space,
  • make reservations,
  • comparison shop,
  • clean a house,
  • cook basic meals,
  • Sew,
  • buy stocks and bonds,
  • fix a flat tire,
  • do an internet search,
  • do research,
  • place an ad,
  • respond to an ad,
  • prepare a basic income tax form,
  • apply for a Social Security number,
  • shell an egg,
  • apply for Medicare,
  • peel a potato,
  • write a formal business letter,
  • fold a letter to match the size of an envelope,
  • properly hang a roll of toilet paper,
  • properly hang a towel,
  • change a light bulb,
  • iron a shirt,
  • properly set a table,
  • sterilize a needle,
  • put staples in a stapler,
  • put tape in a tape dispenser,
  • cut and paste computer data,
  • clear the cache in a computer,
  • perform maintenance on a computer,
  • use a flash drive or
  • transfer photos from a digital camera to a computer.

If you see items on this list that you don’t know how to do, it’s never too late to learn them!

Since there are many other items in addition to the ones listed here, if there are things you feel you don't know how to do, find someone to teach them to you or use YouTube videos to help you.

Skills Are Learned Behaviors

Life Skills are learned behaviors that help people deal effectively with the activities of every day living.

If parents and schools do not teach them to children, there is no way for them to learn them.

Not knowing how to do some of them is not cause for shame.

It is cause, however, for taking the time now to learn what you should have learned years ago.

Living skills are important because knowing how to do them can make an extremely positive impact on your life, so don’t delay!

After checking the list in this article, do you think you have the survival skills you need to function well in today's world?

See results

© 2016 Dreamworker

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  • Dreamworker profile image
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    Dreamworker 13 months ago

    denise.w.anderson: Yes, but the sad truth is that the structure of the family has changed and even many parents no longer have these skills. Thus every school should teach them. They are vital to people being able to live a decent, civilized and successful life.

  • denise.w.anderson profile image

    Denise W Anderson 13 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

    Another term for these is "Life Skills." In the public school system, it is assumed that most people know how to do these things as they learn them from their families or through their life experiences. The curriculum for students with disabilities does emphasize them, however. This particular population does not learn things readily by observation or even experience. They must be explicitly taught in a step-by-step manner.

  • Dreamworker profile image
    Author

    Dreamworker 13 months ago

    threekeys: I absolutely agree with you. I was a teacher in an earlier life and can tell you that parents generally spend far too much time babying and protecting their kids and very little preparing them for life. They think they are doing something good, but they bring real harm in the long run. Just look at the number of young adults these days who still live at home because they can't figure out how to support themselves and, what's worse, don't want to because they don't see the need! It's a real problem that is damaging to families as well as society. Thanks for commenting.

  • threekeys profile image

    Threekeys 13 months ago from Australia

    The last time I looked no one wrote a parenting manual yet being a parent is one of the most important human "jobs" one can have in their lifetime. So I think too most parents don't teach or pass onto their children about what the "real world" is really about and therefore prepare their children on how to survive. I mean parents have their own personal challenges but what they can do is just be honest with their experiences (for better or worse) so at least the child/children have some idea of what they need to do. That's the least they can do because if the "children" survive so does the family unity do better overall as well.

    Great hub dreamworker.