Key Skills for Personal Growth

The founder and director of Youth Consulting, who has worked with Coca-Cola, Pepsico and Microsoft, and the editor-in-chief of the personal growth blog Zero To Skill, Zdravko Cvijetic, wrote an article highlighting the key skills that each of us should acquire the sooner the better. We have translated the material and selected key points, preserving the unusual author’s style.

Super Mario. A little mustachioed plumber, without whom my childhood would not have been so happy. I was ready to spend hours helping this good fellow save the princess from the company of bad guys. If you also played Mario, then, of course, you could not help but notice how difficult it was to move from level to level without a sufficient amount of mushrooms – those that helped to become bigger and endowed the hero with useful skills like throwing fireballs.

So, our life is like a game. Playing Mario Plumber. In real life, you are Mario. And you need to find your “mushrooms” that will help you grow, improve, move from level to level, develop as a person and as a professional. When I ask my readers to name the reason that prevents them from learning new skills, I get a lot of different answers. One of them especially well shows what, perhaps, each of us goes through: “There are too many things around that can be studied. Too many choices… And time is limited.” This thought prompted me to create this article. Talking to people and analyzing my own experience, I did a little research, and this is what happened. 15 valuable skills that will help you step into a new stage of personal development. You need to start building these skills as early as possible.

1. Finding your own philosophy

The internal compass tells us whether everything is going according to plan or if something has gone wrong. But it is not enough to feel it – you need to soberly assess the situation in accordance with your own system of values. To identify this value system, ask yourself, “What do I value about _______ (work, relationships, friendships, life, etc.)?” The listed set will be the system of your value coordinates. Then ask yourself, “What good and bad things do I see in this world?” Once you focus on the good, “Oh shit, it’s Monday again…” miraculously turns into “Oh yes, Monday! Let’s start?” Feel the difference?

2. Finding your calling

No, I do not believe that we all came to this earth with some great purpose. But I am sure that life gives us the opportunity to find out what we are strong in and what we like to do. Your calling is your talents (what are you especially good at?), your passion (what do you really love to do?), and the opportunities around you. Look around and you will definitely find what you are looking for.

3. Goal setting

In a 1979 Harvard MBA lecture, students were asked, “Do you have clear goals for the future and plans to achieve them?” Only 3% of students answered that they had written goals and plans. Another 13% admitted that they have goals, but not in writing. The vast majority, 84%, had no clear goals at all. Ten years later, the graduates were brought together again. They were asked how much they earn, and found the incredible. The 13% of graduates who had goals earned, on average, twice as much as the 84% who had no goals. And the 3% whose goals were clearly articulated ten years ago were earning ten times more than the other 97% combined! Targets work like a camera lens. If you focus correctly, you get a clear picture. If the focus is not set, the image will be blurry.

4. Visualization

Goal setting is something you can do consciously. Your brain is great at generating ideas and thinking about them, but it is powerless when it comes to putting them into action because it is constantly distracted by various external events. The subconscious mind works differently: it is able to see the whole picture. When the conscious and unconscious go hand in hand, they help you achieve your goals. Visualization works best right after waking up and a few minutes before bedtime. By imagining the smallest details, sensations and emotions as if you have already achieved your goal, you make yourself believe that it is possible in principle to achieve the goal. But be careful! This is not the law of attraction, which says that it is enough to imagine a Ferrari, and the next day a brand new car will be waiting for you under the window. It doesn’t work like that. Visualization is only one side of the coin. Hard work and dedication is the other side of it.

5. Forming habits

By habits we often mean something negative, so I prefer to call good habits personal rituals. When I think that I MUST go to the gym, it’s hard for me. But when I think about the fact that I am a healthy person, and going to the gym is an important part of the life of any healthy person, it becomes easier. Try it!

6. Healthy lifestyle

Everyone wants to be healthy. Correctly? For example, the goal is not just to be healthy, but also to have enough energy. Plus look good.

Example. For 11 years I played football, and then I abandoned this business. My weight went from 65 to 86 kilos in less than 9 months. I became fat. For anyone who once boasted excellent abs, this is frustrating. So I decided to do two things:

find a suitable diet that would help me return to normal weight, and stick to it;
in addition to nutrition, exercise regularly.
It took me about a couple of years to find the right diet and sports activities to my liking. But now I am satisfied with my body, healthy and energetic during the day.

7. The art of learning

I’m sure it’s one of the key skills on the list. Everything we are and everything we have achieved is made possible by our ability to learn. People who have reached the heights are just people who can quickly and effectively learn new skills and apply them where it is required.

8. Searching and filtering information

We are all overloaded with information. Wherever you go, you will stumble upon streams of information that will constantly distract you from your goals. Spend your time online wisely.

9. Time management and productivity

I constantly think about time, because this is the only resource that we will never renew. Where to get more time? Optimize your sleep time. Perhaps, instead of the standard nine hours, seven or eight is enough for you to feel healthy. Check it out! How to use time more efficiently?

Make good use of the so-called “dead” time (at the computer or in front of the TV).
Focus on high-impact activities (remember the 80/20 rule: 20% of the tasks bring 80% of the result).
Focus on what will help you grow (reading, connecting with inspiring people, working on goals).​

10. The Art of Meditation

We are constantly working, interacting with people, spending a fair amount of time on the Internet. Sometimes you need to stop, relax and enjoy the time spent alone with yourself. There are no rules here. Meditate the way you feel comfortable. Two minutes, fifteen minutes, sitting, lying, thinking or, on the contrary, moving away from thoughts … Find what suits you and constantly practice it.

11. Recording with pleasure

You don’t have to become a writer. Just make it a habit to write down your thoughts on paper. Lots of incredible ideas are just waiting to be brought to life through ink.

12. Public speaking

This is perhaps one of the most useful skills that I have been able to acquire and develop. Again, you don’t need to be a professional speaker. But it is worth learning how to express your ideas. There are a lot of techniques and advice, but there is a golden rule: “People don’t know what you’re talking about.” So go ahead! Tell a story or share an idea. Both can change someone’s life.

13. Ability to say NO

Sometimes we need to say NO. Look at this situation from an unusual angle: “You don’t say NO to others. You say YES to yourself and to what is important to you.” Of the two options, always try to choose what you like.

14. How to create your own brand

Personal growth is one of the main goals in my life. It is curious: everything I did, in one way or another, turned out to be connected with this topic. My degree in adult education, my work at the Mindvalley Academy as director of learning, my blog (Zero to Skill) is all about helping people learn faster and gain useful skills. People often talk about me like I’m a learning freak. This just goes to show how values ​​(in this case, personal growth) can influence your life and point the way. It takes very little to create your brand: just focus on developing your strengths and let them go on a big swim.

15. How to manage personal finances

Everything is simple here. Rule #1: Spend less than you earn.
Rule #2: Find an additional source of income (passive if possible).
Rule #3: Invest in assets (things that generate income).