By Lilian Wamaitha
You have an ability to change your life, not today or a year from now but some skills you pick along the way will come in handy when you least expect it and you can learn a life changing skill any time you want.
What do I mean by life changing? This is something that will one day have a positive impact on your life even though it’s not something that you can envision today. With skills, there are those that you can reap immediate benefits from while others will be life changing at a time when you last expect.
Easier said than done, right? Wrong.
I believe that each one of us has control over their own life and you alone can decide what direction you want yours to take.
That said, here are 7 life changing skills that I believe that you can master in even less than six months if you are willing to put in the effort.
I know what you are thinking. Everyone can read. True, everyone can ready but not everyone reads.
When was the last time you picked a book, novel or otherwise and read a few pages? For most of us, we were done reading the moment we sat for our final year exams.
They say that knowledge is power and the greatest weapon you can ever have.
One thing I like to tell people is that, just because your choice of education got you to the place you are now, doesn’t mean that that’s the only skillset that you need to develop.
Books hide incredible knowledge that you can never find anywhere else.
I myself I am a big fan of books and they top my list of all the things I love in this world. I guess it’s because I was raised to love books but you can still transform your life today.
Age is just but a number and you can start enriching your mind even though you feel that you are past that age.
2. Public speaking
I grew up shy and always wanting to keep to myself and I must admit that that has ended up affecting some aspects of my life the major one including the ability to speak to people.
There is something really terrifying about being in front of people – ten or two hundred and exposing yourself in such a way. This is the moment when you are most vulnerable but mastering public speaking is one of the best things you can ever do to your life.
Corporate Staffing Services CEO Perminus Wainaina advices that the number one skill you need to succeed in life is public speaking.
“Everything from confidence, communication, to some careers like sales develop only when you master public speaking,” he says.
Luckily people have realized the need for this skill and with this realization has come a number of public speaking trainings that you can undertake anytime you want.
Here you will meet public speakers who are looking to get to the next level as well as beginners who are just getting started.
One day when you least expect it, you will be called to take up a position of leadership most likely at work. A majority of us believe that leaders are born but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
There is no one who was born a leader but it is a skill that you acquire and just like other skills, leadership can be learned.
And unlike in the past, where leadership positions only used to be given to old men and women, today you will find general managers who are as young as 30. So as you can see, it is not a skill that you wait till you are offered such a position to learn.
If you are looking to get into business, you will need to master how to work with numbers.
I have a pal of mine who is in communication but was telling me the other day how his job has already transformed him into an accountant. He has been added duties which are more or less of an accountant so you can say that in addition to his good communication skills, he will also come out as an accounting professional.
What I’m trying to say is that, you don’t have to just learn the skills that related to your profession. Go out of you way and even get to know what your friend Agnes does in procurement. One day when you least expect it, some of these skills that you take for granted will be required of you.
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5. Blogging or vlogging
Blogging is one of the best ways to share your ideas with the world, build your own brand and even grow a business if you have any.
Since its inception, there are over 2 million blog posts being published daily. And there is no particular reason why you can’t be a part of this.
All you need to succeed in blogging is to find a profitable blogging niche. And it doesn’t matter if all you want to blog about are pipes, someone somewhere will be interested in reading about that.
So don’t let you job or career keep you from building a brand online.
And by the ways if you are not good with the written word, video blogging or vlogging is an excellent way to share your ideas too.
6. Photo and video editing
I am in the line of communication and back when I was applying for jobs, I was surprised with the number of adverts that required someone like me to have a back ground in graphic design. You would think that since I am in PR, I am saved from it.
But as I have progressed in my career, I have learned the need to teach myself some of these skills and that is what I am doing. I don’t have to go to anyone to design a photo when I want to post something on Facebook or Twitter.
In a world of Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, there is no avoiding photos or videos. In fact, social media has gone away from texts and now photos and videos seem to flood our timelines.
You can then say that it’s about time you learnt some skills in photo editing or video editing. For those in my line of career, you don’t have an option to not learn them.
We are living in a digital world and you never know when you may need such skills.
7. Lastly, foreign languages
How many languages do you know that have nothing to do with your mother tongue, English or Kiswahili.
If your answer to this is more than three, you are much better off.
Learning new languages opens doors of possibilities that a majority of people don’t realize.
I now of a girl who got a full scholarship to complete her university education in France simply because she had already mastered French. This is but just one of the many opportunities that you can get by learning a foreign language.
Some of the foreign languages that you can master that are taught in our institutions include French, Chinese, Spanish, Germany, Portuguese, Russian among others. All you need is to enroll for a class or take one of those online short courses and you are good to go.
You need more than the skills you learned in school or those that you have acquired in your career to make a difference in the world. Even though a skill may seem too far-fetched right now, take the initiative to broaden your mind.
Lilian is a Communication Officer at Career Point Kenya. Got any other related queries on soft skills you can learn? Email me through firstname.lastname@example.org