9 Hard-to-Learn Skills That Pay Big Dividends in Life and Business

Everyone has a list of 5, 10 or 20 tips or advice they have to share on their blog these days. I decided to go against the grain a bit today and try to think of just 9 key skills we all can use to get the most out of our life and business.

Leave a comment after and tell me how well I did, including any you feel might be missing!

Learning Aikido

1. Communicating

Communicating is the greatest gift your family and the people who enter and exit your life can give to you. We need others to help us achieve happiness and success in life. It takes two parents to start a family and communicating with each other is how those parents form a bond and eventually start to pop those babies out of the oven! You can’t start a business, or complete a job interview, or win an audition for a play or movie without communication skills.

2. Time Management

Effective time management is the next important key to success. You can’t complete the 10’s of thousands of hours of training and repetition needed to master any skill, without understanding how to incorporate that training and repetition into your life. Perhaps you get lucky and get paid for it (ie., a job). If you have big ambitions, you’ll need to be a master at time management at your job, and still be able to do other things to pump up your value in your spare time.

3. Positivity

Even the grouchiest of billionaires (not going to mention names of course) have some positivity about where things in their businesses and life tucked away in their consciousness somewhere. A positive mindset will always usher you through the bad times, and make you get up at the crack of dawn feeling inspired about your success in life and the wonderful relationships you’re going to make along the way.

4. Turning Everything Off to Have Fun!

This is truly the toughest of all skills to learn. If work’s always at the forefront of your mind, you’ll miss valuable experiences with the people in your personal life because your mind is too occupied with the goings-on in your career. All work and no fun makes Jack a dull boy! Worse, the inevitable burnout at work will come sooner-or-later. Fun for you might be as simple as engrossing yourself in a book, magazine or website for a couple of hours. For others, perhaps you need to take a ride on your hog, or head out on the town with friends for a while.

5. Putting Yourself in Other’s Shoes

Another skill that leads to ever-growing dividends as time moves forward. Empathetic people have way better relationships, a larger Rolodex, and in general are better at anything that has to do with interactions between human beings. If you can’t put yourself in other’s shoes, you’ll never be there when they need you and they’ll be less inclined to be there for you. It also helps you to prevent overworking those around you, or asking something of them that they can’t deliver. You can’t get to know someone or gain their loyalty without empathy.

Helping hand

6. Asking for Help

All the best entrepreneurial minds in the world know how to ask for help. Perhaps the most interesting of all are people like the Richard Branson’s of the world, who openly admit that they’re far from perfect. They know they can’t do everything and instead welcome people into their business that can do things better for them. Asking for help saves us from wasting time we cannot get back on things that we aren’t best suited for, to focus on those that we are. Taking this into one’s personal life, there are several examples: many alcoholics need help from others to get their addiction under control, not many of us can move a new refrigerator or oven into our house without help from others.

7. Executing Plans

“Paralysis by analysis”, “Paralysis Analysis”, “Analysis paralysis”. Whatever you call it, it means wasting too much of your time over-analyzing ideas instead of just “sending it up the flag pole and seeing if anyone out there salutes it”, as copywriting legend Gary Halbert used to tell his students. This again comes back to time you’ll never get back. The inability to take action is probably the biggest mistake you can make in your career and personal life.

8. Listening Without Judgement

Just listening without forming an opinion while someone’s talking is like putting money into Apple stocks. This ability will pay you back with happy and positive relationships with the people in your life and prevent you from cutting people off and blurting out things that can destroy a personal or business relationship. Few narcissists are likeable characters!

9. Having Uniformity in Everything You do

McDonald’s has a huge corner of the fast-food market because their system ensures that a Quarter Pounder will taste the same no matter what continent you’re on, including Paris where it’s know as the Royal with Cheese. This is why they’re the biggest burger franchise in the world, and the second-ranked franchise in the world under Subway Restaurants. It isn’t because they’re the best tasting, but rather the most congruent and predictable. This trait is particularly important in business – processes, being available, being predictable for your clients and staff.

Now over to you

I believe that results are important, but the process in achieving those is priceless. With that said, please share one skill that you are learning right now; how is the learning process changing your life and business so far?