There are special skills that make an individual excel, stand out, and gel well with other human beings. What are those skills? Today I (J.N) engage an expert on the subject of life skills. She is Marilynn Jangira (M.J) a life coach, mentor, business consultant and life skills trainer.
J.N: What are life skills?
M.J: The World Health Organisation describes life skills as “abilities and positive behaviors that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life.
Simply put, your basic necessities and tools that help you go through life.
J.N: What are the key areas of life skills?
M.J: There are many life skills, but allow me to list 10 of these which I mainly train in my workshops or seminars.
These are: problem solving, critical thinking, effective communication skills, decision-making, creative thinking, interpersonal relationship skills, self- awareness building skills, empathy, and coping with stress and emotions. With the wake of the pandemic a lot more things have been added onto this list, it’s not exhaustive. Lately, there has been an addition of assertiveness, time management and emotional intelligence. The list goes on.
J.N: Why are life skills important?
M.J: Life skills enable individuals to be able to maneuver this volatile environment we are now living in. Life is not as black and white as it was in the past; it’s not an academic kind of life. There is a lot that society has brought into the dimension of our day to day living; we are going through so many changes the world over which is really fast and rapid.
When you have life skills you have the basics to maneuver in a fast changing environment. Once you learn the skill and technique to ride a bicycle, it doesn’t matter how many years later when you are given a bicycle you will still be able to ride it. So when you go through life skilled you are able to handle different situations from different areas of your day to day life.
J.N: How do we improve our life skills?
M.J: Step 1— Unlearn and relearn! Remember a lot of the things we do in our lives are things that we originally learnt and we may have learnt them in a different environment, when all things were equal and now that things are not equal and we are in a unpredictable environment we’ve got to be the people who understand that yes I may have learnt it like this but I must unlearn it so that I can relearn.
It’s interesting when you first learn, unlearn and relearn!
Step 2 — You need to be consistent in every skill that you know. In John Maxwell’s 15 Laws of Invaluable Growth, he stresses the idea that in order to make significant change, consistency has to be one of the main ingredients. He concluded that “Motivation gets you going, but discipline keeps you growing.”
Step 3 — Continue to learn, continue to be coached! Life skills require a coach; life skills require that you have an accountability partner. Someone who is going to check on you and someone who you are going to report to on how you are doing.
J.N: What are the post Covid-19 coping skills?
M.J: Invest in self care and you need to meditate, relax take time out, go to the Spa, exercise, reconnect — communicate, practice gratitude yes have an attitude of gratitude, do affirmations, process your feelings and develop resilience.
J.N: Give us your final words of encouragement
M.J: We are living in a time where everyone has gone through the most and it is very important that we are emotionally intelligent.
It means that we need to be sensitive to one another’s feelings. What you can handle, someone else may not be able to handle and so it’s very important that you are conscious of what you say, how you act and how you treat people.
Bear in mind that the COVID-19 pandemic was not an isolated event; it happened to every single one of us and so we are doing the most in restarting. We’ve all had to restart! So in restart mode and running and getting to the goal we need to be the kind of people that are our brother’s keepers and our sister’s keepers. There is a need in this season to make time for yourself and make time for others, there is a need to strike a balance in every sphere of your life be it spiritual, financial, personal.
The whole wheel of life; it needs to be addressed. I want to say to everybody that, it’s ok to ask for help, you don’t have all the answers.
I don’t have all the answers, yet we need each other. Your children need you to be sound, happy mentally and physically.
Your spouse needs you to be in a good space physically and mentally.
I’m reminded of Proverbs 23 vs 7, “as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” I’m going to encourage all of us to watch our thoughts as we continue in this journey called life. Remember what you think you become! It’s very important that you work on thinking the right thoughts; you work on surrounding yourself with the people who will speak positively into your life. Be it in your work space, in your church space, in society.
Now is the time to relook at the people around you and remember Amos 3:3 “How can two walk together unless they agree?” So let’s have the same vision, let’s have the same goals, let’s speak positive energy into each other’s lives and we will have a better and brighter future.