The road to successful adulthood is bumpy, but the more skills you gain, the smoother the ride. Here are 4 very important and underestimated skills any young adult can learn right now.
Have you ever heard of the ancient philosophy, “There is nothing permanent except change?”. It’s a bit of a brain cruncher, but basically, it means that everyone and everything is constantly changing and no circumstance nor feeling nor relationship stays the same forever. This is great news because, by definition, this suggests that there’s always an opportunity to grow and change for the better.
“Adulting,” as we millennials like to call it, isn’t a static state of existence. Being an adult is learning how to best be responsible for ourselves (and others), while we aspire to leave a positive and inspiring footprint in the world. And I say ‘learning’ on purpose, because it forever continues.
Start by Getting Skilled
There’s no recipe for how to be a successful adult. Just like in your teens, you figure it out on the go. However, there are some extremely valuable and learnable skills that will greatly help you to take on the world.
Here’s a list of 4 skills that have been tremendously rewarding and helpful in my adult life so far. Two of these skills are quite practical, and the other two relate more to cultivating certain attitudes. The importance of the skills you’re about to check out also constantly pops up in my day to day conversations with friends and acquaintances, and it usually turns out to be either a highly instrumental skill in their life or a skill they desperately need.
Skill 1: Getting a Grip on Your Personal Finances
If you’re one of those anxious Dories that doesn’t know where the heck your month’s money has crawled to – you’re not alone. Too many young adults have no sense for basic, personal money management. Student budgets are tight, and low paychecks are a brutal reality for most of us starting out in our careers. But, that’s no reason for your moola to wander off to La La land.
If you feel your personal, financial management has been sloppy, there are some easy ways for you to learn the basics of budgeting.
- Ask a budget-savvy friend or mentor to teach you their ways
- Invest in a short, hands-on computer course that can teach you the basics of budgeting with spreadsheets
- Use a budget app like Mint or Wally to keep things on track
When we get a grip on our finances, we’re able to make better decisions relating to money matters. Also, we don’t have to constantly gooi the term, “Sorry, I’m broke.”
Budgeting isn’t difficult. More than anything it requires a little time, dedication, and the strength to resist that item on sale that’s simply not in your budget!
Skill 2: Preparing Your Own (Proper) Meals
We all know that meh feeling after snacking on various chunks of this-and-that (a cookie here, a cracker there) when we could have actually dedicated 10 minutes of effort and self-respect to preparing a decent, nutritious meal. It’s very unsexy to be in your 20s or 30s and not know how to nourish yourself with more than Popcorn and boiled eggs.
I really only started putting this into perspective when I met my boyfriend and saw how he (no matter the level of hangry) always takes the extra time to prepare a satisfying and tasty meal to enjoy.
It’s attractive and feels good to take care of yourself and eat well.
Some tricks that may help:
- Choose a meal-prep day to cook 2-3 meals. Make enough portions to freeze and use throughout the rest of the week.
- Learn the basics of seasoning, because this can transform hundreds of bland foods into a scrumptious artwork. Seriously, what was my life before garlic…
- If you dislike cooking, look up some quick and easy recipes that still give you important nutrients. Also, there’s this phenomenal thing called an Air Fryer… I suggest you put that on your Christmas list ASAP.
Skill 3: Putting your Health First
This is something I see all the time. We tend to choose money and opportunity over our health and we forget that without our health, we have nothing at all. There are too many young adults with burnouts, depression, chronic fatigue…
We need to take care of ourselves because really, we’re the only ones who can. And we will only be able to fully experience and enjoy the life we have in a healthy mind and body.
- If you’re sick, don’t go to the gym, no matter how much you’ve been working on your body. And don’t delay that doctor’s appointment, dang it.
- If you’re sad or dealing with mental health issues, don’t remain in situations that will cause more damage. Make that radical change.
- If you’re considering an all-nighter with burning eyes, grant yourself at least a few hours of sleep for your brain to recuperate.
These are just examples, but you get the point. Choose to put your health first. Whatever else it is you are worried about, it ain’t worth it if it costs you your wellbeing. Start with one healthy decision and cultivate the attitude.
Skill 4: Knowing How to Say ‘No’
This is closely related to the previous skill. Learning how to say “no” doesn’t make you a selfish jerk. Learning how to say “no” to things you don’t like or want to do shows self-respect and maturity. It’s extremely liberating, and it teaches you that putting yourself first is the only way you will be able to truly give of yourself to others.
Consider a few situations:
- If your friend wants to crash at your house for a week, but this will only stress you out… you can say no.
- If your boss constantly asks you for favours and extra tasks that aren’t your responsibility… you can say no.
- You’re looking forward to alone time but someone calls you up to party… just rock a confident “Hell Naw!”
We constantly want to please other people and fear being aloof, ungrateful or anti-social. Various times people have called me boring, blunt or antisocial. Well, folks, I’d rather be called a bore than being torn away from my inner peace and having to fake happiness.
Saying ‘no’ is a skill that is hard in the beginning but I promise you it gets easier the more you do it. And the more you mature, the less fudges you give about the opinions and concerns of others. Dr Seus puts it brilliantly,
“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind”
The people who matter will respect and understand your needs. You don’t need to feel bad about putting yourself first.
The reality is haters gonna hate. And that’s okay.
If you feel like you could use any of the skills I just mentioned, now is a good time to start training them. They are all very learnable and will make demanding adult life seem a whole lot less of a bumpy ride. Get yourself skilled now. Go, go, go!