An ambitious young man went to the monastery to learn from a wise man about the secrets of life. After listening for hours, the young man said, “wow, I have learnt a lot from you today”. Then the wise man replied, “You have learnt nothing. What you just got from me is information, now go and start learning.” Experience is the best teacher. So in this video, I’ll share with you 7 important skills you can only learn from real experience. And the sooner you learn these skills the easier your life will become. Before we get to it be sure to subscribe to After School Africa for more insightful videos like this.
1. Living through Crises
The best of man’s creativity is born out of periods of crisis. Some of the most successful businesses and products were created after a pandemic, war, or economic recession. While the mass of people were living in despair, the great inventors, innovators and creators were reimaging the world.
Crisis compels you to learn the most valuable life skills; how to survive. It’s little wonder that the most successful people have experienced the most crises in their lifetime. People, who had to deal with the crisis at an early age, tend to develop a stronger mental capacity to handle the issues of life and even to succeed. It takes a level of mental toughness to make the right decisions through the crisis. Some people choose to start a business after years of being unemployed or underemployed, while some resort to self-pity or even crime.
Developing the ability to deal with a crisis is so important that some wealthy parents have to create an artificial crisis for their children, to get them to learn valuable life lessons. They know these lessons cannot be taught from lectures at the dining table. It is through crisis, that we discover who we really are and what stuff we are made of. Do not run away from challenges. They are there to make you stronger.
2. How to listen to your Intuition
We all have intuition; that feeling or gentle persuasion that something is off, or awesome, or needs your attention. But most people don’t consciously listen to their intuition. In fact, most people train themselves to shut up this gut feeling. But this still voice often comes with important knowledge that can serve as a compass, leading us through life. It is scientifically proven, that every person on the planet has intuition, whether we acknowledge it or not. And that the more you can learn about it, the more you can use it to shape your life for the better.
Jim Ovia, in his book Africa Rise and Shine, mentioned how his intuition led him to develop an interest in computers, even when very few people knew about their applications. This played a major role when he founded Zenith Bank. Steve Jobs also attributes his decisions to the paths he had taken through life as emerging from intuition. No one or book can teach you how to follow your intuition. It’s a skill you have to learn through deliberate practice. Sometimes, your intuition may go against all conventional wisdom. It takes a level of self-awareness to identify that voice and follow its leading. The sharper your intuition, the better off you’ll be.
3. How to Say No
In my primary school days, there was this song we sang during assemble. The wording was something like this; “wherever you go, wherever you be, do not say yes when you mean to say no”. It was a sweet song. But many of us didn’t take the advice of that song to adulthood.
Kids are a lot better at saying No than adults. But as kids grow up, they are taught that saying no is impolite or unacceptable. Saying no when you mean No, and Yes when you mean Yes is something a lot of grownups struggle with. We often do this when we don’t want to offend the other parties. And this stems from the fear of rejection. We don’t want to disappoint someone, make them angry, hurt their feelings or appear rude.
As we mature, we realize that sometimes people make unrealistic demands from us, without understanding our situation. Society makes a lot of demand from us, so much that you have to learn to say no to a lot of things to retain your sanity. Being able to say no when you mean it brings a level of freedom and assurance that you are in control of your life. Saying no may not necessarily be a skill but it’s a habit you have to cultivate if you want to life a meaningful life. It will make you more self confident.
4. How to be Motivated
Elon Musk needed to buy a rocket from the Russians to fly his project to space. But the Russians treated his team disrespectfully because they didn’t look like a typical rocket-buying client. On their return flight, upset by this experience, Musk researched about making rockets, turned to one of his colleagues, and said, “we are going to build this thing”. That was how SpaceX, his rocket company was born. Rejection turned to motivation.
Motivational speakers make a career out of motivating people. But the truth is that motivation is not what you learn from reading books or listening to motivational speakers. The best you can get from external motivation is to remind you ‘why’ you started, or ‘why’ you have to. The real motivation is the ‘why’. It could be seeing your parents go through humiliations because they were not educated or financially capable. It could be getting jilted by your crush because you didn’t meet their qualification for a partner. It could be being abused as a child. Deeply rooted motivation comes from real-life experience. And that is the motivation that gets things done.
5. How to handle Failure
You can read all the steps and how-tos about recovering from failure and learning valuable life lessons from it. But if it were that easy, there wouldn’t be so many cynics in the world. Many people have been defeated by the failures of their past. You need to fail and work through the recovery from failure, to understand what it’s like to overcome failure. No book can prepare you to handle failure as much as your past experience of actually handling failures. People can offer words of encouragement but ultimately, overcoming failure is a capacity you develop from your own experience.
6. How to look out for your self
The classroom may be competitive. Students compete for grades, compete for their teacher’s favor and compete in sports. But nothing will teach you the magnitude of competition as when you enter life after school. With technology getting more and more advanced, the world is getting smaller and smaller. This means that the domain for the competition is getting wider and wider.
While in school, you only had to worry about your fellow classmates. When in the real world, you have to not only compete with everyone else in the country you live in, but with the rest of the world. If you think good grades were the good motivation for competition, wait until you see how money motivates people. You will learn that people can cheat, lie and even kill for money. Then you will understand the value of learning to look out for yourself.
7. Taking daily actions
Success is not achieved by momentary pep talks or a one-time rush of emotion. It is achieved from focused consistent daily habits. And this comes with a lot of boring processes. You can learn a lot from reading and listening from the experiences and knowledge of other people. It can open you up to a world of opportunities and possibilities. And this is a great way to learn. But remember that a spectator outside the pitch sees things differently from the play on the pitch. It takes getting on the pitch to really understand how the game is played.
Life is tough but it’ll become easier when you learn how to live through crisis, listen to your intuition, say no when you mean it, motivate yourself, handle failure, look out for yourself and take daily actions.
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