ESSENTIAL LIFE SKILLS

Do you possess all of the essential life skills you need not only to survive but to thrive?  Beyond the extremes such as disaster preparedness or wilderness survival and, less dramatically, basic literacy or numeracy, there are the practical skills of daily living such as cooking & cleaning, home and vehicle maintenance, and money management. These are just some of the essential life skills you need to be competent, live independently, and even be self-sufficient.

Also crucial to have are an array of cognitive skills that fall into the category of social-emotional learning (SEL). The core competencies of SEL are:  self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making, and the tools to build relationships. These skills allow us to adapt in the workplace, in our personal relationships, and in our personal development, and to mentally tackle the challenges of life. Every day we make decisions and utilize the skills we’ve learned, which ultimately prepares us to successfully face the opportunities and adversities that life presents.

But, there is no definitive list of “Essential Life Skills”.  Learning to swim, driving a car, and using a computer are useful life skills for most people. But, each individual will potentially have a different list of skills they consider most essential to their life. And, some skills that one person believes are critical may be deemed unnecessary to another. Certain skills may be more or less relevant to you depending on your life circumstances, beliefs, age, geographic location, culture, etc.

Do you have some weaknesses in any life skills? If you learned new or better strategies, could you improve your overall well-being?  Maybe you won’t know where there is a gap in your skillset until a major crisis comes along?  People often joke that when children are born they “don’t come with a handbook”. Likewise, there are many aspects of being a competent adult that could benefit from having a handbook of skills to follow. At minimum, we would feel more confident in our decisions. No matter how old you are or what life stage you are in, you can always add new skills to your “toolbox” or improve the real-world and SEL skills you already have. After all, the most important skills are the ability and willingness to learn. The more you learn, the more resources you’ll have to adapt to life’s surprises.

All together these life skills make us resilient: prepared to respond to inevitable life changes and cope with the unexpected. Below are a number of books in our collection that can help you evaluate your life skills, assess what skills may be lacking, learn some new strategies, and live a more productive and fulfilling life.

RESILIENCE, SUCCESS, and WELL-BEING

SURVIVAL, EMERGENCY, and EVERDAY HAZARDS

PRACTICAL LIFE SKILLS

   

COMMUNICATION, RELATIONSHIPS, SOCIAL and EMOTIONAL

TEACHING OTHERS THE SKILLS TO THRIVE

 

RESILIENCE, SUCCESS, and WELL-BEING

Resilience : hard-won wisdom for living a better life by Eric Greitens

Type R : transformative resilience for thriving in a turbulent world by Ama Marston

Take charge of your life : 12 master skills for success by Brian Tracy

How to Skimm your life

Why has nobody told me this before? by Julie Ann Smith

Farsighted : how we make the decisions that matter the most by Steven Johnson

Start here : master the lifelong habit of wellbeing by Eric Langshur

Think again : the power of knowing what you don’t know by Adam M. Grant

A survival guide for life : how to achieve your goals, thrive in adversity, and grow in character by Bear Grylls

 

SURVIVAL, EMERGENCY, and EVERDAY HAZARDS

The scout’s guide to wilderness survival & first aid : 400 essential skills–signal for help, build a shelter, emergency response, treat wounds, stay warm, gather resources by J. Wayne Fears

The total outdoorsman manual by T. Edward Nickens

How to stay alive : the ultimate survival guide for any situation by Bear Grylls

The next apocalypse : the art and science of survival by Chris Begley

How to drag a body and other safety tips you hope to never need : survival tricks for hacking, hurricanes, and hazards life might throw at you by Judith Matloff

American Medical Association handbook of first aid and emergency care

Rossen to the rescue : secrets to avoiding scams, everyday dangers, and major catastrophes by Jeff Rossen

 

PRACTICAL LIFE SKILLS

The useful book : 201 life skills they used to teach in home ec and shop by Sharon Bowers

Storey’s curious compendium of practical and obscure skills : 214 things you can actually learn how to do

The lost art of reading nature’s signs : use outdoor clues to find your way, predict the weather, locate water, track animals–and other forgotten skills by Tristan Gooley

Stuff : every man should know by Brett Cohen

How to cook everything. The basics : all you need to make great food by Mark Bittman

The cook’s book : recipes for keeps & essential techniques to master everyday cooking by Bri McKoy

100 techniques : master a lifetime of cooking skills, from basic to bucket list

Personal finance 101 : from saving and investing to taxes and loans, an essential primer on personal finance by Alfred Mill

 

COMMUNICATION, RELATIONSHIPS, SOCIAL/EMOTIONAL

Making great relationships : simple practices for solving conflicts, building connection, and fostering love by Rick Hanson

The power of positive confrontation : the skills you need to handle conflicts at work, at home, online, and in life by Barbara Pachter

Crucial conversations : tools for talking when stakes are high

Hit it off : 21 rules for mastering the art and science of relationships in life and business by Joe Brocato

The everything body language book : master the art of nonverbal communication to succeed in work, love, and life by Shelly Hagen

Ask a manager : how to navigate clueless colleagues, lunch-stealing bosses, and the rest of your life at work by Allison Green

10 mindful minutes : giving our children-and ourselves-the social and emotional skills to reduce stress and anxiety for healthier, happier lives by Goldie Jeanne Hawn

 

TEACHING OTHERS THE SKILLS TO THRIVE

What great parents do : 75 simple strategies for raising kids who thrive by Erica Reischer

Ready or not : preparing our kids to thrive in an uncertain and rapidly changing world by Madeline Levine

Do your laundry or you’ll die alone : advice your mom would give if she thought you were listening by Becky Blades

 

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