31 life skills every functioning adult should master [Part 3]
Very few people in the study said that they preferred standard pick-up lines — so it’s best to avoid those, no matter how clever you think you are.
21. Dressing appropriately for a job interview
We’re not supposed to judge books by their covers, but it’s no secret that hiring managers judge job candidates by their appearances.
So avoid wearing too much makeup and definitely don’t show up wearing a hat. Instead, you’ll want to dress relatively conservatively. Even your shoes should be clean and tidy.
The color of your clothes matters, too: According to a CareerBuilder survey, blue and black are the best colors to wear to a job interview, while orange is the worst.
22. Waking up on time
In college, rolling out of bed five minutes before class starts and showing up late because you stopped to get a latte is — sort of — understandable.
In the professional world? Not so much. Pull it together and figure out a personal strategy for getting up and out the door on time.
It really starts with your nighttime routine, so try doing something relaxing like taking a hot shower or meditating before bed.
In the morning, experts generally advise against hitting “snooze” and going back to sleep. Instead, hit the snooze button once and use the time until your alarm goes off again to turn on a lamp and do some light stretching.
23. Giving a good handshake
One poll found that 70% of people don’t feel confident in their ability to give a proper handshake.
But when you meet your company’s CEO for the first time, you don’t want to present her with a limp noodle — especially since a weak handshake suggests that you’re insecure.
The best shaking strategy is to get a good grip, with your elbow nearing a right angle. Be sure to smile and make eye contact as well.
24. Power napping
You’ve heard it a thousand times: Most people need seven to eight hours of sleep a night.
But pressing work deadlines, family obligations, and the siren call of your Facebook News Feed mean that you probably don’t get as much sleep as you need.
Enter the power nap. It’s just 10 minutes long and you sit slightly upright, so that you don’t wake up groggy from a deep sleep. This brief rest period can leave you feeling refreshed and alert.
Hopefully, you work at an office with nap rooms — if not, you can always head to your car or a vacant conference room.
25. Writing well
Whether you’re sending an email to a friend or submitting a project report to your boss, the ability to convey your thoughts in writing is crucial.
“Learning to write well involves not just mastery of grammar,” says Janis Butevics, “but the development of the ability to organize one’s thoughts into a coherent form and target it to an audience in the most effective way possible.”
If you’re hoping to become a better writer, take a tip from Benjamin Franklin, who reportedly taught himself to write well by copying the style of essays published in the English gentleman’s magazine The Spectator. Specifically, Franklin would read an essay, summarize it, and then try writing his own version to see if his was better than the original.
Douglas Dea admits that, if you live in a city, you can certainly avail yourself of the public transportation available.
“But when you get away from the city, being able to drive and drive well is important,” he writes. “The world really opens up for you.”
If you haven’t yet gotten your license, quit relying on friends and family to give you rides and take this crucial step on the path to adulthood. Find out more about driver’s education in your state here.
27. Performing CPR
If you know basic CPR, says Tanya Keeter, “You can save the life of your family members, friends and strangers.”
If you’ve forgotten what you learned in high-school health class, the American Heart Association website lets you search for online and classroom training sessions in your neighborhood.
28. Defending yourself
It’s important to know how you’d handle yourself in a dangerous situation.
Mircea Dimian recommends learning Krav Maga, a self-defense system developed for the Israeli army. Dimian calls it “the only worthy defensive art of fighting for those who don’t embrace violence.”
One woman who studied Krav Maga created her own self-defense system for women, the Soteria Method, and some of her techniques involve fighting off an attacker with your high-heel shoes.
29. Managing up
If you want your boss to love you, it’s important to figure out what will make them look good to their bosses — and then help them achieve those goals.
The term is “managing up,” and we learned about it from Dave Kerpen, founder and CEO of Likeable Local. It will make your life and your relationship with your boss a whole lot easier.
“Think of managing up as the ‘Platinum Rule’ for organizations,” Kerpen writes in his book, “The Art of People.” “Think like your manager and you will reap the benefits of getting your way when you need it most.”
30. Memorizing important information
Between the names of new acquaintances you met at a networking event, the items on your grocery list, and the vocabulary words for the foreign language you’re trying to learn, you’ve got a lot to remember on a daily basis.
Here’s one technique that can help: the method of loci, or “memory palace.” The strategy dates back thousands of years, and the US memory champion even recommends it as an easy way to boost your memory capacity. The idea is to associate each item you’re trying to remember with a specific image and place.
For example, say you’re trying to remember the names of all the US presidents.
First, pick out furniture in your home, then assign numbers to each piece. Next, create images that incorporate a president’s name and a piece of furniture — so for example, if No. 1 is a table, then imagine someone washing the table with soap and water because it sounds like Washington. Finally, practice until you have it perfect.
Weird, yes. But effective? You bet.
31. Practicing self-compassion
Beating yourself up over your failures won’t get you anywhere.
Instead, says Emma Seppala, science director of Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, you should treat yourself as you would treat a colleague or friend who has failed. For example, you might remind yourself that mistakes are normal and that they don’t mean you’re a bad person.
One strategy for practicing self-compassion is to write yourself a comforting letter — again, as though you’re writing to a friend. Another strategy is to come up with a self-compassion phrase that you repeat when you’re struggling.
By caring for yourself the same way you care for other people, Seppala says you’ll experience less anxiety and depression and you’ll have a better chance of bouncing back from stressful situations.