This post was most recently updated on February 15th, 2022
[A collaboration post with Day Translations – all thoughts are my own.]
Want to do something cool in 2022?
A new year means new challenges and new opportunities to overcome them. During the pandemic, the internet saw a surge in search volume on self-development and online learning. The term ‘practical skills’ was thrown around haphazardly, and after reading many resources, I started to understand that the practical skills you should develop for the most part depend on where you are in your life and where you want to get to.
Any highly successful people are skillful people who know how to get stuff done, but they haven’t just mastered any skills. Instead, they’ve worked on developing skills that actually add value to their lives.
When writing this blog, I mapped out how I use the practical skills that I have so that I could figure out which branch of my skills tree to develop next. Some people have tons of knowledge on digital skills, handicrafts, physical skills, etc. With more time spent at home now, you have no excuse not to learn something useful to help you grow!
Basically, speed reading allows you to eliminate inefficiencies in your reading and increase your speed to save a lot of time. Many people report massive gains in reading speeds after building the speed reading skill.
Almost every reader has the habit of subvocalization, which means that they say the words in their head while they read them. I call this ‘a silent speech,’ which I develop since I was a kid. This habit is known to significantly increase the reading time.
Now, imagine all the time you could save while reading the paper, skimming through emails, or reading books. Developing speed reading skills help you avoid reading a document from top to bottom and only reading a paragraph if the information is relevant to your purpose.
Become a Reader
If you have followed me here for a while, you’ll know how much I like reading a book. This is one skill I would say is the most important practical skill on this list. When you read, either fiction or non-fiction, you learn and expand your worldview. You learn another country’s culture or learn about skills you might never take the time to learn.
Get in the habit of reading through things: books, articles, drafts, or volumes of material are all worthy of your time. Read a non-fiction book for learning for every fiction book you read for fun.
I started getting to know and learn about computers when I was 10 years old. My dad’s friend gave me a computer set as a birthday present. I learn to type almost every day because it is so much fun for me. In my experience, this has become more than just a practical skill.
You need computer literacy to function smoothly in this digital world. Being familiar with touchpads, setting up Wi-Fi, printer devices, using the ATM are some very obvious examples. For entrepreneurs, you need to know how to open and send emails, read PDFs, prepare slides on PowerPoint and use Google applications such as Docs and Drives.
Learning to Play an Instrument
I learned to play melodica when I was in junior high school. It’s an instrument similar to the pump organ and harmonica – it has a keyboard on top and is played by blowing air through a mouthpiece that fits into a hole in the side of the instrument. After that, I wanted to play the piano or organ, but haven’t had the chance to learn it properly.
Learning to play a musical instrument is on many people’s bucket lists. With so many mental health benefits, this is certainly one of the best creative skills to learn. My goal this year is to learn how to play piano or organ; first I need to save and buy my own instrument so I could practice at home.
Learning an instrument is an easy way to appreciate the nuances of the art form. It doesn’t matter all that much what instrument you choose. For me, learning to play the keyboard can be easier than the violin. For some people, learning to play guitar is easier than the drums. Whichever you choose will be your gateway to exploring the musical world.
Driving and Reading maps
I still remember my first experience of riding a bike and a car. I started riding a bike when I was 15; in my first year of high school. And became proficient at driving a car in my fourth year of college; at the age of 20 years. After seven years of driving a car, I still feel nervous and worried when on the road or when parking in a slightly difficult place.
I’m used to driving a car for 4-5 hours. Once a month I drive for 3-4 hours to visit my village with my mother and three dogs. It used to be very tiring, but now I’m used to it. Driving skills is very important because not knowing how to drive is going to be a setback throughout your life. It’s one of those skills that you should gain early in life.
I used to always bother my parents to take me everywhere. After being able to drive a motorbike and a car, I can freely go anywhere I want. Reading a map is a lifesaver if you’re an outdoor lover. Being able to navigate yourself is an awesome skill if you ask me. That makes it a really good skill to invest in.
Learning A New Language
Admit it or not, multilingual people do have more fun. It’s an essential skill when you’re working abroad or traveling. Speaking a foreign language can provide a number of amazing benefits in your life: advance your career opportunities, travel to fun places, exchange cultures, or challenge yourself to learn something fun.
Learning a language is a great way of improving your mental capabilities. When you learn a new language, you expose yourself to a brand new vocabulary that exercises your brain muscles. Being multilingual in this era entails being fluent in at least a couple of languages.
After learning English at an early age, I’m able to advance my career from a freelance translator into a full-time blogger; in fact, now I manage two jobs, which both use English as the main language. Being bilingual can open a lot more doors in life than you’d think. This can even lead to a host of job opportunities in the field of translation to over-the-phone interpretation.
Despite rapid digitization, writing remains one of the strongest forms of communication. Writing is the most basic form of self-expression. Even I create Merry of August and Cappuccino Cushy to express myself. In fact, writing is one of the most profitable skills to learn.
Writing gives people the opportunity to put their ideas on display. You can choose to write anything; from novels, blogs, reports, quotes, poems, etc. Feel free to try each one out. Please don’t assume writing only means novels or blogs. Be it a social media caption, a romantic text, or an official report; good writing can get you great points!
I make living from this skill; translation and blogging. Today, there are industries like translation service, social media marketing, copywriting, or freelance platforms that have opened so many opportunities for people to earn living through this skill.
From this list, I shared with you what practical skills that I tried from skills to earn money to those that can help you gain influence in your social circle. Before picking up a skill that you’re actually interested in, consider first why you’re learning it in the first place.
Learning to play an instrument is a great skill when bored, but there’s no doubt that a skill like writing could help you with an additional income and increase your productivity. So, choose carefully the skill you want to learn this year according to the benefits you’re looking for! What practical skills do you want to learn this year? Have you learned one or more skills in this list?