Some skills are just impossible to learn in school. Some of the most important skills in life are acquired by living, observing others, and making mistakes.
The ability to learn, unlearn and relearn is one of the greatest assets of the information age.
You can’t learn in school what the world is going to do next year. – Henry Ford
In a Quora thread, users were asked the most valuable skill a person can have for their entire life. These are a few of our most favourite responses.
1. Thinking differently
Do something better than anyone else in the world and has some use to others (even if what you do best has a very tiny niche).
Being able to do something that 100 million other people can do, while potentially important, is likely not nearly as valuable as having a skill that is unique.
Of course, certain unique skills will have more value than others. But it is hard to know which skills will and will not have long-term value since the world will change.
One easy way to create a unique skill is to combine two seemingly unrelated skills into one skill. Being the best computer scientist in the world is really hard. Being the person who knows the most about dolphins is really hard. But being the person who best knows about the intersection of software and dolphins is accomplishable.
You might end up writing the best software that tracks dolphins. Or you might use your knowledge of how dolphins communicate over long distances to change the way humans communicate. —Quora User Auren Hoffman
2. Articulating what you think and feel.
“It’s extremely important for a person to learn to put into words what he thinks. It makes a relationship last. It creates an impression on the person you’re talking to. It gives you a chance to explore what others think about your ideas.” — Abhishek Padmasale
3. Turning obstacles into opportunities.
“Obstacles are everywhere. The weak are broken by it, the strong survive it, and the great turn it into opportunities. What matters most is not what these obstacles are, but how we see them, how we react to them, and whether we keep our composure.” —Atul Pradhananga
4. Looking at things differently.
“When facing a tough problem or an important question, the majority will fixate on only one or two dimensions to the exclusion of many other viable ones. The people who can look at the problem from a different angle often end up solving the problem in a completely unexpected, often elegant way. At the same time, they expose how narrowly the majority had viewed the problem, or whether it even was a problem. —Christian Bonilla
“We live in ever-changing world which is unlikely to ever slow down. So, what mattered yesterday (e.g. skill, knowledge, social circle, etc.) very much so might not be worth a dime tomorrow.
Adaptability enables us to dwell on new circumstances and stay on top of the situation. Of course, this skill is best when combined with insight, giving us fresh perspective before the change itself.” —Ivan Rasic
“With self-discipline and perseverance you can acquire any skill. We all make resolutions throughout the year. The only thing stopping us from completing all these resolutions is ourselves. An inner voice within us stops us from waking up early in the morning or meeting new people. If we have proper self discipline we can suppress this voice and live a life that is defined by our own rules.” —Nikant Vohra
“You can be broke, unintelligent, foolish, and physically unattractive and still be successful if you have the ability to make other people genuinely want to help you. Charismatic people are easy to recognize; they’re the ones you can’t help but like. They make other people feel good about themselves, are always present in the moment in your conversation, and have an uncanny ability to inspire trust.” —Michael Graham
8. The ability to accept and move on.
“Accept that life can’t always be the way you want. Accept that everyone in the world can’t behave the way you want them to. Accept that you can’t keep everyone happy. Accept that worrying won’t do any good. Accept that your happiness lies in your hands.” —Shruti Chopade