But how have you dealt with this ever-changing world we live in? Hopefully, you learned some basic survival skills from your parents – like how to adapt, deal with change, and basically be prepared to face any challenge head on.
When I think back to my childhood I see how my parents prepared me in some important ways for life in the 21st century. Yet there were other key skills I had to learn the hard way. As you read this article, think about how you can strengthen some of these psychological survival skills in yourself. It’s really never too late! If you’re a parent, teacher, or mentor of children think about how you can instill them in the next generation.
Here are five basic skills that we need to not just survive, but thrive:
- Self-discipline. A meaningful and fulfilling life is built gradually and purposefully. There are no shortcuts. I recently shared how important making your bed every morning is – this habit requires self-discipline and I’m grateful I learned that as a young child since it has served me well ever since.
- Emotional literacy. This one is huge! Our emotions affect everything we do. They influence our perceptions and opinions about ourselves, and others. When we can identify our prominent emotion, we’re less likely to project that emotion onto the situation. We’ll recognize that yes we’re sad, but the weather isn’t really worse than normal, our spouse isn’t being insensitive and we aren’t lazy because we didn’t workout yesterday. Practice labeling your emotions and teach your children to do the same and you’ll be far more objective and reasonable with yourself and others.
- Stress management. Our natural inclination, as children and adults, is to avoid pain. But meeting difficult challenges is how we grow as human beings. Make a practice of looking for ways to challenge your mind with mental obstacles and your body with physical obstacles. If you have children, don’t immediately solve all their problems. Let them experiment with various solutions so they learn to tolerate stress and gain confidence in their problem-solving abilities.
- Dealing with change. Life is full of uncertainty and change. If you’ve learned how to deal with change, your attitude, outlook, and ability to function in the real world will benefit, despite what happens. So try to view life as an adventure. When an unexpected change comes your way, lean into it and embrace it. The best way to teach this to your children is to model an adaptable, flexible attitude.
- Gratitude. Most of us learned to say thank you as children and we’ve probably taught our children to do the same. But true gratitude goes far beyond a perfunctory “thank you”. Gratitude means a deep awareness of why we are thankful and appreciative. I recommend you keep a gratitude journal and daily enter at least five things for which you’re grateful and encourage your children to do the same. When you begin and end each day with gratitude, your whole life shifts in a more positive direction.
Did you see areas where you could strengthen your skills? Don’t be discouraged. As I mentioned earlier, it’s never too late to enhance these life skills. Or maybe this article got you thinking about your child? Do you see her struggling in a certain area and you want to coach her through it? Please consider joining me at my upcoming Foundations of Life Coaching and NLP class in March. This is your opportunity to work with me personally and learn life-long skills so you know how to coach both yourself and others. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about whether this training is a good fit for you personally.