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6 Life Skills That Will Set You Up for Success and Happiness

By: Jeff Bullas


Life Skills That Will Set You Up for Success and Happiness

Succeeding in life isn’t an accident.

It is often the outcome and results of developing life skills that are discovered, nurtured and acted on over decades.

But often our parents, family and school teachers never told us.

The curriculum often didn’t include anything much beyond the 3 “R’s.” And learning by rote and committing facts to memory was the education that was often demanded.

In today’s world Google has provided us with a global memory bank and resource that means that memorizing is a life skill not much in demand.

So what are 6 core life skills that you need to learn, nurture and nourish if you want to succeed?

1. Quality relationships

In our crazy busy digital world and modern society we are often told that more is better.

The media bombards us with messages telling us that if we have or buy “this” we will be happy.

We are told that life will be a nirvana if we are, slimmer, fitter and more attractive.

Modern society is often saying.

More money, more stuff and….just more.

The problem?

The more you have the more you have to worry about and the more anxious you become.

You become afraid of losing it. That’s why we insure things.

We worry about having our stuff stolen or damaged.

But often less is more.

Keeping things simple and reducing clutter in our minds and in our physical world is key to “more” well-being.

And there is also a simple solution to being happier.

What does the science say about the secret to happiness?

In a TED Talk Robert Waldinger revealed the secret to true happiness and also being healthier.

And it is not about more toys and more stuff. And it is not about the external material factors that we often delude ourselves are the solution.

In 1938 at Harvard College they tracked the lives of 724 men. And every year they asked about their work, home lives and their health.

It is the world’s longest study in happiness.

And the clearest message that we get from this 75-year research is this:

Good relationships keep us happier and healthier.”

So what were the key lessons?

And how do you develop quality relationships.

Read more about it here >>> What Does Science Tell Us About The Key Secret To Happiness

2. Persistence

I walked into the shop and there they were. Lining up. Handing over the coupon.

Their expectant faces were hopeful. Maybe this was the moment.

Dream realized?

Most were sure this was “the” day.

But they all left disappointed.

Back to reality.

The chances for success were low.

A professional betting man wouldn’t bother paying the price. Despite that they keep hoping for that pay day when their numbers came up.

Winning the lottery is “that” big dream for many.

That quick fix.

A solution to their financial desperation.

But it rarely is.

The long game

According to Bill Gates “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.”

Playing the long game is a trait that many can’t sustain. But it is the secret to success.

Having the patient persistence to hang in there and keep strapping yourself in and doing the work. Winning at business and life requires patience. That overnight success is rare. Normally it is decades in the making.

Building life transforming habits grow from perseverance.

Patience is boring

Success is a game of patience and whether you are a digital marketer, professional or entrepreneur there are some key activities that are worth investing in.

But they take time.

Social media offered a seeming magical solution to our marketing problems and it sometimes can. But the free lunch is turning into a mandatory paid strategy.

The quick fix of instant traffic can be intoxicating but you need money for that. And many small businesses don’t have that spare cash floating around.

But earning traffic, leads and sales can be done. Winning at business is not a lottery. Designing and building a life worth living and celebrating is not found in a coupon.

The secret to success isn’t a quick fix.

It requires patience. There is no other way. It is essential and often boring.

Here are some skills that you need to earn and persevere with to succeed in a digital world.

Read more about persistence here >>> This One Trait is the Secret to Success

3. Resilience

“There’s only one thing that’s worse than having an unhappy childhood, and that’s having a too-happy childhood.” – Dylan Thomas

Research shows that the majority of successful people have had tough times.

But we can’t choose that. That just happens.

Is being happy overrated?

The reality is that some of us have more resilience than others dialed in. And that is due to either your DNA or life’s experiences.

The human condition

As humans we play on the edge of success, chaos and tragedy.

This often happens while we are planning our lives.

That is the human condition.

The unexpected intersects with stability and security.

Events beyond our control.

We need resilience to ride over these speed humps.

But many of us aren’t prepared for those events.

Building muscle

Being born with resilience is one thing. But most of us need to work at it.

You can develop that muscle.

There are routines and habits that allow us to manage our emotions, handle situations with some clarity and ride out the storm.

Being resilient is a range of skill sets.

Born out of experience, necessity and an attitude to never settling.


Never giving up.

Finding a way.

You are not alone

Many have gone before us.

Risen above what life has thrown at them.

Laughing at the enemy.

Smiling at the intruder.

What is it that allows them to thrive?

Instead of being overwhelmed.

Or paralyzed with fear.

An opportunity?

Challenges should be seen as an opportunity to grow.

That is mindset.

It is also an approach and set of success habits that will help you build your resilience to life’s tests.

If you are an entrepreneur or you are still breathing then this life skill will be called on.

Stuff happens to all of us when we least expect it.

But when it shows up you can be prepared.

Here are some tips to being resilient and rising above the pain, torment and trauma that will show up.

Read more on the 7 secrets to resilience in the article >>> The Secrets To Resilience

4. Daily action

As children, we are born to dream.

Of being Superman, a singer or whatever captures our young imaginations.

But many of us don’t act on our dreams because of fear, doubt and the fear of being judged.

The need to get it just right or perfect before we share our creations.

The requirement for perfection or getting it just right is a noble aim. But this will often stop us starting or finishing before we share our creations with the world.

As Voltaire said – “Best is the enemy of the good

Trying to plan that fail proof business, write the ultimate book or start a perfect project can be the biggest hurdle to starting.

Waiting to get it just right will stop you acting and action trumps hope.

Every time.

I discovered the power of showing up every day 10 years ago and taking action despite not feeling like it.

Just take a small step every day.

You will be surprised by what shows up in 10 years.

Then overnight success will be yours.

Read more on the power of the life skill of daily action in this article >>> The One Habit That Transformed My Life

5. Communication skills

Some people seem to have it and others don’t.

It is a skill and a science that can change your life.

It requires an awareness about yourself.

And others.

It is an expertise that is essential for engaging and connected communication.

Excelling at it will attract people to you.

They will want to hang out with you.

Seek your wisdom and insights.

The art of “listening” and communicating with focused attention is both a business and life skill worth learning and nourishing.

When that is mastered then you can communicate with powerful connectedness.

It then demands attention.

What’s compelling listening look like?

Just being…

With someone’s soul.

As if…they are the only person on the planet.

Can you listen without thinking about your distracted minds contribution?

Without searching for your next input to the conversation?

Your opinion?

It takes discipline.


Focused eye contact.

It also means suspending ego.

Not judging.

When we start judging we stop listening.

Our inner chatter overrides our ability to hear.

Learn from a master

One of the masters at this art of communicating with active listening is Bill Clinton.

He has the skill and the intent to make you feel like you are the only person in the room.

How does he do that?

One on one he makes focused unwavering eye contact and actively listens. Asks questions.

Also as one of the highest paid speakers on the planet he has the ability to scale this compelling communication intimacy even from the stage.

According to Simon Mainwaring, in a Forbes article, who has spoken at the same events with Bill Clinton and observed the master at work up close and personal, this is how he does it.

From the stage he singles out one person in the audience and makes eye contact. Once that connection takes place he moves onto another person and repeats the process.

The result after 15-20 minutes of these individual exchanges is that the whole unite around a feeling of personal and influential connectedness.

Listening is all about connectedness.

And that can be done one on one or even from the podium.


How do you master the skill of powerful compelling listening?

Read more about the key elements needed to build the life skills of powerful communication in the article “The One Skill That Will Transform Your Life”

6. Life design

Many of us stumble into life.

We go to school, complete our degree or grab the first job opportunity that shows up.

Often we follow the paths of our parents.

But there is a life skill that offers us a better future should you decide to learn and hone it.

The messy process of designing a life, a business or a startup is something many of us contemplate. But often put off as it is seen as too hard or too expensive.

But in the last decade the opportunity to do it with less risk and greater opportunity has now exploded the possibilities and the potential for all of us.

You can design and build a business while still turning up to your day job. I started my online publishing business while working a 9 to 5 job.

The world of digital, mobile and social now provides the resources to start and build a business with little risk and with little or no budget.

It’s all about you

Let me start with what the process isn’t.

It is not looking at it from a distance.

Dreams and reality are two different things.

Sure…dream but then leap in and test it.



Also, it isn’t what your parents want for you.

They designed their lives.

We are unique human beings.

Your path is not their path.

The mantra?

“When I grow up I want to be me.”


You are not Steve Jobs.

Building Apple was his life mission.

Find yours.

You are you.

Your idols?

Inspiration is what they provide.

But “their” habits and routines can be emulated.

You bring your own skills, passions and innate ability to the table.

Dig deep. Find them.

The messy process of life designing

So here it is from 30,000 feet.

It starts with some questions.

  • What are my strengths? This is easy to say and sometimes hard to grasp. But by starting you will discover strengths you maybe didn’t expect.
  • What do I love doing? What makes your heart sing? Awareness is needed here. Reflection and listening and feeling your emotions when working and playing.
  • What is my expertise? Reflect and look back at what you have learnt over the years.
  • Where do they all intersect? It will often not be apparent. It is messy and often hidden from view.

After asking those questions then there are some steps you can follow that can help you design a life you dreamed of.

Read the article and discover the 7 Steps to Design a Life (and Business) That Makes you Happy

Published: February 18, 2019

Source: Jeff Bullas

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Jeff Bullas

Jeff Bullas is a consultant, blogger, strategist, and speaker. He works with companies and executives to optimize their online personal and corporate brands through the use of social media channels. Author of the Amazon best-selling book Blogging the Smart Way—How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media (Jeff Bullas, 2012), Jeff's own blog is included in AdAge.com's Power 150 ranking as a top 50 marketing blog.

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