We all have two lists that we take around with us. One list is all the things we require to meet our basic needs and the second list is all the things we want but does not threaten our survival if we don't have them. They would be considered luxuries.
During the pandemic, I think we all got better acquainted with these 2 lists, and for me personally, I added a third list, which was called 'what I think I need'. The pandemic allowed me to assess what I needed to simply stay alive which amounted to a roof over my head, running water, electricity for my wifi, petrol to run my car, and food to eat. Anything else automatically went onto my wants list.
This became a useful leveler for me and allowed me to start assessing where my priorities were and really what are the important things in life.
I began to see that there were other things I could put on my needs list, but they were not tangible and measurable things, but rather qualities and attributes that are a requirement to have in any person's survival kit. These things were resilience, out-the-box thinking, problem-solving, confidence, faith, imagination, creativity, bigger picture vision, empathy, compassion, remaining connected, curiosity, teachability, bravery in the face of the unknown, and adaptability. All these qualities I tapped into fell under the banner of what we call Soft Skills (click here for a more detailed academic explanation of what soft skills are).
They are the invisible vehicle that carries us through the toughest times and the seemingly impossible challenges. They are the skills that kept a roof over my head, and food on the table and gave me strength to keep on keeping on and not lose faith.
We all can agree that life is hard, and challenges come whether we like it or not, however, if we do not develop a sound set of internal soft skills that help us navigate challenges with an attitude of ‘I will prevail, no matter what’, one day we might be faced with a challenge we might not get back up from.
Soft Skills don’t profess to shield you from life’s challenges, but what they do promise is that you come out the other side of a challenge wiser and stronger. Adversity becomes the vehicle to learn and grow which transforms you into a slightly better version of the person you were heading into the storm.
Our very nature as humans is to evolve and expand and we need our life experiences in which to do that. Too many people are going against their very nature by allowing life to chip away at them and make them smaller. Smaller is not who we are designed to be. Just like a baby needs its nutrition to grow and get stronger, so do we need soft skills to ensure we never stop growing.
We are so much more than what we can see and touch. Soft Skills development is not for what we can touch, but for what we become that influences who and what we touch. They are skills that have the power to set us apart from the rest and introduce us not just to a world of possibilities, but more accurately to a universe of infinite possibilities.
They are the skills that are more responsible for our survival and ensure sustainability which ensures stability and security, and with these, we can step into a place of what it means to thrive.
Thriving is not determined by what we have, but is determined by our ability to see possibilities beyond what we don’t have.
In essence, learning about the world of Soft Skills and their capacity to transform us is nothing short of a necessity. They allow us to step more consciously into what it truly means to be human and open us into a world of not just understanding ourselves better, but understanding how we fit in and how we can tap into our capabilities and use them for their highest good, not just for ourselves but for those around us too.
Living out our true nature should never be seen as a luxury, it should be of the highest priority.