What Are Life Skills And How To Improve Them? (2024)

During job interviews, potential employers often ask “what are your strengths and weaknesses?”. While this question has the power to throw people off, it’s actually trying to gauge whether you’re aware of your abilities and competencies. Many even make the mistake of repeating the skills already highlighted on their resume, while they should be focusing on life skills and how they apply them in everyday life.

Life skills will help you participate in meaningful conversations, practice mindfulness and enhance personal growth. Such qualities are highly valued in a professional setting as they improve an organization’s culture. Wondering what are life skills? Let’s find out!

  1. Meaning Of Life Skills

  2. The Need for Life Skills

  3. The Importances of life Skills at Work

  4. The Life Skills List – 10 Essential Skills

Meaning Of Life Skills

The World Health Organization (WHO) describes life skills as the abilities and positive behaviors that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life. In a constantly changing environment, i.e., a fast-paced world, life skills have become essential in overcoming the roadblocks of daily life. From managing things better to processing emotions and interacting with others, the need for life skills becomes necessary with time.

There are several underlying features that definelife skills, which are

  • There’s an element of morality as life skills relate to what’s good or bad and right or wrong in society

  • It affects people on a personal level, especially when it comes to interaction and engagement with friends and family

  • They’re often controversial as people hold strong opinions about them

The Need For Life Skills

Psychosocial competence, also known as the ability to deal with challenges effectively, is a much-needed skill. Not only does it help you achieve your long-term goals but also improves your mental, physical and social well-being. When you’re able to effectively deal with stress and pressures in life, it minimizes behavior-related health issues. For example, in schools, students falling behind on their coursework can largely benefit from supportive learning environments.

Let’s look at the various ways in which differentlife skillshelp us cope with the increasing pace and changes of modern life. Here’s a list of reasons that stress theimportance of life skills.

  • It helps you find creative ways of problem-solving and decision-making

  • It helps you identify the impact of your actions and take responsibility

  • It builds confidence in interpersonal communication and makes room for group collaboration and cooperation

  • It helps you analyze available choices or resources before making important decisions

  • It helps you develop empathy, a greater sense of self-awareness and appreciation for others

In a nutshell, life skills help you find your voice while you prepare for challenges and opportunities of personal as well as professional life.

The Importance Of Life Skills At Work

In addition to personal development, life skills prepare you for the professional world. You learn how to confidently tackle problems and step outside your comfort zone. You establish healthy work-life boundaries and start paying attention to people around you. Moreover, you continue to learn and grow every step of the way—making room for new skills and knowledge. Let’s look at theimportance of life skillsin the workplace.

If you’re still not convinced about the need for these core skills, here are somelife skills examplesthat’ll highlight their relevance in the workplace:

  1. When you apply for a job, interviewers often want to tap into your skill set that goes beyond your resume. This is your chance to highlight life skills that also act as employability skills such as critical thinking and self-awareness. It even gives you a competitive edge over other applicants.

  1. A majority of people are motivated by the opportunities that a job creates—climbing the corporate ladder. An effective way to seek out more opportunities to develop and practice leadership skills. Whether it’s leading an independent project or a team, you need these essential skills to guide and help you advance in your career.

  1. A highly valuable trait in the workplace is the ability to navigate, manage and resolve conflicts. Any organization with diverse employees also invites diverse perspectives and there will be times when there’s a difference in opinions and viewpoints. Life skills help you look at the bigger picture and consider multiple perspectives. As a result, conflict management becomes easier.

The Life Skills List – 10 Essential Skills

Although life skills are related to personal development and well-being, it’s useful to reflect on our environment and personal relationships. It leads to sociability, tolerance and increased self-esteem. We learn to say no without being aggressive and make compromises for positive solutions.

Here’s a comprehensivelife skills listyou should consider to make active changes that lead to self-improvement.

  1. Self-Awareness

If you’re able to appreciate and differentiate between your strengths and weaknesses, you’re a self-aware individual. It helps you make choices, take actions and make decisions that are consistent with your abilities. Examples of self-awareness are:

  • The ability to understand what you can or can’t do

  • Recognizing your own talents and being aware of your skill set

  • The ability to differentiate between the weak and strong aspects of your abilities or behavior

  1. Self-Esteem

It refers to the way you feel about yourself and what others think of you. People with healthy self-esteem trust themselves and their abilities. They aren’t afraid of what others think about them. Examples of healthy and positive self-esteem are:

  1. Interpersonal Relationships

Humans are social beings by nature and friendly relationships boost social and mental well-being. Interpersonal skills refer to the ability to positively engage with others and coexist amicably. Interpersonal relationships include a host of interrelated skills, such as:

  • The ability to spark up conversations in unfamiliar or new settings (e.g., business conferences)

  • The ability to make others feel comfortable in your presence (e.g., a job interview where you build rapport)

  • The ability to manage conflict and resolve issues (e.g., respectfully disagreeing with your manager and offering a different solution)

  1. Assertiveness

It isn’t easy to put your foot down, without hurting somebody’s feelings. Assertiveness teaches you how to maintain a delicate balance by helping you express yourself freely without hurting someone’s feelings. In the workplace, it’s especially difficult to establish boundaries and saying no to people. By being assertive, you can communicate your needs and expectations in a respectful manner.

  1. Effective Communication

One of the most crucial life skills, effective communication, includes verbal and non-verbal communication. It goes beyond a simple exchange of words or gestures and involves the ability to express yourself clearly. Examples of effective communication are:

  • Delivering ideas skillfully and persuading others of those ideas

  • Using appropriate tone, language and non-verbal cues when presenting information or interacting with someone

  • Paying attention to your emotions as well as others and making others feel comfortable in your presence

  1. Critical Thinking

It refers to the ability to think critically i.e., separating facts from opinions. This enhances the ways in which we articulate and express our thoughts and ideas. The flexibility and fluency in the thought process make room for creative and innovative thinking. Critical thinking includes multiple abilities such as:

  • Identifying and planning for risks in advance

  • Differentiating between opinions and facts

  • Challenging personal biases and looking at situations from an objective perspective

  1. Decision-Making

The ability to use available information to assess a situation and make an informed choice is known as decision-making. It helps develop problem-solving skills and is a highly valuable trait in the workplace. Examples of decision-making skills are:

  • Not being influenced by external factors when deciding something

  • Being certain about your needs, expectations and end goals

  • Being able to separate your emotions and engaging in rational thinking

  1. Time Management

Time management helps you stay on track, organize your activities and work well under pressure. It further reduces stress and allows you to set goals successfully. To stay organized and on top of your priorities, you must manage your time smartly. Time management skills have several advantages, such as:

  • Knowing how to spend your time productively and staying organized

  • Setting priorities and saying no to things that aren’t urgent

  • Feeling less stressed and having the energy to accomplish things successfully

  1. Negotiation

People often view negotiation as a zero-sum game, while in reality, it involves a win-win situation. The ability to compromise or settle in an argument that benefits everyone is the cornerstone of successful negotiation. It’s an important interpersonal skill that helps resolve conflicts and solves problems.

  1. Empathy

High emotional intelligence and empathy allow you to accept others who may be very different from you. You show compassion, support and respond to situations appropriately. Empathy improves the quality of social relationships, encouraging trust and respect between you and others.


Being aware of life skills isn’t enough. You need to find ways to actively implement them for successful careers and relationships. Harappa Education’s Leading Self course will help you embark on your journey of discovering your true potential. You’ll learn how to overcome roadblocks and step outside your comfort zone. The Ladder of Learning framework will help you learn everything about competence and skills. You’ll embrace opportunities for growth and learning and pursue the best version of yourself!

Explore Harappa Diaries to learn more about topics related to the LEAD Habit such asWhat are Employability Skills, How to DevelopSelf-Awareness,Why isSelf Motivationimportantand Guide toPersonal SWOT Analysisto become the best version of yourself.

Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

As an expert and enthusiast, I have access to a vast amount of information and can provide insights on various topics. Let's dive into the concepts mentioned in this article.

Meaning of Life Skills

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), life skills are defined as the abilities and positive behaviors that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life [[1]]. These skills are essential in overcoming the roadblocks of daily life in a constantly changing environment. Life skills encompass various aspects, including managing things better, processing emotions, and interacting with others [[1]].

The Need for Life Skills

Life skills are crucial for psychosocial competence, which refers to the ability to deal with challenges effectively [[2]]. Developing life skills not only helps individuals achieve their long-term goals but also improves their mental, physical, and social well-being. By effectively dealing with stress and pressures in life, behavior-related health issues can be minimized [[2]]. For example, in schools, students falling behind on their coursework can greatly benefit from supportive learning environments [[2]].

The Importance of Life Skills at Work

In addition to personal development, life skills also play a significant role in the professional world. They help individuals confidently tackle problems, step outside their comfort zones, establish healthy work-life boundaries, and pay attention to the people around them [[3]]. Life skills are essential for working collaboratively with others, finding creative solutions, keeping an open mind, standing up for oneself and the team, recovering from setbacks, and viewing failures as learning opportunities [[3]].

The Life Skills List - 10 Essential Skills

The article mentions a comprehensive list of 10 essential life skills that contribute to personal development and well-being [[4]]. These skills are as follows:

  1. Self-Awareness: The ability to appreciate and differentiate between strengths and weaknesses, understand one's talents and skill set, and differentiate between weak and strong aspects of abilities or behavior.
  2. Self-Esteem: Refers to the way individuals feel about themselves and what others think of them. It involves developing a positive self-image, respecting oneself and one's choices, and not being influenced by others' opinions.
  3. Interpersonal Relationships: The ability to positively engage with others and coexist amicably. This includes sparking conversations, making others feel comfortable, and managing conflict and resolving issues.
  4. Assertiveness: The ability to express oneself freely without hurting someone's feelings, establish boundaries, and communicate needs and expectations respectfully.
  5. Effective Communication: The skill of expressing oneself clearly through verbal and non-verbal communication, delivering ideas skillfully, using appropriate tone and language, and paying attention to emotions.
  6. Critical Thinking: The ability to think critically, separate facts from opinions, identify and plan for risks, challenge personal biases, and look at situations from an objective perspective.
  7. Decision-Making: The skill of using available information to assess a situation and make informed choices, not being influenced by external factors, and being certain about needs, expectations, and end goals.
  8. Time Management: The ability to stay organized, prioritize tasks, work well under pressure, and spend time productively.
  9. Negotiation: The skill of compromising or settling in an argument that benefits everyone, resolving conflicts, and solving problems.
  10. Empathy: The ability to accept others who may be different, show compassion and support, and respond to situations appropriately.

These life skills contribute to sociability, tolerance, increased self-esteem, and positive solutions [[4]].

Remember, actively implementing life skills is crucial for successful careers and relationships. By embracing opportunities for growth and learning, individuals can pursue the best version of themselves [[4]].

I hope this information helps you understand the concepts mentioned in the article. If you have any further questions, feel free to ask!

What Are Life Skills And How To Improve Them? (2024)


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