I mean, it's the life lessons that I suppose you learn that nobody gets a free ride and that you do the best you can with the means that you can and try to open yourself to as much knowledge and all that that you can. – Joe Mantegna
So I must first admit, that I did borrow much of this list from an article entitled "20 Life Skills Not Taught in School" that the author feels strongly that should be and I would have to agree. I have deviated a little from this list, and the main reason I chose to write about this topic is because part of my own business I operate in Asia is a mix between English tutoring and business consulting, and I actually had one adult student tell me that, "he felt that learning English while at the same time I was also trying to teach him life skills were not necessary." SHOCKED?! Yeah so was I, even when I mentioned that things like learning how to be on time, since this person has NEVER been on time to any of our lessons, often showing up 10-30 minutes late, as well as not reading through my emails with pertinent information, or learning like skills such as time management, understanding how to handle money, and others. Yes folks, apparently this is where I often see how poorly people reject common sense altogether and it's frightening! Especially the fact that this particular individual is a Catholic priest that plans to study not only in the United States, but New York City and has an extremely basic level of English. I say, good luck to you sir, because with an attitude as this, New Yorkers are going to eat you alive! #NOMNOMNOM style!
One of the main reasons I tend to use direct content from other websites is over time the material vanishes, there are too many stupid pop-ups, and I add my own flavor normally to fit in to travel. I know I've copy and pasted much below for NOW, but that's because I've slept about 2-hours in almost 48-hours and it's starting to catch up to me LOL. Will be writing more thoroughly very soon! I've left the above statement in bold, even though I've taken time over several days to complete this blog entry, but wanted to let you know why I left large chunks of direct quotes from successfulstudent.org and added my own comments along with the fact that often when I go to these websites I am bombarded by pop-up advertisements, which I find to be the most annoying and ineffective sources of advertising on the web!
1. HOW TO READ A MAP & GEOGRAPHY
People often underestimate the importance of the study of Geography! You would be amazed at how many people I've met that didn't know where Colorado is located on a map, and they were Americans! You would also be surprised when people also can barely locate other huge areas on a global map or individual countries. I plead with you people, study where countries are located and why they have or still have importance in today's modern society. Whether this be due to natural resources, foreign trade agreements, regional military alliances, etc. I often ask people to tell me what is the world's most recent recognized country in the world, without using Google or any search engine? Could you answer this question and if so, what the significance and reason for doing so was?
If you cannot give or receive basic directions using words such as; left, right, around, near, next to, behind, in front of, north, south, east, and west whether in English or your native language there is a BIG problem that you need to address immediately. Tell me if there's an app for constant changing cities such as Seoul, NYC, Lima, Paris, and others. Below are TWO EXAMPLES I use when people insist that reading a map is unnecessary because of smartphone GPS apps.
2. BASIC MATH
For example, it's roughly 22,000 Vietnam Dong to $1 USD. So tell me when you've come off a 24-hour bus where you've barely slept, and you have a horde of taxi drivers in your face trying to grab your bag and get you in their taxi as you try to negotiate a fair price. Can you tell me what $5 should be or how much a ₫1,000,000 without using a calculator? Then of course being Asian I just sit around and read
Calculus books for fun, because if Donald Trump wants his wall built I'm sure he's going to need inadequate minorities to come through after make sure the work was done correctly by them true 'Mericans that may be taking err jobs!
3. NAVIGATION SKILLS
4. TIME MANAGEMENT
5. HOW TO BUDGET AND UNDERSTAND FINANCES
7. HOME REPAIR AND BASIC KNOWLEDGE OF TOOLS
Also quoting from the article, "knowing what tools are necessary for specific jobs makes the work much easier. Learn how to read a ruler and tape measure and be able to take accurate measurements." It's quite amazing to me how many people I've met around the world, mainly in considerably first-world countries have no idea the difference between a Philips or flat head screwdriver, while individuals that grow up in third-world countries could probably fix almost anything! I've always said that if suddenly technology evaporated overnight that third-world countries may be in the best situation to survive since they have often been doing so for decades in the modern era. A few examples if the fact that old school buses from the United States are used as local transportation aka 'Chicken Buses' throughout Central America and in order to keep these old school buses that are older than myself running, and not just running daily, but being pushed hard EVERY SINGLE DAY is incredible to me, especially since most are overloaded by the so-called passenger capacity by double or triple the number of individuals, farm animals, machinery, etc.
The second was while staying on one of the incredibly 4,000 islands on the Mekong River in Laos where on the small island of Don Det, these locals entered the 21st Century without having electricity! Yes, imagine that. Now, of course not only do these have electrical lines strung and meager Wifi that now connects them with the rest of the world, but it's still a relatively simplistic way of living that I have absolutely come to love.
So digressing, if you cannot identify even a PlaykoolⓇ set of children's plastic tools, you should certainly learn how to identify them and how to use them!
8. BASIC CAR MAINTENANCE AND DRIVING
9. POLITICS, CURRENT EVENTS, HISTORY
It's Samsung and with the fiasco of the Note 7, of course this will have an effect for both the Korean domestic economy and the global markets since this is a publicly traded company. I mean if you haven't stopped to read Trump's First 100 Days Plan, I implore you to see what Foreign Policy changes he plans to make that WILL effect the cost of things for all people. It's not going to give an automatic discount to Americans, but may actually drive costs up. Especially if Trump has his way regarding International Trade Agreements, since the majority of electronics are produced in China. Just look at "*THIRD, I will direct my Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator."
Most Americans read this and say it's a good thing, and I'm not going to give my full opinion either way, as I still love my country the #USA, however, by living in East Asia for the past several years between my travels, I've learned a great deal of the East Asian Business Market overall, since I've worked with top executives for major global corporations. And, as many people continue to state, history often repeats itself. So, in my personal opinion the next 3-years are going to be a very interesting time between the three major areas of the world I feel: North America, Europe, and East Asia including South East Asia, since China has been quietly doing what most powerful empires have done throughout history and that is either going to war or controlling the world's major trade routes, and China has done the second. Look at examples of the China-Nicaragua Canal, The Kunming-Singapore Railway that will connect mainland China with pretty much all of South East Asia, China now owns the largest port in Greece as the Port of Piraeus is sold to China, China's Trans-African Highway network will also be controlled by the Chinese, and most recently China has agreed to build Egypt a new captial city. Continue to research the sleeping Dragon of China and how as the West continues to close off it's borders, the Chinese are expanding their foreign relations by strategically planning to control the world's major trade routes! Here is an example of Five Great Trade Routes from History.
Regarding technology, I also like to say just as I do with money, "don't let technology run your life, but make it work FOR YOU! The same with money!" Don't let money or the greed of power become your downfall, but use what you have to give to others; whether that be your energy, time, finances, knowledge, etc. I do understand that we all need to earn a living, however, it's how we approach things and how we continually reflect upon them—in my personal opinion—because it's one thing to abuse a situation or take advantage of it unfairly and another to be fair whether that be selling items or services, such as my consulting business.
11. HOW TO LIVE WITHOUT TECHNOLOGY
I will completely admit that I am guilty of this as well as growing up in the 80's I not only remember all my friend's home phone numbers, as landlines are quickly becoming a thing of the past, but I also had probably 20-plus friend's addresses, birthdays, and facts in my memory! Sadly, today that's not the case. Again, another reason I am looking forward to visiting Africa and living for several days possibly without electricity and/or technology altogether. Also, my above blog talks about for nearly five-six months I have stayed offline for an entire day, generally beginning on Saturday nights until Sunday evenings and this has made a world of difference for my sanity and just overall mental health I believe and I know that for some this is not possible, but if you can even turn your phone off for a few hours see how much of a difference this makes. Some clients I work with and Korean friends are shocked when I tell them that I not only stay offline every Sunday, but I go to the point of powering down my iPhone and leaving it at home! I also tell them that when I was living in the States and if I was out with a friend or on a date and the other person was repeatedly staring down at their screen, regardless of where we were in our meal, I would request the check! The other person, of course would ask why surprisingly, and I would simply state, that I invited them to dinner to have actual human connection and not to sit and stare at our phones between small bouts of conversation.
12. SELF DEFENSE
For women it is particularly advisable to know the weaknesses of a man, and how to apply maneuvers accordingly that would leave any potential violator incapacitated." For my choice, I found that taking Krav Maga lessons were extremely effective and I cannot thank David Dotson enough for providing me with FREE 1:1 lessons prior to leaving Colorado! I IMPLORE you to check out his gym, Flat Irons Mixed Martial Arts Academy, where you can get an introductory lesson for FREE! He is not only is he very VERY well trained, but seriously one of the nicest individuals I have ever met. The only negative thing I must say about him is the fact that as a CU Buff alum, he sadly went to Colorado State University lol and was on their football team, other than that he's absolutely an amazing guy! I truly hope he gets a great laugh from this!
I AM NOT ADVOCATING hurting ANYONE on purpose or even fatally injuring someone by any means, but when I first met David, I told him the same that I was NOT looking to fight anyone, but if I were surrounded by a group, about to be kidnapped, or had that feeling that I was in danger of my life whether I gave the person or persons what they demanded that I would try to create distance, by blocking while simultaneously offensively striking to knock the attacker(s) off-balance and then run out of the area. PERIOD.
13. FIRST AID
14. IT'S OK TO FAIL, BUT LEARN FROM IT
15. THE LAW
"In certain classes we are taught the Bill of Rights, but how these broad rights actually apply to us in day-to-day practice is usually not covered. It is important as a citizen to know and practice your rights when appropriate, and enjoy the freedoms that the U.S. has to offer. It is also beneficial to be involved in politics, from the federal to the local levels, and be aware of who the politicians are, such as the senators representing your state and the mayor of your city. Also, bills that either do or do not pass congress, or that are put to a vote, have an affect on us as citizens. For instance, in 2003, a measure was put to vote in Texas that would allow state colleges to raise their tuition cost, which passed, and tuition has been rising every year since, and as of 2013 state college tuition has risen 55%. Also, how do you register to vote, and where do you vote, and when are votes occurring?"
"Ignorance of the law will not keep a lawbreaker out of out of the criminal justice system if the law has been demonstrated to have been broken in the judicial system. Most citizens generally have a knowledge of what laws there are that have any impact on our day-to-day lives. Students should be taught, at bare minimum, the laws that might have an effect on their lives as they are in school and as they graduate and enter society as fully culpable adults. For example, is trespassing a misdemeanor or a felony? Could decorating a friend’s car be considered destruction of property? Can someone be arrested for not paying a debt, such as a credit card? What rights does someone have who has just been arrested? Given the real-life and potentially grave consequences of breaking the law, the law should be taught to students, who can then act accordingly."
"Learning how to cook and how to handle household duties are gone with the era of taking Home Economics class in high school. Nevertheless, cooking is essential to life and very beneficial to eating healthy, and therefore being healthy. With home cooking, the ingredients and dishes can be controlled, and the portions commensurate with one’s appetite. Cooking at home generally saves money over eating at restaurants. Culinary school is a specific education that comes after grade school, however, the basics of cooking, food pretreating and preparation, safety and hygiene, should be taught to all students as basic curriculum."
17. CRITICAL-THINKING & PROBLEM SOLVING
"The stakes are high in our duties and responsibilities in life. The decisions we make have real-world consequences, some immediate, and some delayed, affecting ourselves and others. Making the right choices could literally mean the difference between happiness and remorse, success and failure, and so on. We need to be equipped with the ability to think through scenarios and situations which inevitably arise in our lives, not only for the sake of successful endeavors, but also for the sake of being wise for its own sake. Education is generally pragmatic, wherein the educators test students on specific data, and as such students will learn the specific data just for the test, often by rote memorization. Too often, then, students are not taught how to think through to solutions; even in math, formulas are memorized and the numbers plugged-in to the formula without an understanding of the formula’s formation and what it is solving for, and what are real scenarios it’s applicable to. Learning about Logical Consequence is a good place to start. And here’s a short video which explains a logical fallacy know as self-referential incoherency. Avoiding self-referential incoherency leads to thinking that is consistent with itself."
18. COMMUNICATION/CONVERSATION SKILLS
"This is number one [according to successfulstudent.org list] because it permeates every area and aspect of life. Conversing with coworkers, bosses, loved ones, dates, friends, spouses, neighbors, acquaintances, etc., all require certain social norms and boundaries to be observed—such as mutual respect and give-and-take—whether it’s face to face, by email, social media, and telephone. The younger generation has been called the silent generation, due to communicating overwhelmingly via mediums that do not require actually speaking to anyone, such as texting, social media messages, email, and so on. In so doing, their personal communication skills are being hindered. The broader outcome could be social isolation, arrested social development, and not learning from the common lot of other’s experiences and mistakes who are their age and older, which could stifle a person in various ways and potentially become a barrier to rewarding careers and the full enjoyment of relationships. Knowing how to connect with others, being empathetic, when to speak and when to listen, is of great value in the workplace and in interpersonal relationships. To learn the art of conversation is to actually do it, with peers and other varied and diverse people."
Lastly, I love the quote by Greek philosopher Epictetus (A.D. 55—135) "We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak."
19. CONFIDENCE IN SAYING NO
I've started businesses now on two different continents, all of which have cost myself and my business partners no more than $50-$100 USD and I am proud to say that EVERY business I began was profitable within one-week with a profit margin of no less than 60%. Two of these businesses were LLC's or Limited Liability Companies registered in the State of Colorado, in the early 2000s and I was utilizing social media several years before Facebook even existed! Therefore, I do feel very blessed in terms of understanding business models, branding, marketing, etc. It's funny, because ever since all of these entrepreneurial ventures, I have numerous business investors lined-up ready to invest, but I am still very particular in whom I chose as a next business partner—if any—because I feel that two important things that I look for and they are what most successful wealthy CEO's or founder's of global corporations state and that is 1) TRUST and 2) PASSION. There are of course numerous other articles, and I thought that one entitled 8 Critical Considerations for Choosing the Right Business Partner by entrepreneur.com was an excellent list.
It sure makes things easier also when you have business partners that aren't stealing money from you, spreading lies about you, but when they are left to try and operate a business that they felt they had sole control of, only to realize they actually had no idea what they were doing and that the person that handled much of the overall business model was in fact the person you stole from and now has moved on to other business ventures, all I can say is that I still hope the best for this person, but I would certainly never do business with him and feel that it was also shameful that his home country of the United Kingdom #UK had given him a non-profit organization title to raise funds that he was using for his own personal needs. I suppose it also goes to show, that I left the situation at the right time as after I walked away from this business partnership where my so-called business partner owed me several thousand dollars, that he swore he didn't have. I wasn't going to stay and try and fight for meager amounts of money—even though as a budget traveler, we all know that this can mean months of extended travel, especially when you're used to living on $10 or less per day—but again, after leaving l later heard through other backpackers, since Central America is not a large region by any means, that he was later involved with the police where his passport was taken away while being investigated, thereby not being allowed to leave the country, since one of the people he also stole from was the hostel we managed and the owner was a retired American Wall Street Stockbroker that had lived in Nicaragua for years and owned a prominent hotel in Granada. Sometimes, it baffles, me what people think they can get away with concerning lies and stealing and when they all come catching up to the person, they act as if this is shocking news to them!
In conclusion, I always like to challenge individuals by asking them how they define success and happiness? STOP, for just a moment and think about how you define these two topics for yourself. I'll tell you what, my answer does not include starting a business with the sole purpose of making money—I could careless about becoming a millionaire or owning more things—because I have had many of these things in life, and having more money, a better status symbol of what company you work for etc, none of these will bring you happiness. Yes, they may make life a little easier, but guess, what I've found, is that some of the most unhappy people are some of the wealthiest I've met in life. So that should tell you something right there.