Everything is a skill
Everything in life is a skill. These skills can (and many should be) learned. I don’t know about you, but I have almost always thought that most stuff was innate and that, if you didn’t have it, then you didn’t have it. As I have gotten older though, I’ve learned that a lot of stuff (nearly everything) can be learned. Unfortunately, it is rarely easy to learn new skills as we get older (possibly because you probably already picked up on the easy stuff long ago), but it can be done.
Some skills are more inherent than others
To start, everybody has his or her own inherent gifts and talents that make learning and honing some new skills much easier. For me, spatial relations come more naturally to me and I can figure out how items will fit somewhere (for example, I am a master packer). My sister is naturally more artistic, and she has made beautiful drawings and knitted works of art. My husband is naturally good at getting stuff done, which is why he’s so productive (and, he’s naturally a perfectionist, so everything he does is done well). I have other friends who are naturally good at numbers and other naturally good at talking to people.
On the flip side, we all have things that don’t come naturally to us. In many cases, we might avoid doing them. For me, this means that I have avoided cooking, playing the guitar, and nearly anything that might be considered artistic.* This isn’t to say that I don’t like cooking, guitar music, or doing anything artistic. It just means that I have avoided these activities in the past because they don’t come easily to me.
There are also skills that might come somewhat naturally to us and we do them well enough that we never take the time to study them or actively work on making them better. For example, some skills that many people are perfectly adequate at are being in a relationship, talking to people, and cleaning. Many of us spend our lives talking to people without studying how to be in a relationship or how to talk to people for better communication. While we may have our awkward moments and a bad relationship or two, the majority of us have decent relationships and can effectively communicate our needs to other people. What most people don’t seem to realize (and I certainly didn’t for a very long time) is that relationships and talking to people are skills that can be learned. Cleaning is another skill that seems like something else you don’t necessarily need to think about how to do – just push the vacuum cleaner over the floor, spray cleaning solution on counters and wipe dry. If you’re feeling ambitious, get a Swiffer and dust. For many years, I was adequate at cleaning (most days, I still am), but over the past few years, I have worked diligently to improve my cleaning skills. While my house is never perfectly clean, it is definitely cleaner. I still don’t spend a lot of time cleaning, but I clean better because I realized that cleaning is a skill and have actively worked on learning how to clean.
How did I realize this?
How did I come to this epiphany that everything is a skill? There’s a memory of this dawning on me while I was trekking through the woods with my dad and husband one morning, but the overall concept had been slowly coalescing over years of reading, practicing, and pure determination. And this one cold, winter morning as we were walking back to the truck an hour or so after sunrise, it hit me that everything is a skill – whether it’s learning how to be outdoors with my dad, how to be in a relationship, how to talk to kids, or how to be more productive at work. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that everything is a skill. Yes, I’m sure there is something out there that cannot be learned, but I don’t know what that is yet. So, for all practical purposes, everything is a skill.
What does this mean for you?
This means that you and I can learn practically anything we want to learn, whether it’s how to cook, how to be more productive, how to read better, how to walk our dogs better, how to communicate better, or how to use our time better. Just like with every new thing you learn, you have to practice. You can’t just watch a video online and think you know how to do it. You have to practice it multiple times. You likely won’t get it right the first (or maybe even the second, third, or tenth) time, but you will improve each time. And then eventually, you’ll be able to do it.
Welcome to my blog!
Welcome to my blog, where I will share with you the various things I have tried to learn and what I have learned. Any Little Way is about all the little ways that I have tried and am trying to live better. I have no desire to overhaul my life and I firmly believe that it’s the little things in life that have the biggest impact, so I strive to make big changes in small ways. For almost my entire life, I have loved learning and strived to better myself in any way. I have tested various methods and learned from all of them. This blog is where I will share those lessons with you. I look forward to sharing this journey with you and also learning from you.
*This is an extremely short list of things that do not come naturally to me.