Three foundational skills everyone needs to get ahead in life

Over the past few years, the fol­low­ing foun­da­tion­al skills have helped me shape my career. I am not going to per­fect them any­time soon but I think I don’t have to. I believe these skills takes life-long prac­tice and I real­ly don’t want to get done with them. I think it would be sil­ly of me to think that some­day I will mas­ter them all. I prob­a­bly won’t. But by sim­ply being aware and prac­tic­ing them, I feel like I can adopt growth mind­set and get bet­ter in my life and career.


Regard­less of what I do, being indis­traca­ble and being able to focus on the task at hand for longer peri­ods of time is a great skill. It is hard; if it isn’t every­one would do it. Being able to focus gives me a great com­pet­i­tive advan­tage, so I think it is very well worth learn­ing how to be focussed. I learned that even a few focus blocks each week makes me high­ly pro­duc­tive and effec­tive. Hav­ing said this, it is real­ly hard. I fail more often than I would like to believe. But that’s the chal­lenge I signed up for.


Will­ing­ness to ask and accept feed­back with­out get­ting defen­sive is anoth­er essen­tial skill to devel­op. It sounds sim­ple. But being told on the face that you have a lot of room for improve­ment —which is gen­er­al­ly true in most cas­es— is incon­ve­nient and deeply cuts through my most pre­cious pos­ses­sion called ego. But how­ev­er harsh it may sound, feed­back on how I can improve is exact­ly what I need to get ahead. So I con­sid­er feed­back as a gift. To get ahead in life, I need tough love, not being told how awe­some I am. That’s why I am always open for feed­back.

Flip-flop and iterate

It takes a lot of courage to be com­fort­able with chang­ing my mind and ideas often. Every­thing around me is chang­ing con­stant­ly. So should my ideas and opin­ions, I think. I am not oblig­ed to stick with any­thing just because I felt cer­tain way at cer­tain point in time. Rather than being dogged about my ideas, I found that being open, adapt­ing to feed­back and iter­at­ing has helped me do cool things.

Can you think of any oth­er skills that are use­ful regard­less of what we do?

Next time I will share what I believe are foun­da­tion­al habits and how I learned about them.

Also, this is my first attempt with a cheesy click­bait title 😉

3 responses to “Three foundational skills everyone needs to get ahead in life”

  1. Love the click­bait title 🙂

    To quote a line from the Rocky Bal­boa movie:

    >But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep mov­ing for­ward; how much you can take and keep mov­ing for­ward.

    Lots of unex­pect­ed things will hap­pen in life and dur­ing our pro­fes­sion­al careers. How fast we can bounce back from a set­back, deter­mines how fast we can go ahead in life.

    This leads me to one of my favorite life quotes ever, also from a movie ( yep, I love movie quotes 😀 , this one comes from Jack Spar­row ).

    >The prob­lem is not the prob­lem. The prob­lem is your atti­tude about the prob­lem.

    1. Glad you did­n’t look down on my click­bait 😀

      And thanks for shar­ing those great movie quotes.

  2. Great list, Chait! A big yes to all of these.

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