Categories
Advice Journal Thoughts Tips

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.

Focus

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.

Feedback

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 😉

Categories
Apps Habits Learn Training

Elevate milestone

I reached 401 day long streak on Elevate today. I was at 101 last time when I wrote about  this cool educational app.

Elevate combines two of my passions: deliberate practice and building tiny habits. This is what makes me reach out to Elevate as soon as I wake up every morning.

It hurts to break a habit streak. Especially, when it only takes about five minutes a day to build it. It totally sucked when I broke the streak twice, once around 30 days and the other at 52 days. Luckily, I am yet to miss a day since. Until I break the streak again, I will say that it is easy to build streaks on tiny habits :). Touchwood!

Completing three games daily takes about five minutes. It is easy to do, it is also easy not to do, as I recall a note from the fourth chapter of The Slight Edge. It usually takes another five to seven minutes to score perfect games. So it only takes at most fifteen minutes to make the day count and score perfect games. Everyone has fifteen minutes. There are no excuses really. I think this is what has helped me get going.

Following are my stats and Elevate Proficiency Quotient (EPQ). I love how both the app’s design and my EPQ have evolved over time. I did not improve in listening because I always skipped listening games.

                                

EPQ    

Now that I celebrated the 400-day milestone by writing about it, 500, here I come.

Categories
Apps Habits Learn Training

Elevate App

Today I am pleased to learn that the Elevate app is picked by Apple as the best iPhone app of 2014. So well done,  people at Elevate Labs. Your work is awesome.

I discovered and started using this app since this May. I broke the streak twice, once around 30 days and the latest at 52 days. But I am glad to hit a 100 day streak yesterday.

101Streak

It is a very well designed app that trains my brain across a range of cognitive functions like reading, writing, speaking, listening and math. I didn’t want to spend a lot of time and money, so I play the free version which lets me play three bite sized games a day. I can play all three games under 5 minutes and I spend a bit more time if I can, to get excellent scores.
Here is my EPQ:
EPQ

I strongly suggest everyone to check this app and start using it. It is an addiction that will indeed enhance your smarts and thereby your life.