The 3 Most Important Life Skills Nobody Taught Me

Many of the most important life skills are ones I had to learn on my own. Although my parents and teachers didn’t teach me, they ultimately weren’t things I could learn through traditional ways—I had to seek the knowledge when the time was right for me and practice them myself.
“The only education worth anything is self-education.”
— Isaac Asimov
1. How to Be Happy
Ironically, the chase for happiness often makes us less happy – seeking joy from external sources like possessions, people, or accomplishments often leaves you falling short because they’ll never bring true contentment.
I had two big reminders of this recently. You know when you think ‘I’ll be happy when…’.
Well for me it was I’ll be happy when I have a No 1 bestseller [tick] and I’ll be happy when I gain my International Coaching Federation (the gold standard of coaching) accreditation [tick]. While I am eternally grateful, they didn’t bring me the joy I thought they would.
“Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”
— Henry David Thoreau
The truth is we have everything we need to be happy right now. As a Buddhist monk said, “It is ridiculous to think that somebody else can make you happy or unhappy.”
So I went for a walk, connected back to my myself rather than external sources, and reflected on all the blessings I have.
Watch and listen to life and see the beauty in the world right now. Let go of your attachments. And by doing so, it’ll be a lot easier to stumble onto happiness.
2. How to See My Own Programming
We all have programmes which run our lives. It’s the computer system that helps us to do things like drive somewhere without noticing how we got there. We can also have less helpful programmes running.
The ‘not good enough’ programme. ‘You’re only earning £40K – you should be earning way more than that’ (watch out for the word ‘should’!).
The extremes of ‘never’ or ‘always’ which stop us from appreciating life and seeing the full picture. ‘You never wash up’. ‘You always leave your clothes on the floor’.
Our brain tries to make things easier by looking for information to prove to ourselves that we are correct. So you won’t notice the things you do well, the times that they do wash up or put their clothes in the washing basket – you’ll only notice the things which prove your beliefs to be right.
To rewrite your story, I recommend coaching or journaling. Journal about the things that make you upset, anxious, or even happy and ask yourself, “Why?” Reflect on how you behave, think, and respond to different situations or stresses. Then, see if those patterns serve you or not. If not, replace them with healthier ones and start changing your life.
3. How to Connect to Myself
Connecting with yourself and becoming self-aware is incredibly powerful. You’ll learn to be at peace with yourself. You won’t be as controlled by your emotions, habits, or programming. You won’t need to distract or numb yourself with your phone, alcohol or chocolate to avoid feeling uncomfortable with your thoughts.
Take the time to notice your emotions, feelings, and thoughts going on inside you. How often do detach yourself from your inner dialogue so you can avoid getting so caught up in it?
No one teaches you that. You have to discover it yourself.
Unplug from distractions and busyness and come back home to your thoughts. For this, meditation is an incredible practice. I believe it takes daily practice – as you do it more and more, you’ll get better at finding inner peace.

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Hello and welcome! I’m Joanna Lott, and I’m passionate about empowering qualified coaches like you to build brilliant businesses.