Math, Language, and Driving are obviously skills. We are taught how they work, and we practice them until we develop a degree of competence. After some time, our level of ability to use them becomes a subconscious habit, and we perform the skills without even thinking about how they work.
It may not be nearly so obvious that the following are also skills.
Rules and Supervision. The difference between the first group of skills and this list of skills is simple. For Math, Language, and Driving, we are taught standardized rules, and we practice them under supervision until we meet a level of competence. In the case of driving, we pass a driving test and get a license to operate a vehicle.
“My” Rules. For the skills on the second list we made up our own rules. We watched and copied the behaviors of our parents, friends, family, teachers, preachers, and television celebrities, models present in the environment in which we were raised. We used our conclusions about how we think they used these skills to create our own rules.
Then we practiced the rules we made up until they became our subconscious habits.
At least 95% of our serious problems in life are created by Life Skills we taught our self. The development of our skills with relationships, emotions, and making choices began at the moment of our conception, peaked when we were 18 months, was mature before we started school. This blog post explains how this happens and “Why We Are The Way We Are.”
Since most of our problems come from using the life skills of a five-year-old to manage our lives as teens and adults, it’s not a surprise that we don’t have even more problems than we do.
It seems if we want to decrease the problems and negative emotions in our lives, the best approach would be to learn upgraded versions for doing those three foundation life skills.
Better life skills will yield closer, more nurturing relationships, consistently better choices, and results that do not generate so many negative emotions.