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Types of Foundation (Life) Skills


Every experience requires abilities; will master diverse skills for an endless array of available activities. We will have innate (inborn) talents for some skills; they will come to us so easily they seem automatic. Others will require many hours or even years to master. As defined by United Nations Foundation (Life) skills are as:


Communication Skills - assist to reduce the redundant (un called for) and non-productive time that exists as a result of the lack of proper structure of communication. This means that we are able to express ourselves both verbally and non-verbally, in ways that are appropriate to our cultures and situations. This means being able to express opinions and desires, but also needs and fears. This begins with the reflective questions "What is it that I want/need to convey? And why?" It moves to "In what ways can I express what I want to convey?" and ends with "What results do I see as a result of conveying this?"


Coping with Conflict, Stress & Anger - understand the causes and how it affects oneself and the place of work and home. This is about first recognizing our life stressors and the sources they come from. Recognizing this stress affects us, as we act in way that helps to control out levels of stress, for example by making changes in our physical environment or lifestyle. Or it may mean learning how to relax, so that tensions created by unavoidable stress do not give rise to life threats.


Coping with Emotions - involves recognizing and managing various emotions. This is an essential part of building emotional (disturbing) intelligence and nurturing relationships. This involves recognizing our own emotions and those of others; being aware of how emotions influence our behavior and being able to respond to emotions appropriately. Intense emotions like anger of sorrow can have negative effects on our well-being if we do not react appropriately. Conversely, happiness and excitement may also have direct effects on our well-being. This can emanate from the questions "How do I feel?" and "What do I feel?"


Creative Thinking - refers to the phenomenon whereby a person creates something new (a product, a solution, a work of art, a novel, a joke, etc.) that has some kind of value. What counts as "new" may be in reference to the individual creator, or to the society or domain within which the novelty occurs. Creative thinking contributes to both decision making and problem solving by enabling us to explore the available alternatives and various consequences of our actions or non-action. It helps us to look beyond our direct experience, and even if non problem is identified, or no decision is made, creative thinking can help us to respond adaptively and with flexibility to the situations of our daily lives.


Critical Thinking - is the process of thinking that questions assumptions. It is a way of deciding whether a claim is true, false; sometimes true, or partly true. This is an ability to analyze information and experiences in an objective manner. Critical thinking can contribute to positive living by helping us to recognize and assess the factors that influence attitudes and behavior, such as values, peer pressure and the media.


Decision Making - assist to make timely and well-considered decisions. This is about going constructively through with decisions about our lives. Decisions we can make can have great consequences, in both the long, medium and short terms. Assessing different options and consequences affect different decisions.


Empathy - is the capacity to recognize and share feelings (such as sadness or happiness) that are being experienced. It develops compassion for others. This is the ability to imagine what life is like for another person, even in a situation that we may not be familiar with.


Interpersonal Skills - assist to improve any relationships and encourage a congenial (pleasant) 24x7 working environment. Interpersonal skills help us to relate in positive ways with people we interact with. This may mean being able to make and keep family relationships, which can be of great importance to our mental and social well-being. It may mean keeping good relationships with family members, which are an important source of social support. It may mean being able to end relationships constructively.


Negotiation Skills - to use language effectively and utilizing one’s rhetorical and persuasion skills. Negotiating is the process of getting the best terms once the other side starts to act on their interest. It is achieving one's goals in every relationship regardless of the circumstances. Negotiation is a process, a means to an end. It is the journey of how we get to the destination not the destination itself. This doesn't mean losing sight of the destination but rather, paying more attention to how we get there. It's all about "process".


Problem Solving - important element in management skills in any situation. Problem solving, like decision making, enables us to deal constructively with problems in our lives. Significant problems that are left unresolved can cause mental stress and give rise to accompanying physical, emotional, social, and even spiritual strains.


Self Awareness (Intrapersonal) – knows one's own ideas, abilities and able to achieve personal goals This includes our recognition of ourselves, of our character, of our strengths and weaknesses, desires and dislikes. Developing self-awareness can help us recognize when we are stressed or feel under pressure. It is also often a pre-requisite for effective communication and interpersonal relationships we well as for having empathy for others. This comes from the most difficult question to ask of one's self: "Who am I?"