Most of us no longer live in a jungle with trees, wild animals, and harsh or challenging natural surroundings.
We live in modern jungles with tall buildings, highly competitive spaces, and uncertain fiscal and social situations.
It still feels like a jungle, though. And you have to be able to survive.
What life skills are useful to tackle this modern lifestyle?
The challenges are different.
The obstacles are new.
The resources are scarcer.
The competition is brutal.
The predators are more intelligent.
Below I have made a list of some essential life skills for a Modern Man. Some may seem obvious, and some may not appear immediately intuitive.
But I hope the skills outlined below will help you survive in your own “jungle.”
This is my list of Essential Life Skills, regardless of your age, socio-economic status or location.
1. Cleaning – A highly underrated life skill
Besides the chance of breaking your ankle on a discarded shoe when you stumble into your room late at night, the clutter around you can clutter your mind.
Cleaning your spaces can literally help you clean up your life. And of course, you can outsource this work, but you know what – cleaning can keep you in shape!
But more importantly, for those who lack motivation, it can kickstart the day and help you achieve something.
Sometimes we don’t know where to start or how to do it. If this is you, check out selection number seven in our article Hidden Best Self-Improvement Books – it’s a super easy, practical cleaning guide to every room!
You can’t think straight or act if you are not well-fed.
And being self-dependent and knowing how to cook up a meal can turn your life around.
Because we can exist on junk food, we tend to think that nutrition doesn’t really matter.
But thousands of vital processes occur in your body each day. If you are not optimising your nutrition, it will eventually appear somewhere in your body (or mind).
That’s why cooking your own meal is among the most crucial life skills. Especially in modern cities and even in your relationships. Here are some easy meal ideas If you don’t like cooking.
Takeouts are expensive (Waiting for the food is even more costly!).
Don’t rely on others to provide this essential skill for life.
It’s no one’s job to feed you as an adult (unless you pay a cook!).
You never know – you might enjoy it.
You never know where life will take you, but one thing is for sure – you will always need your documents!
Keeping your documents in order is a mandatory life skill for all these days.
You can outsource this skill – but unless you know where the most crucial details of your life are stored, you are always at the mercy of someone else.
There are plenty of horror stories of celebrities and others who have outsourced their ‘lives’ only to have been taken advantage of and faced with extremely serious consequences as a result.
Luckily most of us know where our essential documents are kept, but have you considered record keeping?
Similar to keeping a journal, you can start to record important elements of your life –
- Important decisions
- Personal or business ideas
- Work Log
- Diary of your thoughts
It’s quite common to lose perspective in life.
In the noise of the modern world, you can also lose the context.
What seems to be a good decision today might be called wrong in the future.
And what seems to be a bad decision today might lay down the foundation of future success.
Maintaining records can help you in tough situations too. It can become a major difference in your survival, especially during crucial periods in your life.
It can also help you to deal with ‘unreasonable’ people also.
Unreasonable partners, family members, or clients can easily make your life difficult. They can cause you confusion and make you lose your sanity.
Your records will always help you to remember your own story.
TIP – Email yourself any ideas or important notes for an easily accessible, permanent storage solution.
4. Finance Skills & Budgeting
I don’t remember learning this at school.
Keeping your personal or business budget healthy is a skill that is absolutely vital to survive in modern times.
And it’s not something you want to hand over to someone else.
You need to understand at least the very basics (income and expenses) and aim to build your own Emergency Fund of savings.
And your career path is essential too.
Thanks to technology and other societal factors, careers are becoming obsolete so fast that you cannot afford to assume anything anymore!
Who knows if your job will still be around in two, five, or 10 years.
And what if you suffer an injury or illness? Then what?
Look after yourself and develop financial skills that will last you a lifetime.
This one is a biggie!
Communication skills are underrated but essential modern life skill for men.
Have you ever noticed those guys who sail through life, seem to have more time than everyone else and never seem to be worried?
Well, sometimes, these guys have mastered the art of communication.
We hardly spend any of our lives developing healthy or effective communication. We tend to model what’s around us.
But communication can make or break one of the most critical factors in a happy life – Relationships.
Whether it is with a romantic partner, family, children, friends, and colleagues, knowing how to communicate is a vital skill.
Communication can be written or verbal communication, such as speaking and also listening.
Think how many of the following scenarios or people you have faced that may have been affected because of a communication problem –
- Job Interviews
- Business Marketing Or Promotion
- Client Interactions
- Marriage or Partnerships
- Work Colleagues
- Health Services
- Legal Matters
It would be great to know how to express ourselves effectively in writing and verbally, stay respectful, listen, or stop others from breaching our boundaries. Here are 3 Boundaries In Relationships To Set When Dating After A Breakup Or Divorce suggested by a dating coach.
6. Conflict Resolution
Similar to Communication Skills is Conflict Resolution.
Most of us have put away our caveman clubs as a form of conflict resolution and require something with a little more finesse for a successful outcome.
Firstly, see if you can Avoid the conflict. This is the preferred option if it’s appropriate.
This strategy involves understanding the dynamics of the scenario at play. Previous experiences can make you perceive current and potential situations as conflicts.
So before you jump into something, try and analyse it – is it something you need to become involved in?
This can help you avoid conflicts in the first place.
Another skill in this section is Negotiation.
If you are in a conflict or disagreement, try to ascertain whether a negotiation or agreement can be reached.
More than other parties, it will help you avoid unnecessary fighting, waste of resources and, most important, collateral damage.
Another helpful skill in Conflict Avoidance is Arbitration.
Sometimes we get into a situation where we are asked by either party or both to settle a dispute.
It’s about knowing when to bring a professional or neutral third party.
You can help others too – colleagues, friends, family members, social or community disputes etc., (where appropriate) to help diffuse a potential conflict. Next up read- How to Respond to a yelling wife and Find a Solution
GPS is great – navigating on the road is much easier these days (although it’s not foolproof!).
You are not always on the road, though. Awareness of your surroundings when travelling or any situation that requires you to find where you are going is essential.
But it’s one thing to know how to navigate literally. It is another skill, however, to ‘navigate’ your way through a crisis or challenge like the following –
- Personal Crises
- Business Requirement
- Career Challenge
- Family Issue
- Health, wellness or illness
- Social or Community Dilemma (like who should pay for lunch)
- Emergency or Accident
- Natural Disaster
Now, knowing how to navigate everything in life is not necessarily intuitive.
Some of us are lucky and learn early from parents, teachers or societal figures.
Others learn by observation and (bitter) experience.
Learning to navigate your life your way is a modern skill. However, we live less in communities and have less support and guidance (in some circumstances) than our ancestors.
One way to learn this skill is to listen to your gut – your instincts. Make mistakes and take responsibility for your actions and decisions.
You are not Superman.
Many men carry the expectations from themselves and others that they are ‘super men’ and can do everything and save the world too!
There is significant social conditioning around this expectation, and it can lead to major problems.
One thing you can do is to ask for help or hire help.
There is absolutely no shame in getting others to assist, especially in such a fast-paced modern environment. See more on how to deal with fragile masculinity.
When bodybuilders work out, it’s intense. Most need recovery days to rebuild the muscle from the “damage” of the workout.
The recovery or rest is as important as the “work” days.
Your body needs rest every day. And those of you who have ever struggled with your sleep understand just how badly this essential part of life can ruin everything if it’s not right.
Taking breaks may not seem like something your feel ‘entitled’ to. After all, you’re a man – you are supposed to keep going no matter what!
This skill is quite rare.
Most of us learn when we are made to learn.
But only a few want to learn or keep learning after formal education ends.
I have found that, even with all the skills and experience, you might get into a modern ‘survival’ situation.
You might not get a job. You might not be able to do your old job.
Maybe you will find yourself in a new location. You might have to live in difficult circumstances.
All the preparation that you have done, all your life, for a good life can simply fail to help you.
But, the skill of ongoing learning will always help you. It’s beneficial to most to increase our knowledge and allot time for self-improvement.
It will allow you to adapt to new surroundings.
And learning will allow you to earn with dignity, remain self-reliant, and, most importantly, give you the purpose to keep going on.
A wise man once said,
“Learning is Living”
Harsh is the founder of menPsyche. He enjoys using his extensive research and writing skills to communicate ideas and concepts, with the aim to improve people’s lives.
Harsh trained as a Communication Engineer and published a MSc (Research) thesis, as well as worked in a variety of marketing and consultancy roles.