What is the Most Fundamental Skill?

I have been thinking about this lately, what is the most important life skill? This is not an easy question, and there are no straightforward answers. One answer, of course, is that it depends on what you value in life and the type of results that you are looking for.

But, I think that there are some skills that can be considered meta-skills. These are skills that help an individual thrive in ever-changing conditions, and that makes the development of more specific skills easier and faster.

One example is learning to learn. Yes, that is a thing. You can study how to study, and this makes you better at studying, which in turn you can apply again at studying, and so on.

However, there is a dangerous trap here that some people fall into. This is the trap of always working on meta-skills and not actually using the underlining skills that you develop on something useful. The point of learning is not just to learn how to learn, but to use the skill of learning to actually learn something!

So learning is for sure one skill that we consider the most important skill, but perhaps there are skills that sit above learning in the hierarchy of skills. So the question we need to ask is, what skills are required to have the skill of learning?

Well, we could consider self-discipline, patience, long-term thinking, concentration/focus, and so on. And then we need to go into each one of these and then ask the same question, and so on.

Except, that I do not actually believe that skills are in a top-down or even bottoms-up hierarchy. Instead, the relationship between skills is far more complex.

For instance, you work on something that you don’t particularly like to do, but you know has a strong possibility of a good long-term payoff, such as education or perhaps going to the gym. During this time, you develop both patience and self-discipline, and if you do reach your long-term goals, you then learn the value of long-term thinking as well.

This is for sure an area that I want to write an essay for in the future.

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