The best things in life may be free, but that doesn’t mean they won’t take time, sweat, and perseverance to acquire. That’s especially the case when it comes to learning important life skills.
To ascertain which talents are worth the investment, one Quora reader posed the question: “What are the hardest and most useful skills to learn?”
We’ve highlighted our favorite takeaways, as well as a few other skills we thought were important.
15 skills that are hard to learn but will pay off forever
“You can be the most disciplined, brilliant, and even wealthy individual in the world, but if you don’t care for or empathize with other people, then you are basically nothing but a sociopath,” writes Kamia Taylor.
Empathy, as business owner Jane Wurdwand explains, is a fundamental human ability that has too readily been forsworn by modern business.
“Empathy — the ability to feel what others feel — is what makes good sales and service people truly great. Empathy as in team spirit — esprit de corps — motivates people to try harder. Empathy drives employees to push beyond their own apathy, to go bigger, because they feel something bigger than just a paycheck,” she writes.
3. Mastering your sleep
There are so many prescribed sleep hacks out there it’s often hard to keep track. But regardless of what you choose, establishing a ritual can help ensure you have restful nights.
Numerous studies show that being consistent with your sleep schedule makes it easier to fall asleep and wake up, and it helps promote better sleep in general.
Learning a new language
This skill wont just open you up to new conversations and professional opportunities.
As native-Hungarian speaker and Metaphor English founder and CEO Balázs Csigi blogs, “Mastering English has been an incredible gift in my life. I received a new mindset, a new set of emotions, and a new way of thinking.” The same could be said of learning any new language.
Csigi says the key to learning another language is to master every bit of the culture, no easy feat, but surely a worthwhile pursuit.
16. Speaking up
Speaking up in public can be so hard for many of us to do. Even the American business magnate Warren Buffett said that he was once so terrified of speaking in public that he would throw up. “In fact, I arranged my life so that I never had to get up in front of anybody,” he told his biographer Alice Schroeder in “The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life.”
It took practicing giving speeches numerous times in front of his Dale Carnegie speaking course classmates to finally conquer his fear.
“Some of it is just practice — just doing it and practicing,” Buffett said. “And it worked. That’s the most important degree I have.”