Beyond Skill Sets: What All Professionals Need to Succeed in Life

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There’s no doubt about it: equipping yourself with robust and specialised skill sets provides professionals like you with a competitive edge to succeed in life, no matter which industry you work in. And as digital advancements penetrate the workplace, the motto “business as usual” is as good as dead. In fact, according to the World Economic Forum, the integration of Artificial Intelligence in industries from finance to healthcare will require companies to significantly retrain and upskill 54% of the world’s total workforce.

Nonetheless, as new jobs that didn’t exist in the past find a place in both corporate and creative work environments; professionals must look beyond developing and acquiring new hard skills. The traditional preconceptions of success are being thrown out the window and technical know-how won’t be enough to spur your future career – and life – trajectory.

Here are 4 things you should either start developing or continue to strengthen as professionals to succeed in life:

1. Enterprise

No, we don’t mean doubling those efforts on your current business venture – more like being proactive and looking for opportunities in the workplace, rather than waiting to be assigned a task or special project. Use the pockets of free time in between urgent tasks and projects to brainstorm ideas: perhaps on how to find ways to collaborate with industry captains to host a forum on integrating technological innovations into humanitarian efforts or how to improve work culture to attract and retain more quality talent.

Bill Gates didn’t found what was, until recently, the world’s most valuable listed company by hoping he would chance upon something great. He created his own opportunities and waited for no one to hand him an opening. Taking the initiative shows you’re passionate about what you do and shows a willingness to go above and beyond. As a result, the doors that can open up for your career – or even ones for new career paths – are endless. With so many successful professionals already chasing the next big thing, you’re already failing if you’re haven’t already gotten out of your chair.


2. Curiosity

Tesla Founder Elon Musk – often dubbed the “real life Tony Stark” – reads. A lot. As a child, he’d bury himself in books for more than 10 hours a day, a significant factor that contributed to his development of PC game Blaster at only age 12. How did he learn to build rockets and found SpaceX, a leading rockets and spacecraft manufacturer giving NASA a run for its money with seemingly insane innovations and ambitions? Books.

The entrepreneur’s constant thirst for knowledge is what makes him a diamond in the rough. Never think that you’ve learned enough. New technologies and innovations are creating jobs we couldn’t have imagined a decade ago, while rendering occupations like ‘human computers’ and switchboard operators virtually obsolete. Diversifying your skills and gaining knowledge from industries outside your own will increase your job mobility and allow you adapt to new careers that will increase in demand to succeed in life.


3. Communication Skills

A few decades ago it was common sight to see professionals such as accountants, bankers and writers to enclose themselves in walled off buildings and carry out their work with minimal human interaction. But the evolving nature of business paired with hyper connectivity, in the form of social media and digital communication tools, has made the world a very, very small place. So much so that many businesses have geared themselves towards increased customer interaction, as consumers demand more personal attention from enterprises.

Concomitantly, start-ups and corporations are looking beyond their own borders to reap the benefits of either a regional or international presence. So, sharpen your people skills, boost your public speaking confidence and hone your networking abilities. Connecting with people, whether they’re existing or potential clients, will increase your professional worth and equip you with assets you can use outside of the office.


4. Kindness

One of the most undervalued skills in a workplace, kindness is often looked down upon in corporate environments, because of its association with being taken advantage of. On the flip side, the world’s most successful entrepreneurs have employed kindness to their benefit. Leaders that instill fear in a workplace usually don’t get their way for long. It’s the attitude to deliberately exercise kindness – not false appearances – that fosters trust and cultivates loyalty.

The most successful business deals are sealed on the basis of mutual respect and, to a certain extent, a degree of personality appeal. Kindness also earns you friends; making enemies out of arrogance and a ‘me-versus-the-world’ attitude is virtually self-sabotage. And when you’re kind, you infect others with kindness, which builds a healthy working environment, and in turn a more productive one that will yield priceless dividends in the long run.

Related: Top 5 Leadership Lessons from Our Favourite Marvel Superheroes



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