The further along you are in your career, the easier it is to fall back on the mistaken assumption that you’ve made it and have all the skills you need to succeed. The tendency is to focus all your energy on getting the job done, assuming that the rest will take care of itself. Big mistake.
W e should never stop learning. The moment we think that we are who we are is the moment we give away our unrealized potential. “ Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi
The act of learning is every bit as important as what you learn. Believing that you can improve yourself and do things in the future that are beyond your current possibilities is exciting and fulfilling.
Still, your time is finite, and you should dedicate yourself to learning skills that will yield the greatest benefit. There are nine skills that I believe fit the bill because they never stop paying dividends. These are the skills that deliver the biggest payoff, both in terms of what they teach you and their tendency to keep the learning alive.
Emotional intelligence (EQ) . EQ is the “something” in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions that achieve positive results. EQ is your ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others and your ability to use this awareness to manage your behavior and relationships. Decades of research now point to EQ as the critical factor that sets star performers apart from the rest of the pack. It’s a powerful way to focus your energy in one direction, with tremendous results.
TalentSmart company tested EQ alongside 33 other important workplace skills and found that EQ is the strongest predictor of performance, explaining a full 58% of success in all types of jobs. Of all the people we’ve studied at work, we've found that 90% of top performers are also high in EQ. On the flip side, just 20% of bottom performers are high in EQ. You can be a top performer without EQ, but the chances are slim. Naturally, people with a high degree of EQ make more money, an average of $29,000 more per year than people with a low degree of emotional intelligence. The link between EQ and earnings is so direct that every point increase in EQ adds $1,300 to an annual salary. Increasing your EQ won’t just pad your bank account, it’ll make you much happier and less stressed as well.
Time management. One of the biggest things that gets in the way of effective time management is the “tyranny of the urgent.” This refers to the tendency of little things that have to be done right now to get in the way of what really matters. When you succumb to it, you spend so much time putting out fires that you never get any real work done. How many times have you left work at the end of the day, only to realize that you didn’t move the important things along even one inch ? Learning to manage your time effectively frees you up to perform at your absolute highest level, and it does so every single day of your life.
Read Part II here .