Monday, April 24, 2006

Critical Skill Sets

So I was thinking, what are the absolute critical primary life skill sets out there?

Sure not everyone has to have them, but a succesful person should be greatly accomplished in at least several.

Also we need to recognize there are soft and hard skill sets. The soft skill sets are those that are important for interpersonal and intersociety relationships, the hard are those that are important for survival etc... and any successful individual really needs to have at least a basic grasp of several from each set, and a mastery of at least one from each set.

Anyway here's the list I thought of:

Soft skills

1. Politics (public and personal - affects all walks of life)
2. Basic law (to survive in society)
3. Basic etiquette (also to survive in society)
4. Self education and research (including electronic if appropriate)
5. Oral communication (public and personal
6. Written communication (including electronic if appropriate)
7. Logic (including critical analysis)
8. Debate and argument (including critical analysis)
9. Basic commerce and economics (bargaining, pricing, basic sales knowledge, money management)
10. Intimate and Personal relationship skills (communication, conflict resolution, lovemaking)

Hard Skills

1. Food and water acquisition (hunting, gathering, trapping, farming and animal husbandry)
2. Food storage, preparation, and preservation
3. Basic medicine (first response, lifesaving, physical training, basic drug/herbal knowledge, hygeine)
4. Basic transportation skills with whatever modes are prevalent locally (including basic maintenance)
5. Basic mechanical (and electrical if applicable) repair skills (including very basic metalwork)
6. Basic tailoring skills (to manufacture and repair clothing)
7. Basic housework and mending skills (cleaning, organization, maintenance and repair of a household)
8. Basic carpentry and construction skills (constructing servicable shelter, tables, chairs, and cabinets)
9. Self defense (armed with and without firearms, and unarmed)
10. Basic strategy, tactics, and methods of local defense (including movement, and field fortifications)

I think these basic skill sets are universal to almost all socieites, and communities throughout time; excepting those that existed pimarily as plundering cultures (and most of those didn't last too long).

Even today, all of these skills; except perhaps food acquisiton from the raw, and local defense; are very important in our lives; and of course those skills are still critical to our societies as a whole.

In fact, I think that if you can identify a missing or grossly unbalanced or abused skill set in a community; you can identify communities that will fail, or that have major problems; as well as idenitifying major commercial opportunities.

This technique is also useful for writers. It can be difficult to build a society; one has so many things to think of; but with those skills sets in mind, one can then build the shell of society with which to hang the details on. Ensure that each of these functions is adequately provided for and met, and you have a functioning society. Make them all marginal and you have a collapsing one or developing one. Make one grossly distorted, abused, or absent; and you have inbuilt conflict to base your story on.

Anyone have anything to add?

UPDATE: Some have noted a few details, which I included in other skill sets (like lumping water gathering in with food).

A few people have noted parenting skills, but honestly I don't believe that these are skiills separate from what I have described. No, knowing these skills wont make you a good parent; but without many of them, you can be sure you won't be much of one.

The most important thing a parent can give is love; but very close to it are morality, discipline, and personal responsibility; and none of these are discrete skills.