12 Adulting Skills We Need to Learn

12 Adulting Skills

Follow-up Post: Another 12 Adulting Skills We Need To Learn

Upon graduating from college, many young people will start living independently, move away from their parents, and start their adulting journey.

However, this new sense of independence suddenly proves them clueless about many things in the real world since many things are not taught in school.

Many of us thought we would have everything figured out by our 20s, which leaves us feeling lost on what to do next.

“Welcome to the Real World.” This phrase is commonly heard after graduation as if the world we live in before taking our diplomas is not “real.”

Either way, we blindly jump into the new workplace arena to crawl into the dark and figure things out. Here are 12 skills I believe every “new” adult and older adult should learn:

1. Budgeting

Budgeting is an adulting skill
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Budgeting is one of the essential adulting skills you should learn. Many of us grew up in families where topics about money are avoided and are left to be handled by “adults.” However, when we reach adulthood, we finally realize that they also don’t know how to handle money properly.

That is why we need to unlearn things and learn more about the subject by going through various materials, from books to articles, blogs, and vlogs, and talking to people who know how to budget.

I have already written a post regarding budgeting. You may read it here, and I hope it helps.

2. Cooking

A sharp knife in a plate
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Like budgeting, cooking is one skill every adult should learn — primarily if you did not know how to cook growing up. Aside from frying, I only started cooking in 2018 by following recipes on Youtube. And through practice, I think I have improved a lot since then.

Another thing about cooking is that it saves us cash compared to dining out or buying cooked food. When I cook, I sometimes compute the total expense for the dish and how long it takes to complete. I found out that it can be as high as 50% savings. Plus, it’s fun to cook, especially if you’re cooking for someone you love.

With so many preservatives and unhealthy food sold in the market, cooking your food assures you of its nutritional value.

3. Exercising

A woman running in the morning
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When I was still studying, I was underweight. I can’t gain weight even if I try. I always thought it would always be that way. Unfortunately, my metabolism slowed down. By the time I took the board exam in 2014, I was several kilograms overweight.

That is also one of the reasons why I started exercising. I initially chose running because I thought it was the cheapest sport — now I know I was wrong about that.

As we started working, we realized that we didn’t have much free time, making exercising more critical. Re-allocating 10 to 15mins of your social media time to exercise will help you in the long run.

4. Confrontation

Man and woman having an argument
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Confrontation has a negative connotation, but hear me out. You can speak about your issue/s with another person in a loving, respectful, and friendly way. Confrontation does not mean fighting or arguing. But it can be a way to settle misunderstandings and clear issues before they go out of hand.

I noticed from older people who never learned the skill of confrontation that they ignore the person they have a problem with or deal with them in a passive-aggressive way.

I know this is difficult, especially if you’re an introvert, making it more critical. To preserve relationships, you need to collect all the confidence in yourself and talk things out.

Because if you avoid the person you need to confront long enough, the time will come when all the emotions locked up inside you will burst. Your relationship may not be repaired ever again after that.

5. Asking Questions

a man raising two fingers during a lecture
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I am a former teacher, so I know that most students won’t ask questions even if they want to clarify something. So what I did is to force them to ask questions.

During recitation, I call a student randomly, and they have to ask a classmate or me a question. And that question should not be answerable by yes or no but should be situational or divergent questioning.

I want to teach them confidence in questioning people with authority. Asking questions is an important skill used in our everyday lives.

From asking a stranger for directions to asking a seller for a refund to asking your manager for a raise or promotion, it is only a matter of confidence.

Not all questions are created equal. Some are thought-provoking, while some are pretty obvious, but it does not matter. According to Confucius, “The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute. The man who does not ask is a fool for life.”

6. Public Speaking

A man lecturing to a huge class in an auditorium
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Public speaking does not mean speaking in a large venue with hundreds of listeners waiting for you to talk. It can be as small as within your family or your five-person team.

Whatever the number of audiences, learning the confidence to talk in front is essential. I am an ambivert, but I lean towards introversion. But because I was elected president of my organization in college, I had to speak in front of people. That experience contributed to building my confidence.

Learning to speak in public is never too late — you need practice.

7. Writing with Clarity

A woman writing down notes while drinking coffee and a phone and notebook close by.
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We are now living in a world where writing is essential. We write more than we think — through social media, emails, blogs, and other platforms.

But many people seem to forget how to write what they mean, which leads to misunderstandings and disputes. Communication is a two-way street — whichever medium it may be. The tricky part about writing is that it does not readily show the writer’s emotions or translate what’s in his head to what’s written on the paper.

So, if you want people to understand what you mean, you must practice writing clearly and re-learn its basics.

8. Reading with Comprehension

A woman with boots sitting on the window rails while reading a book
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In 2019, the education sector was mocked when the news announced that the Philippines ranked lowest among 79 countries regarding reading comprehension. I don’t know if you noticed, but based on my experience, this is true.

Our schools and teachers can only do so much to remind students to read. However, students seem to no longer care about reading — which is essential in the future. Reading with comprehension is not only applicable to English but also Filipino.

People — young and old — need to re-learn how to read, not just for the sake of reading but especially for understanding. Read the line, within the line, and finally, beyond the line.

9. Active Listening

Two woman sitting on the woods while talking
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Often, we listen so we can reply, not to understand. I think that is one of the biggest problems of our generation. We need to be more present when having a conversation. It is an essential skill that can do wonders.

Just like what Epictetus said, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”

10. Empathy

a woman helping a child climb a wooden ramp
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Empathy is more than just feeling pity toward others. It is putting ourselves in other people’s situations. As Atticus Finch said, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view — until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

To learn empathy, we need to re-evaluate our values first. We must throw away our selfish desires and seek ways to extend help.

We must immerse ourselves in uncomfortable places and situations to understand others more. Volunteering for different causes is a great way to develop empathy.

11. Teaching

the word teach
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We are all teachers. We teach different topics to other people every time. Richard Feynman said that one of the best ways to learn a concept is to teach it to others.

Some may be more adept at teaching than others, so you need to improve this skill. Whatever we do, the time will come when we need to teach others. It may be our friends, family, teammates, colleagues, or mentees, but whomever that student may be, an opportunity will come when we need to teach.

12. Not Taking Offense Easily

an angry woman with her arms wrapped around her chest
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In a time when we become so thin-skinned and oversensitive to everything, learning not to be easily offended is a critical skill to learn as early as possible.

Some Filipinos are easily offended. The cultural term is “tampo.” Many families and friendships were damaged because of this, from as simple as not greeting you on your birthday, forgetting to invite you to a party, or passing to buy your merchandise.

I think being “matampuhin” is a sign of pride and selfishness because we don’t consider the other person’s reason why these things happen. We should always practice giving the benefit of the doubt.

So, if we can learn how not to be easily offended, our lives will be easier. Not everything is worth our energy. We need to choose our battles carefully.

Final Thought:

Adulting is hard. It is much more complicated if we don’t learn some of these skills. We must prepare ourselves to be in uncomfortable situations to learn and grow.

There is always room for improvement. Never settle for “ganito na talaga ako e.” Listen to close friends’ and family’s advice and filter through them to determine what is applicable.

We need to develop a growth mindset.

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