Life-Changing Skills

Nusrat Jahan Pritom

16 January, 2020 12:00 AM printer

Life-Changing Skills

According to renowned coach and speaker Anthony Robbins, human beings have six core needs. The first four of the six are defined as needs of the personality or achievement. The first two are paradoxical. They are certainty and uncertainty. Certainty means we need a comfort zone, a safe heaven, a place of assurance (in oneself, a friend, a commitment, etc). Uncertainty means we need a bit of adventure. Too much certainty and predictability in life can get boring. We need some chaos, some excitement and novelty. The other two core needs are significance (wanting to feel worthwhile, to be needed or to be special) and love or connection (the need to communicate). In his statements, the last two needs are the needs of the spirit which are growth (not being stagnant in the development physically, emotionally or spiritually) and contribution (to give to others in a community i.e. to care).

The reason his model is widely recognized by many people around the world is because they can reflect on it and also cross-check where they are in the spectrum using it. Well, there is ample scope of speculation here. But we are all, more or less, bound to these needs defined by him. To a certain extent, our lives circle around these- the feeling to connect, the feeling to feel worthy (of something), the urge to challenge ourselves and excel (uncertainty) and we also seek the assurance of a calm mind such as that of the Buddha! For most people, life goes on automatically. We wake up, go about doing whatever we need to do and fall asleep. There is hardly any room for self-reflection. But those who truly excel in life are those who put a pause on their busy schedules, who reflect on themselves and their lives and aspire for more. There are certain skills an individual can learn to not only upgrade himself or herself but to experience a better life. Do we have all the life skills necessary for our survival? If not, shouldn’t we develop them?


Be a good or at least an average cook!

Irrespective of gender, everyone should be au fait with basic cooking. Suppose you ever go abroad to study or for work. Who is going to cook for you? Suppose your spouse, parent or caretaker is busy, away or ill for a week. Who will do the hard work? If you do not want to live on street food forever, then grow your skills’ capacity by learning how to cook. It could be something basic, like a chicken or cheese salad, noodles, khichuri etc. but it needs to be wholesome and, hopefully tasty! This can fall in Robbin’s ‘growth’ need both literally and metaphorically. Ultimately, we grow from the food we eat, so we might as well become chefs regularly or occasionally! It also falls under other needs of contribution (cooking for yourself and a family member) and certainty.


Learn to defend yourself

Nobody wants to encounter a mugger, rapist or drug addict. But life is not always that fortunate to everyone. By learning to defend yourself from martial arts classes, you can save someone’s life in the time of danger. That someone may even be you! It will help you grow the necessary muscles and reflexes needed. Of course, situations can be unpredictable but it will help you get the upper hand. It will also help you feel more confident to roam around the streets of Dhaka or, in fact, anywhere! In fact, not until someone has prepared himself or herself for facing any impending danger, she or he can never be totally free but will always live under fear.


Develop speaking ability

To be able to speak clearly without hesitation or incoherence is a wonderful achievement. Human beings are social. Out of love or anger, to achieve something or to deny something, to introduce ourselves or to interact with others we need to use our tool of communication. Sadly, not many people can communicate effectively. The result is that either they are left out, or people misunderstand them or, in most cases, their true potential never unleash because what they have in their mind never comes to their tongue. Suppose Einstein was not a good communicator. So, the theory of relativity and many other treasures would have decayed and died inside his mind without ever manifesting to the world! May be you are thinking you are not Einstein. But then, you will be going against Robbin’s core need of ‘Significance’. Every person is important and must know that his thoughts are important and need to be voiced out loud. Public speaking is an art and it can help you accomplish many things- from winning elections to getting your job. Talk in a charming way with clear, concise sentences expressing coherently what you need to say. Refrain from gossiping or speaking ill of others. Do not boast around. Try to speak the truth. These are a few things you can practice in order to communicate effectively.


Invest in engaged activity

Sages of the past had always given emphasis on being mindful about all that you do. When you eat, eat mindfully. Research shows that when we eat mindfully, chewing the food slowly, it helps in better digestion. Our brain gets signaled on when to stop so that we don’t end up overeating. Yet, the practice now is to eat in front of the TV or talking over the phone or in a rush. In fact, most people are now rushing in almost everything. This culture of being ‘too fast’ for no reason is not helping us at all. Think about it. Suppose you go through many motivational videos on Youtube. You will see that you won’t reap much benefit from them. You might feel motivated for a few minutes but eventually the spark fades away. Instead, stick to one thing. Take your time. Try to understand how this is motivating you. Keep repeating the mantra to yourself time and again. Implement the motivational words in your life and make them a habit. You will find a huge difference. Being engaged in a particular activity doesn’t necessarily mean you need to slow it down. For example, when you are really focused in studying, you will see you can finish your homework with an hour or two. However, when you do it unmindfully, it may take less amount of time but you still won’t get it right.

Moreover learning meditation and breathing exercises will help you to be more engaged. Being mindful may fall under any or all the six core needs of Anthony Robbins as it helps in feeling not only calm but also challenging and growing, and of course, it makes one feel significant.