Some Pertinent Suggestions for Developing Soft Life Skills

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By Muhammed Hussain Sufi

Everything has been said, written, done and read under the sun. Passages are merely rearrangements of words to give meaning to our thoughts. My column today is about personal habit development. There are certain skills we need to have to polish our overall persona. I have tried my level best and chalked out few minor skills. They may not give you promotion in a job or make you to top in your class or make your business better. They may , however strengthen, your foundation in the field of your expertise.

1. Checklist: Checklist is a process, wherein one maintains day-to-day tasks in a diary or a notebook and once the task is performed a check mark is made in a square box representing that task. This is an effortless habit and will take hardly needs 10 minutes of your time. All you have to do is to purchase a diary or a notebook. To begin with you have to write the date at the top, if it is not already written and add tasks one after other. Each task has to have a small square box at the beginning on left hand side. You can list the tasks one after the other in a manner with what to do first and what to do next. To be more effective, you shall always do this exercise at the end of the day. So, that you can plan your next day before hand. You can do it in the morning, however doing it at night before sleep is recommended. The essence of it doing it at night before sleep is that it suffices into your subconscious mind when you sleep. You can also make a checklist in your mobile phone. There are lots of apps offering to-do list, reminders and so on. But , personally I use and recommend notebook or a diary and a pen because cellphones are distractive;

2. Reading: Reading is to mind what exercise is to body. All of us want to be mentally fit and have better memory. We also want to stay updated and we also want to sound knowledgeable, sensible and factually correct. This is where reading comes to your rescue. All of us do lots of reading all the time. However, we do an unorganized sort of reading wherein we read posts on facebook, twitter and worse by reading comments on memes on instagram. We also have a habit of gaining a superficial knowledge by reading newspaper headlines and then conjuring the entire story in our heads. Most of our knowledge comes from social gossip, which can lead to catastrophes. In a scenario, when everybody knows little about everything we tend to make our decisions based on knowledge we have acquired which in itself is flawed, the decision then itself turns into farce. We find many books on shelves and fewer readers. I will recommend you should dedicate thirty minutes to reading every day. It is not difficult to take 30 minutes out of your 24hours day schedule for reading. What should one read? To begin with you can read editorial pages of newspapers every morning, till the time you find one good book. For beginners Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is a good, easy and small book to begin with.

3. Writing: Writing is a yet another brain exercise; however, it is more tedious than the previous two. Writing is an output exercise wherein your brain is subjected to frame sentences properly out of the words you know and remember. Reading is going to take care of your vocabulary. Writing is as important as reading. It is a foundation stone for your speaking skill. You do not need to learn rules of grammar to make a grammatically correct sentence. All you can do is to purchase a fresh ordinary notebook and write about your day. You can register every event from morning to evening like, whom you met and what you did. You can also make a mention of what you are going to do tomorrow or day after. Contents are not important. What is important are your 10 minutes, you are going to spend with writing for rest of your life. These ten minutes, if repeated over and over for next five years only, you will end up in becoming a great author;

4. Speaking: You do not need to join any coaching institute to learn to speak English. Reading will help you in speaking followed by writing. All you need to do is to add another 10 minutes to your reading exercise and read loudly whatever you are reading. This will help you to articulate words correctly. If you are not able to pronounce words correctly you can always Google them out for correct pronunciation. You can also ask anyone you know around having good language skills. You shall also practice speaking by choosing any random topic and blurting out sentences without using paper. Repeating this over and over will make you speak better and faster with the time.

While making a checklist you can add these three activities to it and check them every time you finish each of these. There are many more soft skills, which you can learn. I wish you all the best with these and if Allah wills I will come back with some more soft skills in my next article. Till then: Practice Panther!

The author is an Advocate at the High Court , Jammu and Kashmir. He can be reached at: hussain@xeal.in