3 Life Skills That Are Difficult to Learn but Will Pay Off Forever

Life in your 20s and 30s can leave you feeling confused, exhilarated, and in desperate need of some sort of all-knowing guidebook to decipher all that life throws at you. This is especially true when it comes to some of life’s most fruitful lessons, which may masquerade themselves as intimidating, seemingly insurmountable challenges. In an effort to declutter what is often an indecipherable road map, we’re breaking down the life skills that are, admittedly, difficult to master but extremely rewarding once you do so. With the help of Business Insider, here are three complex yet essential life skills well worth your time and effort:

You may think you mastered this life skill in elementary school, but you’d be surprised to find how many full-grown adults still struggle with listening—especially in the workplace. “Most of us … are so overwhelmed with things to do—instant messaging, phones ringing. I mean, our brain can only tolerate so much information before it snaps,” said Nicole Lipkin, author of What Keeps Leaders Up at Night, as quoted by Business Insider. Lipkin recommends actively listening to the ideas of those around you, instead of only focusing on voicing your own. “It makes things so much easier when everyone is on the same page,” she said.

This important life skill may come naturally as a child but takes active concentration and awareness as an adult. “People are less happy when they’re mind-wandering [rather than focusing on the present], no matter what they’re doing,” said happiness researcher Matt Killingsworth as quoted by Business Insider. Killingsworth claims that around 47% of the time, people are thinking about something other than what they’re currently doing—a mind-set that can impede feelings of happiness.

Believe it or not, this third life skill was not plucked straight out of a self-help book. It will, however, come in handy once you realize that teen years spent fishing for compliments yield little in the way of actual self-confidence. “Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what others think of you,” writes Quora user Shobit Singhal when reflecting on the importance of positive self-talk. “What you think of yourself certainly does, and it takes time to build that level of confidence and ability to believe in yourself when nobody else does.”

What important life skill would you add to this list? Share your experience below, and test out this app to remain present and positive in your day-to-day life.