- Things to do before you turn 50 include providing mentorship to someone else, learning how to detect a lie, and tempering your expectations around relationships.
- We put together a list of nine skills you should master by the time you enter your sixth decade of life, based on science, expert opinion, and other sources.
- Each one will help you become the very best version of yourself.
Approaching midlife can be scary.
One thing that makes it scarier is feeling like you haven’t accomplished all the life stuff you set out to in your teens or 20s. We’re not talking about climbing Kilimanjaro (though that certainly would be cool) – we’re talking about becoming the happiest, healthiest, all-around best person you can be.
To that end, we’ve put together a list of all the skills you’ll want to master by the time your 50th birthday rolls around. Read on and see which ones you’ve yet to tackle.
By this point in your life, you’ve probably amassed a ton of knowledge about your career. Take the opportunity to share that wisdom with someone else – whether they’re younger or whether they work in another field.
It can be a formal mentorship, but doesn’t necessarily have to be. Leadership experts recommend finding a peer mentor or a “leadership buddy” with whom you regularly exchange feedback and advice. That way, you both benefit from the relationship.
To err is human. But to apologise is not something that comes naturally to everyone.
According to marketing communications professional Kerry O’Malley, the steps to a successful apology at work include acting quickly, showing up in person, explaining what happened and how you’re going to avoid the problem in the future, saying “I’m sorry,” and making restitution.
Not only will apologizing help the person who was offended forgive you; it may also help soothe your guilty conscience,Real Simple reports.
Spending time alone
Close relationships are important for health and happiness. So is solitude. You don’t always want to be in the company of other people, real or virtual.
As Cal Newport, an associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University, wrote for Business Insider, alone time allows you to “process and regulate complex emotions.” Plus, it affords you the opportunity to do what Newport calls “deep work,” the kind that requires deep concentration and focus.
Detecting a lie
On Reddit, Mr_Mouthbreather cites “being able to detect bulls–t” as a life skill everyone should know.
Business Insider’s Áine Cain and Rachel Gillett put together a list of ways to know if someone is lying to you, including: the person may share too much information, or the person covers vulnerable body parts.
These signs don’t mean the person is definitely lying, but they should put you on the alert.
Tempering your relationship expectations
Maybe you’ve been in a relationship for years, or maybe you’re just starting out with someone new. Either way, it helps to know that your romantic (and sex) life won’t always be peachy keen.
According to Dr. Ruth Westheimer, better known simply as Dr. Ruth, the most common relationship problem she sees is people having unrealistic expectations.
“Hollywood and the movies tell us that the stars have to be twinkling every night,” Westheimer told Business Insider. “That’s not reality of life.”
To be sure, Westheimer isn’t advocating low expectations for relationships or sex lives. Her philosophy? It’s important “to be realistic, but to still have hope.”
Life is stressful – that’s a given. Stress management is less about getting rid of things to worry about than it is about learning to handle those worries well.
The world’s most successful people have figured this out already. For example, Bill Gates reads before bed; Warren Buffett plays the ukulele; Sheryl Sandberg simply turns off her phone at night.
Other effective ways to manage stress include focusing on what you can control and staying aware of what typically stresses you out.
Speaking up for yourself
This is an essential skill for any adult, AuroraLux writes on Reddit.
According to Adam Galinsky, a professor of business at the Columbia Business School, one way to get what you want is to see things from another person’s perspective. “When you think about what the other person wants, they’re more likely to give you what you want,” Galinsky said in a TED Talk.
Another tool is asking people for advice, so they become your allies. A third tool is tapping into your passion, so you seem like an expert when you speak and so other people are more inclined to listen to you.
Listening without talking
“You don’t have to talk as soon as the other person’s finished,” weareallnone writes on Reddit.
It might be tempting to gush about your own experiences – and you probably have many interesting ones. But a solid life skill is learning how to be patient and let your conversation partner take the stage. In fact, that’s a good trick to make people like you.
Working with someone you don’t like
An anonymous redditor says this is an essential skill that everyone should know.
Researchers say there are different personality types in the workplace, and some are more likely to clash than others. Having an entire office take a personality test and discuss the results is one path to understanding, but there are other strategies to avoid conflict in the office.
As Business Insider’s Ashley Lutz reported, you can deal with a bossy coworker by telling the person that you’re busy working on something the boss assigned you and then ignoring the person if they pop up again. And you can deal with a loud coworker simply by asking politely for the person to keep it down.
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