7 Mind-Expanding Skills to Learn Before You Turn 30
I am one to believe that education has no price.
Your skillset (and how you use it) directly determines the impact you have on the world.
Zuckerberg and the Collison brothers’ skill was computer code.
Edison’s skill was engineering.
JK Rowling’s skill was writing.
Picasso’s skill was to paint.
Leonardo da Vinci’s skill was…about everything.
Each of these people revolutionized the world because of what they could do.
They weren’t born knowing their craft. They learned it.
You too can learn a skill that will have a long-lasting positive impact on your life.
The question is: which one should you learn?
Without any further ado, here are 7 skills you should learn before you turn 30.
1. Learn a Foreign Language (Other Than English)
So many people speak English nowadays that knowing English as a second language is nothing special anymore.
When I went to Australia in 2013 to learn English, students in my class were from South-America, Europe, and Asia.
Today there isn’t a single European at the English school anymore because learning English has become common – and let’s be honest, free through media content.
As such, it’s time for you to learn a second foreign language (or first, if your native language is English). This will keep your brain flexible and open your mind a bit more to the different meanings and interpretations of the world.
The strong contenders are obviously Spanish and French, but I’d have a closer look at Italian, German and Portuguese.
Dutch can be quite interesting if you don’t want to make the effort to learn German.
Should you be more interested in Asian cultures, have a look at Japanese and Korean.
Whichever you choose, learning a foreign language never is a waste of time. It is in fact, one of the most important skills you could develop.
You will be able to monetize it and actually use it.
2. Learn CSS and HTML
One day I woke up and realized I had no computer skills. I didn’t know how the internet worked.
I was using websites every day, but I didn’t know how to make them.
This thought deeply disturbed me. The same day, I signed up for a free computer science course on edx.org. Then, enrolled in an introductory HTML and CSS (two easy types of computer codes) course to learn the basics of coding.
For a month, I worked on my computer skills.
These two courses completely shifted my mindset regarding solving concrete problems.
Trained in social sciences, I was taught to define problems as they were and speculate on how they would evolve and where they would go. We learned to explore the causes and consequences of social phenomenons.
Teachers asked us “why is this happening” and “where does that lead us?” We knew where we were from an intellectual point of view and wondered where we were going.
Computer scientists (and engineers, I later found out), think completely the other way around. They are not asked to define where they are, but where they want to go.
They don’t ask “where are we going”, but “how do we get there”. They’re not searching for the destination, but for a path to reach it.
Code works similarly. You know where you want to end up, and need to find a way to get there.
This completely shifted my mind about how I thought about the things I wanted.
I evolved from wondering what was the significance of my desires to thinking about how I could reach them.
Technology and code are present everywhere nowadays. It is important to understand the language machines speak if we hope to better communicate with them.
3. Learn to Travel by Yourself
Many people are uncomfortable about the idea to travel by themselves.
They’re scared to be alone, they fear potential problems that could arise on their way, or they just don’t know “how to do it”.
While traveling alone is not complicated, it is a skill to acquire through practice. It is, furthermore, highly valuable!
What traveling alone really teaches you is how to care for yourself in an unknown environment.
Where to buy and cook food you have never seen before? How to ensure you’ll have a bed to sleep in tonight? How to meet new people, and what to say? How to find activities to do? How to move from one place to another?
At first trivial, these questions end up being fairly difficult to solve once you can’t find any bus, train, or Blablacar to reach the desired situation, for example.
Traveling alone further teaches you about who you are and how you react in unknown or difficult situations. It reinforces your confidence and self-esteem and opens your mind to different ways of thinking and living.
Three skills are fairly important in the modern world.
Ultimately, it also reminds you that there is no place like home.
4. Learn Basic Finance and Accounting
Money is important.
While a lot of money will not necessarily make your life happier, a lack of money will surely make your life miserable.
Despite what hippies will say, you can’t do anything if you don’t have any money. Worse. You’re entirely dependent on other people for food and shelter.
Knowing how money works is therefore important. You should gain a basic understanding of what an investment is, how the stock market works, how currencies work, how bitcoin works and why it is a revolutionary idea, how inflation and deflation work, what’s the difference between bonds and stocks, what is the role of a central bank and what does an increase or decrease of the interest rate means for the economy.
You should also understand the basics of accounting. You should know the difference between asset, liability, and equity. You should understand the principle behind depreciation.
If you know these, you will already be way ahead of the average citizen. This will prevent you from making detrimental financial decisions (like I have) where you lose all of your money.
These skills will also help you if you decide to create a company, invest in stocks, or buy a house.
5. Learn to Play a Music Instrument
Ideally, you should have learned music as a kid because playing music considerably develops the brain and increases intelligence.
But well, it is never too late to start, isn’t it!
Playing music is both nice for you and others. Furthermore, learning how music is written is like learning another language. It expands your mind and opens new creative dimensions.
You won’t probably become the next Mozart, but being able to gather an audience playing on a public piano is worth every penny and effort invested into learning music.
6. Learn to Think for Yourself
The media, your friends, your parents, the radio, your boss, your colleagues, TV, movies, songs, and books tell you all day long what you should do with your life and how you should think.
None of them have it right, because none of them are significantly successful.
The best thing you can do in our society where people act according to how their colleagues’ act, is to think for yourself.
Thinking for yourself enables you to free yourself from the competition and beat your own path. It enables you to see events, phenomenons, and tendencies no one else sees.
It also frees you from the dependency to listen to someone else to have an opinion on topics that matter.
There probably is no bigger shortage in our current society than people that think for themselves.
While this skill is placed 6th on the list, it is the most important of them all.
7. Learn How Nutrition Works
Nutrition is important because you become what you eat. Not metaphorically, but literally. Your body is made out of blocks that it assembles to repair and build itself from the food you eat.
If you eat garbage, you become garbage. If you eat muscle, you become muscle. If you eat vegan, you become malnourished.
As simple as that.
There is a lot of ideologies and tensions around diets after vegans had an excellent idea to politicize the topic.
There is, however, nothing to politicize. Nutrition is not an opinion.
It is science.
And disregarding what mainstream media has to say about veganism, all of the work that has already been researched and published is unanimous.
Veganism is unhealthy and meat (especially offal) is by far the most nutrient-dense food there is.
Our digestive system was designed to eat animal products (particularly red meat) which on top of being indispensable for our health, does not contain an ounce of sugar, the very first (and often unique) cause of about 90% of all modern diseases.
There are enough articles on the blog about nutrition so I’ll leave you to them.
For me, fixing my diet has changed my life and I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t entirely given up sugar.
Learn how nutrition works. It won’t only improve your life.
It’ll save it.