What’s The Most Valuable Skill That Can Be Learned In 30 Minutes Or Less?

Not all important life skills require a lifetime of learning! What valuable skills have you learned in 30 minutes or less that have improved your life? I’ll go first!

To start the list off, I’ll share my top 3 favorites:

  • Learn To Recognize and Respond To Other People’s Body Language
  • This might be the single most valuable skill I have ever learned. It is absolutely incredible how much humans communicate without words. Learning to recognize and react to this has helped me with dating, financial negotiations, hiring, firing and public speaking. The basics are easy to understand (you already understand them subconsciously) and can be used to your advantage quickly. By far, the best book on the topic is: What Every BODY is Saying (Joe Navarro & Marvin Karlins). You don’t need to read the whole book to see the benefits, your “Aha Moments” will start in the first several chapters.

  • Learn To Stop Talking and Listen
  • This is the most valuable skill that I wish others would learn. I am yet to meet another person who couldn’t do a better job of this (myself included!). Counterintuitively, talking is easy, listening is hard. Some of my biggest breakthroughs in life have come when I have wised up and stopped talking long enough to listen and learn something.

  • Open A Beer With an Edge
  • This one sounds stupid but might actually be the most practical one of the group :-p I have lost count how many times I have used a countertop or lighter to open a beer. It is a small thing but makes a big difference when used at the right moment. Life Hacker has a guide here.

Obviously, That Is Not All! (See The Comments)

What valuable skills have you learned in 30 minutes or less that have improved your life? Vote and add your suggestions in the comments.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Here is my runner up :-p It is not exactly a skill (more like a life hack) but still pretty darn useful!

  • Here is another candidate. The Rule of Thirds. This simple skill vastly improved my photography:

    Additional info at: http://digital-photography-school.com/rule-of-thirds/

  • leighshulman

    I was going to say your #2. Not talking and listening are so important. I recently started not talking as much during my regular day. I let my kids say what they want, and I just sit there listening to them. I’d love to see if I can keep it going for a day or longer.

    As for how to learn something in half an hour… Here’s my quick Photoshop lesson. Open a new document or photo. If an empty doc, go to the tools, choose the paint brush (when you hold your cursor over the tool, a pop up window tells you what it is.). Then just paint as you would normally. Play around with the different brush sizes.

    Then go to Filters. (If you have a regular photo, skip the brushes and go straight to Filters) Try them out and see what you get. It’s always quite amazing. Some of the filters of photos make some really crazy art.

    • Leigh, I don’t think I have explicitly said it yet. You are a hero :-) I would have never thought of Photoshop as being a quick skill (although it is certainly valuable!) I am going to go play with brushes now :-p

  • Jim Mikes

    I have an easy one! Learn to meditate. The basics are quick to learn and will result in a lifetime of value!

    • Brilliant! That should have been one of the first ones to come to mind. Maybe if I meditated on it… :-p

  • Amanda Collins

    Learn the standardized phonetic alphabet! (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie…). Imagine all of the back and forth that can be avoided on future phone calls (B as in Bet… Did you say V as in Vet?? No, B!)

    The full alphabet list is here for easy studying: http://www.air-force.com/info/alphabet

  • Sarah Fue

    lol, I like this thread! Might make for some good weekend projects.

    My addition is Learn to Whistle. Not just a tune but that loud kind where you get everybody’s attention in the room. You might not use it often, but when you do, it will be very valuable!

  • Rick

    Learn to tie a tie! Practical and easy!

  • Jake Mud

    This one is nerdy but I use it all of the time. Learn to print anything as a PDF.

    Mac: http://osxdaily.com/2010/05/21/how-to-print-to-pdf-in-mac-os/

    Windows: http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/print-pdf-windows-7-8/

  • Ian Lauth

    But what about opening a beer with ANOTHER BEER

    • That is fun and works but then you run into the six pack problem where you have five open beers and a closed one. That is when you need the Edge trick. There are worse problems to have :-p

    • Careful bud!

  • Lauren Diana Scalf

    This is great! I could think of sooo many things…

    I think learning how to cook one simple, easy recipe really well. Even if it’s just spaghetti and canned sauce with your special twist. You can then entertain friends, impress a date, or cook for your mom for once. Or just feed yourself something decent every now and then :)

    Going to keep an eye on this! Good stuff!!! I totally agree on 1 & 2. Those are both things I’ve been really trying to improve on.

    • That one should be first on everyone’s list! Really smart addition Lauren :-)

  • Mike Rowe

    You could try a test..

  • Mike Rowe2

    This is a a second wondering.

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