Hello Leader,

This Key explores three vital skills you did not learn in school and had to discover for yourself. Failing to master these skills brings more strife and pain than anything else. Proficiency in these three skills opens the door to tremendous well being and to actualizing your goals and realizing your hopes. As a parent, know that your children will need to discover these three capabilities for themselves, perhaps with your help, if you are available. We’ll be glad to hear from you with your comments. Please feel free to forward the Key to friends, family and associates.


Aviv Shahar

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Three Things You Did Not Learn In School

Back in the summer of 2002 our son completed 9th grade and was on target to attend Woodinville High School. On our annual summer hike, as we conversed about the challenges and opportunities of the next year, I said: “By all means excel in your studies and in the subjects you like. Just know that school with all its many good things is not going to teach you the three most vital skills that are a struggle and preoccupation for adults. You have to learn to manage these skills in this life if you are to be independent and free, and to succeed and thrive.”

Hiking the Pacific Northwest provided a great background for our conversation. The turns of the trail offered natural commas, periods and exclamation marks; the forest provided the cathedral of nature and the mountain lake we were heading toward made for a natural point of realization. We played the “Can you guess the three skills?” game and then zeroed in on them:

The three skills are:
First – Learn to manage your energy
Second – Learn to manage your relationships
Third – Learn to manage your money

I sought to be a good father preparing his son for the future and said: “School will not teach you these skills. You must discover for yourself how to best manage your energy; you have to find out how to build and hold relationships and you’ve got to learn to manage your money.”

Let’s see what areas of knowledge are included in each of these three skills:

First – To manage your energy you need to
1. know yourself.
2. understand your strengths and talents.
3. recognize your vulnerabilities and weaknesses.
4. use your body wisely.
5. manage your emotions.
6. discover what relaxes you and how to rest well.
7. appreciate what energizes you and gets you going.
8. identify what drains you and minimize its presence in your life.
9. discover what you enjoy and what helps you grow.
10. clarify your goals, aims and purpose.

Second – To manage your relationships you need to
1. learn to be a good listener.
2. build the capacity to appreciate another person’s viewpoint.
3. practice clear and eloquent communication.
4. seek to understand before you expect to be understood.
5. develop inter-personal effectiveness.
6. understand the anatomy of trust and how to build it.
7. cultivate emotional and social intelligence.
8. learn to say NO.
9. develop genuine interest in other people’s experience.
10. be an effective leader, a wise follower and a great collaborator.

Third – To manage your money you need to
1. understand the nature of money and your relationships with it.
2. appreciate the difference between “want” and “must” in all areas of life.
3. recognize that what matters is not how much you earn but how much you spend.
4. make a commitment to pay yourself first. Automatically save at least 10% of your income. If you can do more, do more.
5. build an emergency cushion of cash – three to six months expenses.
6. interview as many financial plan
ners as you need in order to find a trusted advisor. Make sure you understand what they say.
7. have a financial plan. Identify the best retirement account you can have and make the maximum contribution allowed.
8. simplify your life: automate your bills. Accelerate paying your mortgage payments.
9. be clear about the difference between good debt and bad debt. Don’t do bad debt.
10. understand the difference between working for money and money working for you. And remember the one you work for is waiting for you at home.

In an enlightened 21st century world youth would be coached in these three areas. Every 18-year-old needs to know how to handle and manage these three important currencies that will ultimately determine how much he or she can enjoy life:
1st – Energetic currency
2nd – Relational currency
3rd – Financial currency

Now it’s your turn. Turn the key. Be your own leader.

© Aviv Shahar

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