A response to a thread on Reddit, here are ten skills I think everyone should possess:
First: how to balance your budget. Note that I didn’t say “balance your checkbook,” because it’s 2014 and we have computers to do our math for us now. Sure, look over your statement (which you should be getting online) for errors, but come on.
By balancing your budget, I mean knowing how much money you have coming in, knowing how much money you have going out, and making sure the first number is bigger than the second. If you have a steady job, this is dirt simple. It might not be easy, because middle class wages are currently a joke and the cost of living is skyrocketing, but it isn’t complicated.
Ramit Sethi has a great post on how to automate your finances, which everyone should read and follow. Again assuming a steady job, there is no reason not to have your bills pay themselves, and automatically set money aside in savings.
Second: how to do your own laundry. This is simple and easy, and if you’ve lived your whole life with mommy washing your underwear, it’s time to grow the fuck up. The Art of Manliness has a lesson for all of you mamma’s boys out there.
Third: how to cook. You don’t have to be a master chef, but your list of recipes needs to be more extensive that “a cell phone and a credit card.” You only need to know a handful of dishes, maybe fifteen or so, and you can eat a different, healthy meal three times a day, every day, for a week. Tim Ferriss can help you pick up the skills you need.
Fourth: how to exercise. I know, you’re hot shit now, but trust me, some day, maybe some day soon, you aren’t going to be able to drink a fifth of whiskey, eat Taco Bell, pull an all nighter, and hit the next day running. Your knees are going to start to hurt. Your belly is going to go from “cute paunch” to “Jesus what the fuck happened to me?” Your stomach is going to start violently objecting to the calorie-dense, nutrient poor, semi-solid masses you currently refer to as “food.” So do yourself a favor, lift weights, stretch, and get your heart racing every once in a while.
Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength is the best program for people new to weightlifting, bar none. Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 is a great program for more experienced people. Bike Sprints will keep your heart working for the long hual. If you’re pressed for time, Tabata will kick your ass in four minutes flat. Kino MacGregor will teach you the basics of Yoga, and if that’s too girly for you, hearing Diamond Dallas Page scream namaste motherfucker! might be more up your alley.
My recommendation: lift weights twice a week, and end the session with a five 30-seconds bike sprints, then do some kind of bodyweight/yoga work three days a week.
Fifth: how to back up your computer. Everything lives on our laptops now, and if your hard drive crashes, you’re screwed. If you’re an Apple fanboy, you already have Time Machine installed on your computer; just hook up an external hard drive. If you’re a dirty Windows user, Crashplan is probably your best bet. If you’re using Linux, you don’t need my advice.
Sixth: how to use your mouth. Public Speaking is one of the most common, most debilitating fears. If you can speak confidently in public, people will think you’re some kind of wizard, and shower you with love, money, affection, and sexual favors.
Eighth: how to argue. Your friends, family, and lovers are going to piss you off, because people suck. You are going to piss off your friends, family, and lovers, because you suck, too. Don’t keep that shit bottled up. Fight. Fight quick, fight fair, and fight to heal. Here are some tips.
Ninth: how to not get pregnant. Maybe you want to never sleep and dedicate all of your finances to diapers and formula, but personally, I like to stay up late, get up at noon, and blow obscene amounts of cash on alcohol and cars. No glove, no love, folks.
Tenth: how to think critically. The world is full of people trying to put one over on you. Marketers. Newscasters. Con men. Swindlers. Politicians. Bosses. That girl you met at the bus station last night who is a little trashy but still kinda hot and she’s totally gonna bang you but first she needs to borrow a hundred dollars. Don’t let someone else do your thinking for you.