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Beyond The White and Black Boards - Sustainable Conversations
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Beyond The White and Black Boards

First off, Happy International Day of Education!

January 24, a day set aside by the United Nations General Assembly to honour education and its importance to the development of man and sustainable development. Education has been enshrined in the root of both personal and community developments. Its primary aim is to help all people develop their full potentials and also stir them to the realization of their creative abilities, including taking responsibility for their own lives and the wherewithal to give back to the society.

This article seeks to address the subject of education beyond garnering certificates. No doubt, acquiring certificates is noble as it gives one an edge to compete for a job role and possibly get hired. However, there are a lot of essential [soft and hard] life skills that guarantees growth and sustainability on the job. Most importantly, these skills keep one swimming against the tide –  unfortunately these skills are not taught in schools.

A few of these skills include the following but are not limited to:

  • Failing Skills. Schools do not reward its students for failure. They encourage and celebrate success but criticize failure. The unspoken reality is that, failure is a part of the growth system of life and one needs to master the art of failing gracefully. If one is aiming to venture into something new, failure is germane. Therefore, it is important to learn how to fall and get back up. Recent research recommend that parents should allow their wards imbibe the culture of accepting failure as a vital part of life from an early age so as to help them build up the emotional strength that would help them embrace failure later in life when the inevitable occurs.
  • Selling Skills. Everyone is selling – consciously or unconsciously. Most folks have a great misconception about selling and therefore go ahead to confuse selling with marketing; they think of selling in terms of, “Oh my… I have to show up door to door to advertise and possibly get monetary value in exchange for my product.” What an erroneous belief system because we are all salesmen and saleswomen. If one walks out on a shallow belief system and takes on a deeper reflection, it would be clear that selling happens every day – from the applicant, to the employees, the brand managers, all the way down to entrepreneurs; are all selling.
  • Social Capital Skills. Social Capital skills popularly referred to as Networking. There is a skill in life called ‘Social Capital’ and it refers to the people you know, the people who know you and how they know you. In simple terms, it is the act of establishing and nurturing mutually beneficial relationships that will be valuable in the short or long term. The most important asset in life is NOT a job, money or position; it is people. In the end, your network determines your net worth.
  • Negotiation Skills. Negotiation has since become a part of life. The educational sector does not teach one what to say when one has to negotiate for contracts, deals, salaries and/or other benefits but it has to be done because life has made it so. When this life skill has been mastered, it produces a win-win situation for the parties involved rather than a war or zero sum game.
  • Persuasion and Influencing Skills. Persuasion skills can be learnt just like any others, and they are a key part of being able to influence others in achieving set goals and objectives. The ‘Holy Grail’ of persuasion, then, is to get others buy into a particular idea. How? The fable of the sun and the wind is a great example: “The wind and the sun decided to have a competition to determine once and for all who was stronger. They agreed that the winner would be the one who could persuade a man to take off his coat. The wind blew and blew, but the man only held on more tightly to his coat. Then the sun shone gently down, and within minutes, the man took off his coat.” The moral here is that nobody forces someone to do what they do not want; instead, the art of persuasion is to get them to want what you want.

With the subject of Sustainability in mind alongside the perspective gleaned from this article, what other skills in addition to these should be on this list? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section. We’d love to read your thoughts.

Once again, Happy International Day of Education.

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