The Most Underrated Skills of All Time

In today's fast-paced world, certain undervalued skills hold the key to transformative success. Imagine effortlessly solving complex problems, making insightful decisions, and connecting deeply with others by mastering the art of asking the right questions, increasing self-awareness, embracing technology, understanding macroeconomic trends, and honing effective communication. Our guide reveals how to develop these essential skills and why they matter. Accelerate your journey with the Evolve #YouDoYou Program, providing the tools and support you need to thrive—sign up now and unlock your potential.

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The 5 Most Underrated Skills You Need to Cultivate to Continuously Evolve

In today’s fast-paced, ever-changing world, certain skills remain undervalued despite their immense potential to enhance personal and professional lives. These skills are often overshadowed by more conventional competencies, yet they hold the key to unlocking deeper understanding, efficiency, and success. Let’s delve into the five most underrated skills and discover how you can start honing them today.

1. Asking the Right Questions

The ability to ask insightful questions is a powerful tool that drives learning, problem-solving, and innovation. Research from Harvard Business School emphasizes that asking good questions not only stimulates new ideas but also fosters strong interpersonal connections and encourages deeper thinking (Garvin, 2013). 

Practical Example: Consider a team meeting where problems persistently go unresolved. Instead of offering solutions, try asking, “What assumptions are we making about this issue?” This question can unveil overlooked factors and lead to more effective solutions.

Getting Started: Practice curiosity in everyday conversations. Aim to ask open-ended questions that provoke thought and exploration over closed-ended questions or ones that make you look smarter than you really are. For instance, instead of asking, “Did you finish the project?” try “What challenges did you encounter with the project?” The former bids for a yes or no answer, whereas the latter pokes from a place of curiosity that can connect and uncover an interesting challenge faced, and how a colleague overcame that revealing a skillset you could apply in a future scenario that has parallels.

2. Increasing Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is the foundation of emotional intelligence, which is crucial for personal growth and effective leadership. It’s wild how few people truly have and continue to cultivate the fundamental pillars of self-awareness required to constantly learn about themselves.. A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that individuals with high self-awareness make better decisions and have healthier relationships (Vazire & Carlson, 2010). Where there is humility and a practice of reflection, there are always golden nuggets of self-awareness waiting to be unveiled that will help you connect with others at a deeper level.

Practical Example: A manager (or parent) who understands their stress triggers can proactively manage their responses, creating a more supportive and productive work (family) environment. A more supportive and/or productive environment goes a long way for all of our central nervous systems, enabling us to reduce unwarranted chronic stress we tend to inherent as a result of grossly unaware, and meagerly self-regulated individuals.

Getting Started: Begin a daily reflective practice, such as journaling or mindfulness meditation. This helps you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, leading to greater self-understanding. Or better yet, hire an Evolve coach or therapist to help you flag your blind spot in a constructive and meaningful way that helps you integrate these skills into your day-to-day.

3. Technology Skills

In an era dominated by digital transformation, technology skills are indispensable across all industries. The World Economic Forum highlights that technological proficiency is vital for career advancement and organizational success (WEF, 2020). Without developing and continuing to cultivate technology skills and competencies, there will eventually come a time when the industry will have to choose between those who have learned to get familiar with and have skills with tech and those who haven’t. The probability of needing the latter is minimal. Don’t let this be you! Think of tech instead of an evil, scary thing… as an ally to enhance the skills you already have.

Practical Examples: An employee proficient in data analysis tools can identify business trends and insights, leading to better strategic decisions and competitive advantage. A partner who is more skilled at navigating their spreadsheets and SaaS tools to manage their finances will bring more certainty than one who is holding a sock of pennies in their sock drawer.

Getting Started: Enroll in online courses that cover essential technologies relevant to your field. Platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and LinkedIn Learning offer courses ranging from basic computer literacy to advanced programming, all of which are incredible at giving you a positive net ROI on your time in, for-skill output ratio. Invest in the future you!

4. Macroeconomic Awareness

Understanding the broader economic environment can significantly impact personal finance and business strategy. According to a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, macroeconomic awareness helps individuals and businesses make informed decisions regarding investments, employment, and strategic planning (Kumar & Schechter, 2019). It’s noticeable when I come across someone who is unaware of the economies and how they work in comparison to one who is familiar, aware, and leveraging their awareness to create a better world for themselves and/or others. When you’re more aware of how macro and microeconomics work, you can make better choices. Those better choices compound significantly over time to create a positive life for you, your family, and those you care about. Certainly something worth considering now.

Practical Examples: A business owner aware of inflation trends can adjust pricing strategies to maintain profitability without alienating customers. A mom whose aware of the demand and supply curve with blueberries might hold off buying them in the convenience store in the peak demand of the season, when prices are comparatively high as opposed to when they’re super low. Those extra 6 bucks go a long way over the course of the season.

Getting Started: Follow reputable economic news sources and read introductory books on macroeconomics. Regularly review reports from organizations like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Federal Reserve, and take into account the resources available to you to look at month-to-month prices over time with your favorite commodities. Do a Google search about the topic and follow the rabbit hole that your intuition pulls you to.

5. Effective Communication

While often taken for granted, effective communication is essential for collaboration and conflict resolution. A study in the Journal of Business and Technical Communication demonstrates that clear and empathetic communication enhances team performance and job satisfaction (Men, 2015). Not only does this skill help us in our careers, but it also helps with our interpersonal relationships, friendships, family dynamics, holiday parties – you name it. Where there’s a person involved, you have the ability to improve your effective communication skills to connect with them in a way that’s more meaningful to you.

Practical Examples: A project leader who communicates expectations clearly and listens actively to feedback can prevent misunderstandings and foster a cooperative team environment. A friend who establishes a healthy boundary with his codependent hyper-aggressive mother, leveraging his non-violent communication skills (NVC) he learned by listening to Evolve Ventures Podcast, or by attending Evolves’ monthly live virtual Out of the Mud (OOTM) events.

Getting Started: Practice active listening by fully focusing on the speaker, reflecting on what is said, and responding thoughtfully. Additionally, work on refining your verbal and written communication skills through workshops and feedback from respected and skilled peers. Get feedback from your Evolve coach, consultant, or therapist for your unique situation to help with your real-life experiences.

Closing Thoughts

Cultivating these underrated skills can transform your personal and professional life, leading to deeper insights, better decisions, and more meaningful connections. To begin your journey of skill enhancement, consider joining the Evolve #YouDoYou Program. This comprehensive program is designed to help you develop these crucial skills through targeted workshops, expert guidance, and practical exercises in an extremely affordable way.

Sign up now and take the first step towards becoming a more insightful, self-aware, technologically adept, economically informed, and highly skilled communicative individual. Embrace the opportunity to evolve and thrive with the Evolve #YouDoYou Program.

Before you know it, times will change and you do NOT want to get stuck on the other side of the growth curve. You’ve got this and we’re here for you to help you evolve.

What are you waiting for? Write down one thing you can do to evolve your current skill that makes YOU a more valuable individual in the future.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from the incredible movie, Avatar: The Way of Water, to help you reflect on how critical it is to have purpose and the underlying skillsets to be able to serve a purpose now, and in service to the future that awaits you:

Teach them our ways, so they do not suffer the shame of being useless.”

Keep evolving friends,

Emilia

References

Garvin, D. A. (2013). How the Best Leaders Ask the Right Questions. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from [HBR](https://hbr.org/2013/07/how-the-best-leaders-ask-the-right-questions)

Kumar, A., & Schechter, L. (2019). Understanding the Macro Environment: Economic Insights for Business Planning. Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Retrieved from [Dallas Fed](https://www.dallasfed.org/research)

Men, L. R. (2015). The Effects of Organizational Leadership on Strategic Internal Communication and Employee Outcomes. Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 29(2), 195-222.

Vazire, S., & Carlson, E. N. (2010). Self-Knowledge of Personality: Do People Know Themselves? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98(2), 281-300.

World Economic Forum. (2020). The Future of Jobs Report. Retrieved from [WEF](https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-future-of-jobs-report-2020)

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