What Are Life Skills?

Have you ever wondered what are 21st-century life skills?

This article will help you know the answer.

Life skills improve people’s ability to deal with difficulties and growth possibilities in daily lives. These life skills aren’t entirely similar as work skills, even then they’re important in dealing with more complex life situations.

In 1999, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that:

“Life skills are flexible and constructive behaviour attributes that help people to manage well with the responsibilities and obstacles of daily life.”

(WHO, 1999)

What is the Need for Life Skills in the Twenty-First Century?

From employability and occupational viewpoint, life skills are relevant and important.

Work is not constrained by time or place. Due to the fast rise of internet technology and growing volume of knowledge, people can work and learn from any place at any time.

As a consequence, online technologies and multi-locational settings have impacted the way we work and learn. To make the most use of digital tools, we must be able to use them and build effective behavioural techniques.

Students must also …

  1. think deeply about problem areas,
  2. find solutions imaginatively,
  3. work collaboratively,
  4. communicate using a variety of media,
  5. take initiative,
  6. lead when appropriate.

At the same time, understand constantly changing technology, and deal with a deluge of information to hold information-age jobs.

Because of the big shifts in working patterns, students must be adaptive. They are expected to develop innovative useful techniques, products, services, and create new jobs.

In other words, changes in the twenty-first century necessitate pupils to have a mindset and abilities that enable them to grow.

Also read: Essay on Peer Pressure

What are Life Skills of the Twenty-First Century?

acronym for life skills
Acronym for life skills

1. Flexibility

Have you heard the tale of how grass bends in a storm and so survives, whereas the rigid large trees split and fall? Given our world’s quick pace of change, the capacity to modify and adapt is essential for success.

Students must learn to understand what is happening around them rapidly and adapt to the move. All the while, their objectives remain a focal point in the forefront of their minds.

This ability refers to adjustment to new events and handling them effectively while maintaining ethical and moral standards.

Adaptability refers to the ability to adjust in response to available data, changing circumstances, as well as finding solutions based on previous experiences and lessons learned.

Students must develop goals and use the information to find answers to problems. They must work together with their peers to not only produce but also evaluate something with a fresh outlook.

They must, in the end, share their effort with everyone.

2. Leadership

A leader …

  • defines goals,
  • guides a group through necessary processes
  • cooperatively achieves those goals

Furthermore, they take initiative and effectively manage a team. They solve problems in response to challenges. As a result, this experience prepares students to handle challenges as leaders.

Perseverance and commitment in leadership positions serve to create self-confidence. Additionally, it strengthens faith in one’s ability.

Students learn to become lifelong learners for the rest of their lives. They learn how to be responsible citizens while they contribute in making the world a better place.

If they choose to be followers, students would never have to acquire these abilities. They need to take on the role of teacher on occasion, and inquiry helps students to do so.

Students are also expected to demonstrate leadership in group initiatives. Good leaders have a combination of life skills.

Furthermore, students take effort and are productive. They learn to be adaptable as well as have good social skills.

In groups, students must define common goals and create a cooperative and emotionally comfortable environment. Leaders motivate others, recognize individual talents, and handle disagreements.

In collaborative efforts, students take lead to help each other in solving issues and bettering everybody’s performance.

life skills quote on growth mindset
life skills quote on growth mindset

3. Initiative

True success necessitates initiative, which requires a pupil’s intrinsic motivation. To completely flourish, pupils must develop this talent. This may be one of the most difficult abilities to master. But it’s not impossible.

Working on initiatives outside of usual working hours, planning actions, and conducting research are all examples of the initiative. Students learn to start projects on their own, be self-motivated, and find solutions to challenges.

Questioning, researching, planning, producing, improvising, and ultimately presenting the project are all examples of taking initiative.

Initiative is the heart of the entrepreneurial spirit. It is an output of willingness to take a chance on an idea and see it through to completion.

Students must know how to set objectives for themselves, plan how to achieve those goals, and then put their ideas into action.

When pupils are confident in their ability to design their course, they will jump right into the action. Students are more equipped to take initiative if they are taught the inquiry process. Teachers take a step back and let students take steps ahead.

Also read:  Humour books for kids by Indian authors

4. Productivity

Students must learn about productivity as part of their 21st-century skills. Productivity refers to a student’s capacity to accomplish tasks in a reasonable amount of time. There are more diversions now than there have ever been.

Students learn how to work best for themselves. They acquire an awareness of how others operate by actively studying productivity tactics.

This provides individuals with the tools they need to put their ideas into action. While implementing productivity strategies, students can take up projects that also need them to be adaptable, lead and take initiative.

Productivity refers to organizing one’s task and producing work logically and efficiently. Students must be held accountable and responsible for their work.

During bad times, the job market suffers. The employment market becomes even more competitive during difficult times.

Workers with inferior productivity are pushed out of the workforce. Students learn and form productive habits by employing the inquiry approach and managing projects.

Setting goals, planning tasks, and managing time are all necessary for productivity. Students conduct research, form cohesive connections, and assess their findings. They learn, adapt, and use what they have learnt in their assignments.

quote on reading books
Quote on reading books

5. Social Abilities

A professional’s social skills are critical for long-term success. The relationships that a person forms with those around them are commonly used in business. Some industries are more active in networking than others.

  • Good social skills are essential tools for building long-term relationships.
  • Tolerance of various cultures, persons, and situations are some of the key skills in the workplace.
  • Students must collaborate with their classmates and society in a diverse setting.
  • Humans have always been sociable creatures, forming bonds with and relying on their tribe.

While these ideas may have been implicit in previous generations, the emergence of social media and quick communication has transformed the way people connect.

People can now belong to several tribes thanks to technological advancements.

People can now be members of many communities, such as …

  • classmates at the same school,
  • Facebook friends,
  • LinkedIn colleagues,
  • fan sites,
  • forum sites and
  • players on online multiplayer online games,

… thanks to technological advancements.

Social skills are essential in all of these situations. On the other hand, whether students experience a face-to-face meeting or tweeting with thousands of strangers, there are people with genuine thoughts, feelings, and wants.

As workplaces become more collaborative, social skills are becoming increasingly important. Collaborating with others is the ideal route for pupils to acquire social skills.

Working together involves a shared set of objectives and interests. They must work together, build trust, and compromise.

Students need to be …

  • emotionally intelligent,
  • interact well,
  • coordinate their efforts, and
  • make inferences.

Criticism has a long history in human existence. Take criticism constructively, improvise, and complete assignments on time.


You now have a better understanding of the 21st-century life skills that kids must learn in addition to their textbook content-based education.

These life skills are important in academic situations, the workplace and society. Formal education should ideally combine content area instruction with the development of these 21st-century abilities.

For an immersive and collaborative learning, a range of tasks include ..

  • giving face-to-face and digital presentations,
  • conducting surveys, and interviews,
  • creating infographics,

… and many others are frequently assigned. Model making and preparing display charts aren’t the only things you may do as projects.

For real-world problems, surveying, developing, experimenting, debating, outreach initiatives, and other strategies are used. Projects are useful in resolving issues because they have a real-life context.

Integrating these life skills into schooling provides students with valuable skills for their personal and professional lives.

Further Reading Resources:

“21st century life skills implementation” by Semantic Scholar

“Teaching students to learn and to work well” by eric.ed.gov

What are life skills?” by k12 thoughtful learning

“What are 21st century skills?” by Applied Education Systems

“The twelve 21st century skills” by Ridgeview Charter School

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