The German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer once wrote that “the more a man has in himself, the less others can be to him.” In other words, it is competence that truly makes a man safe, not age or time.
Hence, as you approach certain milestones — like the age of 40 — there is a higher need to put a deliberate effort into evolving and improving yourself. These 20 skills are a great measuring stick for all of us. Check to see if you still have much to learn as you approach 40.
1. How to make a memorable toast
Have you ever been asked to give a toast but didn’t know what to say?
Whether it’s at a professional event or you’re the best man at your friend’s wedding, a great skill to have is the ability to make a great toast.
Here’s the thing: If you’re a man who is highly respected by others, there are going to be times when those around you will look up to you to make a toast. And being able to make one rightly shows grace.
You want to stand up, raise your glass, and say a few words that make everyone smile. One rule of thumb though is to make it brief — stay away from embarrassing stories. When you give a great toast that inspires other people, you will be remembered.
2. How to be an effective listener
As Robert Greene pointed out in his Laws of Human Nature,
“When an event occurs or when we meet a new person, we do not stop to consider all aspects or details, but instead we see an outline or pattern that fits into our expectations and past experiences.”
It takes a deliberate effort to be an effective listener. And though it’s a skill you should master as early as possible, you definitely should know how to do it as you approach 40. Being a good listener helps you become more productive, negotiate better, increase your influence, and get the right connection.
In social interactions, learn to listen to understand, not to reply. This doesn’t just help you avoid unnecessary conflict and misunderstanding with people, it also helps you get on the good side of most people, and this helps further broaden your connection in life.
Did you know that only 3% of people actually know how to perform CPR even though the majority of people understand its importance? About 9 in 10 people who have a cardiac arrest outside the hospital die because CPR wasn’t performed in the first few minutes of cardiac arrest.
Being able to render first aid to another person is an extremely valuable skill. It can help save the life of a friend, a family member, even a stranger. Plus, being able to perform CPR will make you more confident and useful when you come across emergencies.
4. How to drive a stick shift
The truth is, most cars nowadays are automatic. But this doesn’t matter. Besides the fun and the challenge of driving a stick shift, repairing a manual shift car is less expensive.
When you can drive an automatic and a manual car, you’re more prepared for any situation you might come across. For instance, if you travel overseas and you rent a car, most European cars are stick shift. You might also be in a situation where you’ll need to drive a drunk friend home in a manual car.
5. Parallel parking
There is a reason why parallel parking is often on a driving test. It allows you to park in much smaller spaces. And besides the fact that it stops you from dinging your car, learning parallel parking also stops you from frustrating other drivers. Furthermore, there are many times you have to know how to parallel park to find a parking space at all.