What are some skills that everyone should have by the time they’re 30 and how can they be mastered?

Answer by Deepak Mehta:

This is a problematic question as it treats the entire population segment above 30 (40-50% of the world population) as one entity.

There are huge differences in people across the world. For people on the lowest rung in the economic spectrum, survival and foraging 2 meals a day would be of utmost importance.

So, let's assume you are talking about the average middle class person with a decent job and a stable income, sufficient educational qualifications and enough resources at his/her disposal to not worry about food, clothing, shelter etc thus having time to focus on other higher order needs.

(Sample set: People over 30; with their psychological needs taken care of)

Skills "everyone" should have:
1. Cooking
Should actually be taught in schools as part of the curriculum. Cooking isn't a job as most people think. Neither is it too hard a skill to acquire. All you need is a few lessons in the basics, knowledge of the important spices, condiments and seasonings used and a good sense of taste and smell.

I have seen people surviving only on restaurant food or fast food when their spouse is away or if their maid is on leave. All they need is to learn how to cook a few basic meals.

Some people complain it is time consuming. It is not. Like any other acquired skill, it will take you longer to make a meal in the beginning, but as you practice more, you can streamline the process and make it more efficient. When I started out, it would take me anywhere between 1-1.25 hours to make a simple meal. Now it takes me less than 20 minutes. I have a rough algorithm to categorize, prioritize and schedule the various activities.

I started out by learning the very basic of cooking an Indian meal – rice, dal, chapattis and a few veggies. Now I have expanded my platter to include non veg preparations (multiple varieties of chicken, mutton, fish, prawns, eggs and bacon), Italian food (pasta, pitabread, , desserts (gulab jamun, porridge, cake, cheesecake etc), breakfast (pancakes, fruit juice etc).

There are a host of websites and apps that are extremely helpful.

2. Driving
One should know the basics of how to drive a 2 wheeler as well as a 4 wheeler. Less expensive than renting a taxi on a vacation. Useful in case of emergencies.

3. Money management
Everything we do is to earn more money. However, with the same amount of money, you can save more and get higher returns if you are judicious.

Know about:

  • Good and safe investments
  • Do not get a credit card
  • Learn about the basics of investing in the stock market (and never get too greedy)
  • The basic tax laws and how you can effectively minimize your tax liability by a mix of investments
  • How to plan your budget and track your income and expenses
  • How to get the best out of a deal (bargains, cheapest prices, eBay etc)

4. Ability to strike up interesting conversations
Conversation-making is probably the most underrated skill. People spend a lot of time travelling and/or waiting. Why not utilize it to talk to the guy/girl next to you? Do it, they won't bite.

What you get out of it?

  • An interesting acquaintance for life (and probably a friend)
  • Stories and insights from a stranger (everyone has one)
  • 30 minutes well spent
  • A good laugh maybe
  • Business connections

As a shy person, I always found it difficult. But one day I decided I would take the plunge and see what happens. That day, I had one of the most interesting conversations with a stranger during the train journey. The other person had tales of his youth (years before I was even born) to tell, a few heart-wrenching personal accounts and some wonderful life advice.

So instead of asking a question, "What life advice would a 60-year old share with 20-year olds?" on Quora, go out and talk to a 60-year old.

5. Basic survival training
Imagine you are in an accident or a crash. Your chances of survival will solely depend on how well you can analyze the situation and use everything at your disposal to help you live and get out.

What you should know?

  • Knowledge of plants and animal – edible, poisonous
  • Knowledge of the major ecological spheres – forests, oceans, deserts, snowy mountains.
  • How to conserve water
  • How to build a shelter
  • How to build some basic weapons
  • A good signalling mechanism
  • How to avoid predators

6. A secondary marketable skill
What if you were an investment banker and suddenly found yourself without a job after the 2007 crisis?

Always have a backup. What else can you do except for trading and valuations? Can you code? Can you design something? Can you write? Can you work as a salesperson?

You should always have a secondary skill you can earn with. You might not be as adept at it, the industry might not be as well paying, but it will still save your skin in times of need.

7. Basic working knowledge of essential tools and technologies
Know how to use a cellphone, a computer, a scanner, how to fix a broken equipment or a stalled car, a wrench, a bow and arrow etc.

Apart from the above, other useful skills could be:

  1. Emergency medical training (CPR etc)
  2. Sign language
  3. Basic grasp on the major languages in the world – English, Spanish, Mandarin, Hindi
  4. Programming
  5. Self defence

I will leave you with a quote from Robert A. Heinlein.

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
-Robert A. Heinlein

What are some skills that everyone should have by the time they're 30 and how can they be mastered?

What are the top ten things I should experience in life?

Answer by Siddharth R Kodwani:

  1. Rent a Luxurious car you cannot afford to buy. Drive it like you own it. Go to some expensive restaurants and enjoy the whole day like you are a millionaire. Next morning, go to some silent place(I would prefer with my girlfriend) and observe the sunrise. You will understand the real worth of your life.
  2. Try being a traveler rather than a tourist. Go some place you always wanted to go. ( Me? Greenland to see Aurora!)
  3. Come out of your comfort zone. Do something you never tried or something you are not good at. Worst scenario, you will fail. But you have a hell of a story to share with people (or impress them).
  4. Achieve a state of mind where you are not afraid of failure. That's like attaining MOKSHA in real life.
  5. To achieve no.4, you need to fail really hard at something and make a come back.
  6. Say YES when everyone said No and prove them you are right. Despite Democracy, you can be a KING (To those who said NO!)
  7. Help a stranger with no intention of favor in return. Generosity earns you a huge amount of Respect.
  8. Gather some courage you need to resign from your job and do what you actually always wanted to do.
  9. Surprise your loved ones once in a while and capture their expressions. That's what purity of emotions look like.
  10. I cannot think of something for number 10 but you can always try to get first 1000's of upvotes on your answer here at Quora. I felt amazing when I experienced it for the first time.

What are the top ten things I should experience in life?

What should every person be knowledgeable about or be proficient in by the age of 20?

Answer by Deepak Mehta:

20 is a milestone age for most. It's the time when you are no longer a teen and not yet a complete adult. You are most likely to still be in college. However, all that will be in constant flux in the next 3-4 years where you have to decide on your career choices, get a job, start earning (and saving), and being independent in the truest sense of the word.

Let's break down the things one need to know when they are 20 into basic survival traits and the 3 major spheres of life – personal, social and professional (I have taken this partly from my post. You can check it out too if you like although it does have things you need not know before 20, but later on) (Links have been underlined):

A. Survival and self-sufficiency

  1. Cooking
    Face it, this should be taught in school. If you can't cook, you are dependent on others – your maid, your spouse, your local restaurants. What if it is late night and you are alone? Where will you be when hunger strikes? (:P). Stop thriving on easy-to-eat food.
    (Get started , Website, Android app)
  2. Budgeting and managing your expenses
  3. Basic survival skills
    Imagine you are in an accident or a crash. Your chances of survival will solely depend on how well you can analyze the situation and use everything at your disposal to help you live and get out.

    What you should know?

    • Knowledge of plants and animal – edible, poisonous
    • Knowledge of the major ecological spheres – forests, oceans, deserts, snowy mountains.
    • How to conserve water
    • How to build a shelter
    • How to build some basic weapons
    • A good signalling mechanism
    • How to avoid predators
      (All the above and more)
  4. Self-defense
    The world can be a nasty place sometime. Know how to protect yourself and your loved ones if ever the need arises. (A good starting point)
    Enroll yourself in a self-defense class. Have some basic training in martial art form. Build up your strength and agility.
  5. Learn how to jump-start a car
  6. How to set up a camp
  7. How to make a fire without matches
  8. Emergency skills

B. Professional career

  1. Know how to build a good resume (Resume tips 1, Resume tips 2, Resume tips 3)
  2. How to apply for jobs and increase your chances of selection (Reading)
  3. How to make a good first impression (Reading)
  4. How to make good connections at work (Reading)
  5. Have a secondary marketable skill
    What if you were an investment banker and suddenly found yourself without a job after the 2007 crisis?

    Always have a backup. What else can you do except for trading and valuations? Can you code? Can you design something? Can you write? Can you work as a salesperson?

    You should always have a secondary skill you can earn with. You might not be as adept at it, the industry might not be as well paying, but it will still save your skin in times of need.

  6. Learn how to manage time and have a healthy work-life balance. (Reading)
  7. Learn coding.
    Nothing can be more helpful in you day-to-day professional life than knowing a bit of computer sorcery. Know how to write the simplest of macros to automate mundane tasks, be efficient, remember all your To-dos. You have a pretty powerful machine at your disposal. Make it work. (Get started)

C. Personal life

A person should be able to live alone – with no external contact or assistance. It's essential to take out time for family and friends, but equally critical to take out time for self.

  1. How to build stuff from scrap and basic household items (The best resource on the internet)
  2. How to stay fit without any equipment (100 no-equipment workouts)
  3. How to stay alone, yet entertained  (74 things to do when you're bored and alone)

D. Social life

You might be an introvert who spends weekends in his living room, reading or surfing through channels. But contrary to point C above, man is after all a "social animal" and must know how to live among others.

  1. Know how to break the ice (Reading)
  2. Know how to strike up and hold an interesting conversation. Sometimes with complete strangers. Probably on topics you know nothing about. (Reading)
  3. Learn to listen. Listening may seem like a passive ability, but it isn't. There's a difference between hearing and listening and that is the level of engagement you have with the speaker. (Reading)
  4. Get people to like you (Reading)
  5. Learn to make cocktails and be the life of the party (Some easy recipes)
  6. Learn to make some easy-to-make snacks for when you are having people over (Some easy recipes)
  7. Public speaking. Join Toastmasters.
  8. Learn card games. May be poker? (Know your poker hands)
  9. Learn sign language (American Sign Language)
  10. Know how to remember people's names and faces. (Reading)
  11. Also, how to make proper introductions. To avoid awkward situations. (Reading)
  12. Or, how to tell a good story (Reading)

E. Misc

  1. ONE BIG ASS CHEAT-SHEET FOR LIFE
  2. A compendium of useful psychological life hacks
  3. How to write fast, well-constructed papers
  4. Never miss your lines while delivering a speech
  5. Kitchen cheat sheets
  6. Dining Etiquette 101

Finally, the mandatory quote:

What should every person be knowledgeable about or be proficient in by the age of 20?