It is mind boggling to me people still stumble when it comes to being effective in their work and life. I say this because the ten most valuable life skills are actually choices.

I couldn’t care less what God-given talents you have (or lack). It makes no difference how skilled or educated you are. (It really doesn’t and please don’t make me go get my statistics about performance and billionaires.)

When it comes right down to it, most of what makes you successful in life are your choices. Your choices will always trump your circumstances.

On we go…

Honesty. This takes no effort whatsoever. Just speak the truth. It’s actually harder to lie, tougher to remember what you said, and makes you feel crappy. Ew.

Open-Mindedness. An open mind is a peaceful place. This is a bit tougher than honesty because you’ve been fed so many lies in your life you’re confused. Try this. Assume everything you think is wrong. You’ll be right about half the time if you do that.

Sharing. How easy is this? I’m talking ideas, knowledge, toys, or whatever. Be a giver and sharer and the universe will give it back to you in spades. I mean, if you must get it back.

Listening. Listening is a bit different than having an open mind. This one requires you to pay attention so you can hear what’s said (or, better yet, felt). Being open-minded means you’ll actually do the right thing with what you heard.

Smile. It will make you feel better and make the person you’re smiling at feel better. If you’re smiling in the mirror, you get a two-fer. Boom. The daily double.

Positive attitude. I think I already mentioned your choices would always trump your circumstances. Maintaining a positive attitude is simply one of those choices, isn’t it? (By the way, I’m Italian. You have no idea how hard it is for me not to end every sentence with a question. No?)

Sit up straight. Call this one maintaining a positive posture if you’d like. This will make you welcoming to others. More importantly, sitting up straight takes a wee bit of energy. Consider this energy part of the motion that feeds emotion that turns into motivation. See how it did that wordplay thing there? (I’m still Italian.)

Make the extra step. Just do it—for everything. If you don’t know what the next step is, I have a novel idea for you. Just ask! “Hey Mrs. Boss Lady, when I’m finished with this task, what would be the next thing you’d want me to do?” Feel free to memorize that sentence.

Research. This only requires typing. So, choose to type Hit the enter key. The world’s information is available and I just got you there in two clicks.

Integrity. I think I called integrity a trait in another article I wrote right after I played poker. Well, it can also be a skill, but it is definitely a choice. You can lump it with honesty if you want, so let’s not quibble. I tend to think of honesty as what you say to my face and integrity as what you do behind my back.

P.S. I did zero minutes of research for this article and I wrote and released it without editing it. It’s the very first time I’ve ever done that. I’m sure I have some subject-verb disagreement and a few typos the spell checker didn’t catch.

Even so, I wanted you to get something completely raw from me. Honestly!

As always, I love to hear from you: Say whatever you wanna say. Unedited, of course!

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