If you want the most out of life, there are certain skills you’ll need. When I observe the most successful, happy people in life, I notice they have common skills.

At first glance, you might mistake some of these learned skills of successful people as natural behaviors. I assure you, happiness and success are states of mind you learn—you’re never born with them.

Let’s take a look at what I consider the twelve things the most successful adults do:

Ask for what they want

You’ll never get anything unless you do it yourself or ask someone else to do it for you. The people that are happiest do both well.

Know when to say “No”

This is one of the most important life skills for communication. The sooner you learn how to politely say “No” to the right things, the happier you’ll be. Life is a constant choosing between what’s important to you and everything else. When you actually know what’s important to you, the saying “No” part becomes easier.

Manage their lives (aka Life Management)

Someone might have incorrectly titled this one “Time Management.” Last time I checked, no one manages the fourth dimension. Everyone manages the activities they do during their lives. A few people manage it correctly. Most don’t. See the previous item and this one will become easier.

Keep their promises

Their word is better than a binding contract. Do what you say you’ll do and the world will spin on your (pinky) finger.

Manage their composure

The Gillette Company (now Dial Corporation) had it right with their “Never let them see you sweat” commercial. The way you think makes you sweat. Or not. Running does that too, but you get my gist.


You choose. Your diet. Your activity. Your “time.” Your work. Your life. Your family. Your hobbies.

Own their choices

They take responsibility for everything they do or that “happens to them.” They are completely accountable. Try it. You are truly a victim of your own vibration.

Being impractical

They think being practical is the biggest obstacle to reaching their true potential. They know when people use that word “practical,” it is code for “afraid.”

Manage money

If they make $100, they don’t spend $100.01. They likely don’t spend $90. Save first. Spend appropriately. Live a little because you can’t hook it to the hearse, but don’t get into a situation where your parents need to bail you out. In fact, make sure you can bail them out as a thank-you for everything they’ve done for you.

Treat people with respect

They treat wait-staff like they are family.

Lose their scorecard

They think keeping a tally of favors is for losers. They never keep score and they never think about repayment. Somehow, repayment always finds them.

Realize possessions are nothing more than things with maintenance costs

Everything you own in your life has a maintenance cost attached to it. Some cost dollars to upkeep. Others cost sentiments. The sentimental items usually cost more because of the emotional upkeep.

I’d love to hear from you: What do you consider the greatest life skills?