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Why 21st Century Skills: Chapter 2

Last time we spoke about importance of 21st century skills and today we‘ll dive into  the COMFORT ZONE and COMMUNICATION.

The Comfort Zone

Let‘s begin with COMFORT ZONE. It is a place or a space in your mind where you feel comfortable, secure, safe. In this zone you don‘t need much effort to stay in because it is quite pleasant both physically and mentally. Comfort zone has a line and behind this line there is too much pressure, scarcity or fear. All that can be summarized as THE UNKNOWN. The unknown starts once you pass that invisible line.

You probably know stories about the people who travelled by ship to the end of the Earth. Towards the horizon, Then THE END of Earth appears and some of them were scared to go beyond that horizon and others were excited to do that. Here the horizon line is our COMFORT ZONE LINE. There are usually two kinds of people: ones who are willing to explore and cross comfort zone line and ones who don‘t cross it and never discover what is behind it. Fact is, if you want to obtain better results in developing any skill, you will probably have to go BEYOND and leave your safe comfort zone.

Communication Through Expression

An example. If you want to improve your communication skills you‘ll need to put yourself in uncomfortable situations and talk to people as much and as often as you can. There are plenty different ways you can do it.

One way is traveling. During the trips you always meet different people, who can help you or tell you about their life stories and that‘s how you can start talking, asking, communicating, telling YOUR experiences, YOUR life stories, YOUR opinions. In that case you have to BE CURIOUS about people around you and try to be as OPEN as possible with them. At the end of the day, you will probably meet most of them only once in your trip which removes pressure of made mistakes or awkward moments.

Communication Through Occupation

Another, even better, way to improve your communication skills is to find a job or volunteering place where you need to talk to people, to explain things to them or similar. For instance: travel agent, teacher, social worker, call center specialist. Take me for example, now I‘m a teacher, but previously I was a social worker, volunteer, coordinator, waitress, receptionist and world traveler. I had plenty opportunities to talk to teammates and strangers in order to find out the best strategies of communication with various groups of people. At the end, something that is not comfortable, like COMMUNICATION WITH STRANGERS, becomes part of daily life and once you know how to do it – you can manage it.

Moreover, the more things you have to explain to your friends, acquaintances, students, clients, or people you meet, the more you realize that most important things while communicating are:

  • CLARITY – speak clearly
  • CONTENT ECONOMY – don‘t aim to expand your topic if you don‘t need to, unless you genuinely want to go deep in the topic and people listen with attention.
  • KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT – when you know your topic, your subject – you‘ll be able to be clearer and cut it short when needed.

Final Tip

IMPROVISE. But do it only IF YOU KNOW WELL what you want to say. Otherwise it can become a total fiasco. Improvisation comes with time when you know to express your thoughts with clarity and when you exactly know which subject you want to talk about. Don‘t be scared to go beyond your personal comfort zone and enjoy your journey to the end of the earth and beyond the horizon.