mad skills, normal everyday skills, abilities, aptitudes, intelligences

"Tandosmama" wrote:

Often when people meet, the inevitable question, "What do you do?" comes up. Although the language does specifically refer to 'doing' the emphasis seems to be more about identity. I like to think that how we make money (in other words, what our jobs currently are) is nowhere near the full sense of who we are.

It would be interesting to compile a complimentary list of skills and experience. Too often young people are led to believe that a specific track leads to work in a specific field. That may be true in some circumstances where certification is legally required to practice. But more often individuals accrue various skills and experience that enable them to perform a variety of jobs.

I like to consider skills and experience because for each of us some abilities come more naturally while others require more practice. Each of us enjoys certain activities more than others. There are usually some that we'd like to acquire and hone while other skills might not interest one at all. Figuring out the balance that's most important to each of us is ongoing.

I started a list. It's repetitive in some places and overly general in others. I'd love to see what others add.

sourcing materials
manipulating materials
using specialized tools
understands, can take apart and repair machines
ability to recognize patterns
ability to apply logic and reasoning
ability to pick up language skills easily
identify plants
sense weather
finding one's way without a map
reading maps
making maps and giving directions
connecting people
hosts a good party
good at collaborating
good at directing
good with kids
good with babies
ability to listen
remembers details
good with numbers, proportions and formulas
making up songs
recognize and treat illness
support health (all those things midwives do that are not specifically medical)
seeing the big picture
organizing information
communing with animals
good at and enjoys routine
ability to draw accurate renderings
ability to draw expressively
recognizing and utilizing systems
green thumb
baking, cooking, understanding food
writing with technical language
writing with humour
writing to express deep emotion
musical knowledge (like the folks who came up with the Breaking Bad soundtrack!)
ability to play instruments
good ear
good voice (singing and/or mimicry)
good eyes (ability to observe and notice detail)
organized (spatial logic)
neat (good at keeping things organized)
clean (good at keeping things appropriately hygenic)
knows the hand-made, homemade way of doing something
            (soap, cheese, vinegar or wine-making)
physical prowess like paddling a kayak, riding a bike off-road as well as other sports

(end of Tandosmama's list/post)

Cheri Tilford wrote:
Aptitudes. Everyone has a range of inherent skills that, when used, generally bring a sense of happiness and competence. For some people who were schooled or felt expectations or limitations on acquired knowledge and testable learning, natural aptitudes may be missed or ignored because "that's not on the test" or "that's not useful right now".

Sometimes family culture influences what kids feel are acceptable skills; for instance, a family that values "education" (I put that in quotes because that usually means certain number of years in formal schooling, and maybe a few letters after your name) might be disappointed in a kid who loves to work with her hands and decides to fix cars.

This is why I want to unschool my daughter - so she can explore her interests, aptitudes, and passions on her own schedule and discover for herself what pulls at her mind and heart.

I've worked so many jobs that don't define me. I make a point Not to ask people I've just met what they do, but rather what they love doing on their own time. that, to me, says so much more.

(for anyone wanting to learn more about one's own aptitudes, the Johnson O'Connor research foundation - - has several testing centers around the US, and their testing is fun and highly informative)


Sandra Dodd:
Another way to think of those skills is on the model of multiple intelligences put forth by Howard Gardner: Multiple Intelligences

Chris Ester:
In my family we use the terms "talents", "traits", and "skills". Traits are somewhat nebulous characteristics that you are born with, talents are something that you can do well without much practice, and skills are something that you acquire with practice.

It gets complicated though, because you can almost always improve on your skill level in something that you have a natural talent for, such as dancing or music.


Rippy Dusseldorp, responding to
-=- Too often young people are led to believe that a specific track leads to work in a specific field. That may be true in some circumstances where certification is legally required to practice. But more often individuals accrue various skills and experience that enable them to perform a variety of jobs. -=-
In my experience (both as the one being hired and as the one hiring others), personal qualities are almost as important as skills and experiences that people bring to jobs. Sometimes even more important. As long as the employee is skilled and competent, they might get preference over a person that is more qualified/experienced, but is a bit tricky to get along with. Employers like to hire people that they will enjoy spending their work hours with.

Qualities that I noticed were most appreciated are:

There is more of that discussion here, at the Always Learning archive, from November 2013

or at the Always Learning group at (still current, and public, in 2021)

Unexpected Skills
Joyce Fetteroll's daughter Kathryn has played electric guitar for years now, but here is something Joyce wrote at the beginning of all that:
Kat (who's 14) is taking guitar lessons for the first time. Her teacher was impressed that she could read and play the notes without looking at the fret bar and wondered how she could do that if she'd never played before. Kat replied "Three years of playing video games!" She said he laughed. —Joyce
photo by Sandra Dodd

We can't see how today will affect tomorrow. There are gates and walls
that might have beautiful things on the other side, but there's no hurry to know.

Skills and Talents

Knowing what's good about other people doesn't need to diminish your own self confidence. It will increase it, I think, to realize that you are surrounded by others who have skills and talents you might have need of. photo by Sandra Dodd

Other posts at Just Add Light and Stir with related ideas:
Respect and admiration

Living proof

A big list of jobs of all sorts Howard Gardner's Intelligences Focus, Hobbies, Obsessions