Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

What You Really Need To Learn To Be Successful In Life - Part II

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Which are the really important things that one needs to learn in order to survive and live a successful life on this planet?

Photo credit: Little boy lying on a floor by Shutterstock

Whether in Manhattan, lost in the jungle, on a remote island or on an extraterrestrial planet, what are the truly critical and life-supporting things that are needed to survive and thrive beyond the animal level?

I have first tried to answer this question when I was invited to speak at LeWeb '08 in Paris, as my chosen presentation topic for the event had been "Love for learning". In that occasion, my goal was to communicate both the paradox of 2.0 ideas when confronted with the reality of our present-day school and education system, as well as to explore the key skills that would really be needed to conduct a successful, meaningful life and which could be acquired only by the emergence of a bottom-up, family-ignited (vs. state imposed), self-sustained and lifelong alternative approach to education.

In the first part of this guide to what you really need to learn to be successful in life, I had taken on Stephen Downes original ten points from 2006, and tried to refine, expand and curate them in greater depth than I had done the first time around.

But as I went through the process of curating those ten original points, I realized how many more skills could have been listed and summarized and therefore I decided to expand drastically the scope of the guide and to include in it all of the skills that I would myself consider mandatory in preparing a human being for a successful, rewarding and meaningful life on this planet (and possibly elsewhere).

And as I jotted down some, more would come to mind (I have now identified more than 40 of them).

What you will find therefore in this second Part of the guide is a continuation of what done in the first, with the only difference that the skills listed here are the fruit of my own intuition, research and evaluation of what I would like to see added to Stephen Downes original list.

Here then, a new set of life-critical skills needed to survive and thrive on this planet and which I think would be good substitutes for most of the topic areas we are forced to learn in our present-day school curriculum. This second set includes:

11) How to Ask Good Questions

12) How to Curate

13) How to Focus

14) How to Learn to Speak Other Languages

15) How to Code

16) How to Make Things (Makers)

17) How to Grow Your Own Food

18) How to Survive in the Wilderness

19) How to Provide First Aid

20) How to Defend Oneself

Here all the details: (Part I here)

11) How to Ask Good Questions



"to ask good questions means to be able to ask questions that can provide you with the information you need to have."

Source: Robin Good

"Good questions are ships that sail us into discovering lands and that can open up the opportunity to uncover things we would have never imagined... unless we asked."

Source: Robin Good


Asking questions is the highway to learning and understanding more about the world that surrounds you, about how it works and about how to get anywhere you want to go, physically or mentally.

Due to the way our cultures have developed, to religion, media, education and other factors it is very likely that our individual view of reality is limited to what we have seen, heard and from what other people around us have chosen to believe. Our knowledge of many things is most of the times based at best on trust, and at worst on pure faith, with no verification or inquiry on our hand as to whether something is really true or not.

On the other hand, by learning to ask good questions encourages exploration, critical thinking, engagement, drawing conclusions based on evidence, and it allows to get a deep understanding of any topic.

Asking good questions is what allows you to get where you want to be. So if you want to get there, wherever that is, you need to learn how to ask thought-provoking questions.

To ask good questions is therefore very important because only by asking smart questions you can get faster to the information you need.

Learning to ask good questions is also important because it trains you to evaluate the situation, to analyze its weak or unclear points and to see clearly where is the extra information that you do not have and need to know.


Play lots of different games that force you to think and to ask yourself many questions.

When dealing with information, play to be an investigator, a Sherlock Holmes who is always on the lookout for valuable clues, and for witness from whom to learn precious facts.

Read relevant books that showcase stories in which individuals ask very relevant questions.
Feel and identify the relevant questioning patterns and make them yours.

Avoid going to traditional earth-bound 19-21st century schools as they will do anything in their power to diminish and reduce human natural curiosity and capability of questioning things.

Learn how to do journalistic writing and investigative reporting and their methods and techniques.
Learn and practice the use of the 5 Ws. These are questions whose answers are considered basic in information-gathering. They are often mentioned in journalism (cf. news style), research, and police investigations. They constitute a formula for getting the complete story on a subject.

  1. Who is it about?

  2. What happened?

  3. Where did it take place?

  4. When did it take place?

  5. Why did it happen?

There are three main types of questions:

a) Factual

b) Interpretive

c) Evaluative

a) Factual questions are the ones that have only one correct answer.
Example: "What did you have for breakfast this morning?"
Value: Factual questions usually make the best inquiry-based projects, as long as they are answerable and have room for exploration.

b) Interpretative questions have more than one answer, but they still must be supported with evidence.
Example: "Why did Ahab chase Moby Dick?"
Value: Interpretive questions are effective for starting class discussions, for stimulating oral and written language exercises and, sometimes, for leading to good inquiry-based learning projects.

c) Evaluative questions ask for some kind of opinion, belief or point of view, and have therefore no wrong possible answers.
Example: "What would be a good place to take the kids on a field trip?" "Do you agree with Ahab's views on whales?"
Value: good ways to lead discussions and explore books or other artistic works

Source: Asking Questions - The Key to Engaging Students in Learning - LessonPaths

Don't ask yes / no questions. Always dig deeper.

"When you ask a yes or no question, you will most often get incomplete information. Instead, ask an open-ended question. By using an open-ended question you get insights and additional information you might not have known existed."

Source: How to Be Amazingly Good at Asking Questions by Michael Martel - Lifehack

Suggested Readings / Videos:

Video: How to Ask Great Questions by Derek Halpern
Duration: 3':04"

Tools & Resources:

  • Kahoot - A game-based classroom response system for schools, universities & businesses

12) How to Curate



"The ability to find, gather, organize, contextualize, add value, present and preserve unique items representative of a specific area of interest either for personal or public interest."

Source: Robin Good

"Content curation. That is process of collecting, organising and displaying information relevant to a particular topic or area of interest."

Source: Charles Christian


Curation can help a great deal in creating transferrable know-how, and in providing highly useful information references and options that can be used in most any field, from hunting and plant seeding to galaxy or DNA exploration.

The ability to find, gather, collect, organize, present, share and preserve valuable information and/or physical artifacts, is the same mandate originally given to libraries and later to museums.
Both represent a mirror of our cultural heritage and have offered for decades insight, inspiration, great learning opportunities and tangible data to those searching for the understanding of our past, present and future.

In the 21st century, thanks to the Internet and digital media, curatorial skills and abilities have started to become available to anyone with enough interest, time and personal subject matter expertise to take on this demanding task, thus suddenly expanding our potential for collective understanding and learning of at least an order of magnitude.


To learn how to curate there is no other way but doing it, possibly around a topic or interest for which one has already a good degree of affinity.

When I was a kid for example, some perfect unschooled curation courses were:

  • Collecting old stamps or coins

  • Being a DJ (both live and on-air)

  • Creating beautiful annotated family photo albums

All these passion-drive activities are ideal playgrounds to develop a number of skills which are vital to develop some of critical curatorial abilities. These include:

  • Strong interest and motivation for the topic at hand
    Unless you are truly motivated in what you are about to curate, it is quite difficult to learn anything useful. So it's best to start from something you really enjoy. Books, movies, places, songs, images, it doesn't really matter as long as your interest in it is very high.
  • Time and patience
    Curation is by definition a slow process, not one can be rushed or done under pressure. To curate well, having proper time and low pressure is a good thing because to find, pick, organize and add value to any item in a collection it does take time.
  • Ordering and classifying
    To curate effectively one must practice the science of creating groups, categories and taxonomies. To learn it one must be confronted with the need to organize and separate into relevant groups large numbers of items.
  • Pattern recognition
    The ability to start noticing similarities and characterizing traits among different objects or information items starts to develop when you dedicate systematic time to review and select these while having a specific set of criteria to make those choices.
  • Adding value
    Buying, finding or collecting items of whatever kind does not make someone a curator. What makes someone a curator is the ability to add personal value to it, by personalizing it, contextualizing it, labelling and introducing it or by way of how to share and present it to others.
  • Presentation and display
    A collection inside a drawer is non-existent. A set of records gathering dust in a shelf are useless. A photo album that nobody can look at is like it didn't exist. What matters for a curator is creating venues to share, present, showcase and make his collections as accessible and open as possible and to further augment the value and interest that can be generated by skillfully ordering, juxtaposing, placing, formatting and editing the items in his collection.
  • Preservation
    A curator is highly motivated to do anything he can to properly archive and physically preserve the collections he has created so that they can remain useful and accessible to others for as long a time as possible.
    (example: the recording of a DJ live performance)

Suggested Readings:

Guide: Content Curation Guide by Robin Good, 2014 - Gibbon

Tools & Resources:

13) How to Focus



"the ability to pay particular attention to something specific."

Source: Google

"focus is the ability to pay undivided and sustained attention to what you
have decided to pursue

Source: Robin Good


Today, in the 21st century, there is a very large number of people who work and carry out projects while in a continuous state of distraction. From telephones ringing to email, SMS messages, alerts, news, and demands from other people around you, there's a universe of things ready to distract you systematically, unless you take some proactive actions to change this.

I am sure that the experience of having done a million things during a day in front of the computer while feeling as if nothing really important has been achieved is not new to you. The Internet, together with our other telecommunication tools, from TV to phones, are our number one opportunities for mindless distraction, which keeps us feeling busy and engaged, but which also distracts us from focusing on key important goals and keeps us from working on them effectively for sustained periods of time.

Email, instant messages, breaking news, tweets and social media posts offer the opportunity for a sustained stream of micro-orgasms, as within a very short amount of time you can address, check and do something with them easily. Micro-tasks which indeed keep you busy and engaged and with a sustained stream of small rewards, but which do not move your bottom-line strategy and need to get larger projects and ideas moving.

Imagine how much better could be your work could be if you were able to focus more and longer on one task at a time without being distracted by all these micro-tasks.

Whether the task at hand is to take a decision, to evaluate alternative solutions or to write an article, the more you are able to focus the more successful and effective you will be at executing that task.


  • Set your priorities
    To be able to focus the first thing you need to do is to set your priorities so that you don't have many things pressing your mind at the same time. Lay down all you want to do and set an order of importance for the things you want to do. First should be the items that have the most impact on your ability to achieve your desired goal(s).
  • Time your assignments
    Set also a predefined amount of time you want to devote to a certain activity, instead of going on with it until you are completely done. While "not giving up until one has fully achieved a goal" is a valuable skill, it is more important first to master how to achieve something within a specified time constraint rather than not having any constraints at all on this front.
  • Turn off distractions
    Switch off anything that can distract you. If you have a computer or smartphone, you have right there the source of tens of possible distractions. Turn them all off. Close all your alerts, email notification systems, turn off your phone and ask someone else to handle the door. Initially, the more external distractions are present, the more difficult it will be more difficult for you not to pay attention to them for extended periods of time. As you train yourself to focus, external distractions will matter less and less.
  • Create a focused environment
    Architect and organize your space (in the case of your office or studio) in a way that supports focus and reduces distractions to a minimum. Physical distractions include not just sound generating devices, TV sets, radio, but also the amount of free space and orderliness around you. So a desk full of messy papers and books with little space available for you to write or take notes is not the ideal situation in which to increase your ability to focus.
  • Focus on one thing at a time
    Notwithstanding what you may have read on the web, by definition it is possible to achieve maximum focus only by dedicating yourself to one activity. If you engage in multiple activities at the same time one or more of them will receive less attention units and care from you than if you were engaged in just one. Avoid then the habit of doing more things at the same time, or the even more popular one of rapidly switching among different tasks (from email replies, to browsing, to writing, etc.) with the illusion of being more productive and faster.
  • Have a specific objective
    You can't really focus on something unless you have decided first what it is that you want to achieve and what needs to be done to reach that specific goal. The clearer the goal is, the more focus can be applied to achieving it. The less clear is the final objective to be reached, the more difficult it will be to effectively focus on what really needs to be done.
  • Break tasks into simple steps
    To facilitate task execution, whatever the job at hand, it is always best to break down and see the work to be done split down into several smaller tasks rather than looking at it as one monolithic big task. The more you learn how to break down your selected assignment into several small tasks, the easier it will become to carry out large tasks while remaining highly focused throughout the process.

Suggested Readings / Videos:


Book: Focus by Leo Babauta

Tools & Resources:

14) How to Learn to Speak Other Languages



"Being able to communicate to others through a spoken language different than your native one."

Source: Robin Good


Learning a foreign language can be very useful in living a successful life, as by knowing more than one language one can dramatically expand the number of places and people he can get to know and talk to. Being able to read and write in more than one language also opens up access to new literatures, traditions, and ideas.
Furthermore, being bilingual, and/or being exposed to two languages and cultures, can foster greater tolerance for other cultural groups.

People who have learned more than one language can think better, and even fend off old age ailments.

"Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter. It can have a profound effect on your brain, improving cognitive skills not related to language and even shielding against dementia in old age."

"In a recent study of 44 elderly Spanish-English bilinguals, scientists led by the neuropsychologist Tamar Gollan of the University of California, San Diego, found that individuals with a higher degree of bilingualism -- measured through a comparative evaluation of proficiency in each language -- were more resistant than others to the onset of dementia and other symptoms of Alzheimer's disease: the higher the degree of bilingualism, the later the age of onset."

Source: Why Bilinguals Are Smarter by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee, March 2012 - The New York Times

Learning a different language than one's own native one, requires a lot of active effort, creativity and discipline, which the learning process can also help strengthen.

On the other hand it is also true that knowing two languages makes it easier to learn additional languages.

Knowing more than just one language creates a new mental thinking apparatus which can provide additional flexibility to our intellectual capabilities, as the ability to interpret and describe things in more than one way, or the ability to describe and process reality through a completely different set of sounds enhances our ability to analyze, recognize differences and common patterns.


Here are ten straightforward actions you can take to start learning a foreign language now:

  1. Find a very strong motivation to do so.
  2. Get familiar with the sound and with the faces. Watch films, people singing, pay close attention to the words and to how they pronounce them. Look at their facial expressions when words are being pronounced.
  3. Familiarize yourself with the basic building blocks of that language, so that you can say some very basic things.
  4. Start playing and conversing with someone else.
  5. When you learn another language the rule n.1 is to speak only and exclusively the language you want to learn. Always. Even to ask for help.
  6. Learn by heart songs and poems and get to fully understand their meaning.
  7. Play games - physical and digital - that you greatly enjoy, in the new language you want to master.
  8. Once you have the basics immerse yourself in a group of people that does something you really enjoy but who speaks only the language you want to learn. For example sign-up for a theater, music, painting or even a sport class you really love but which is offered in the language you want to learn.
  9. Read more books and write down what you learn in the new language.

Suggested Readings / Videos:

Video: How To Learn Any Language in Six Months by Chris Lonsdale
Duration 18':26"

Tools & Resources:

15) How to Code



"write code for (a computer program)."

Source: Google

"Coding is the ability to read and write a machine language as well as to think computationally."

Source: Doug Belshaw

"ability to codify commands, procedures to a machine capable of executing them unassisted."

Source: Robin Good


In a world where almost everything has either a digital component or is somehow digitally mediated, being able not only to be receivers but learning how to act-upon, modify and design our environment is without doubts a life critical skill.

Also, learning how to code is not so much about equipping future generations to work as software developers, but it is more about promoting the idea of "computational thinking".

"Computational thinking is how software engineers solve problems. It combines mathematics, logic and algorithms, and teaches you a new way to think about the world.

Computational thinking teaches you how to tackle large problems by breaking them down into a sequence of smaller, more manageable problems. It allows you to tackle complex problems in efficient ways that operate at huge scale. It involves creating models of the real world with a suitable level of abstraction, and focus on the most pertinent aspects. It helps you go from specific solutions to general ones."

Source: Why every child should learn to code by Dan Crow, February 2014 - The Guardian

In essence, learning how to code, can be classified as an essential life skill because:

a) It helps you to get good at solving problems
Writing, debugging and remixing your own and other people's code are fundamentally problem-solving activities. Whether it's code that won't run because of syntax errors, something working differently than you expected, or figuring out how to do something cool, these are all things that involve lateral thinking. And often this problem-solving involves working with other people - either in real-time or following tutorials, blog posts and howtos (and then sharing back).

b) It boosts your confidence and sense of value
Knowing how things work, understanding the deep meaning of something often leads to an increased sense of confidence. By this I refer to a sense of confidence in being causative about reality and the environment that surrounds us as wel as in shaping it to suit our future goals and needs.

c) It gives you opportunity to shape reality
Knowing how to code opens up the opportunity to design and realize anything from software applications, to digital appliances, useful services, physical objects and even art objects. Realising that you can not only change and influence things, but build things that other people can use is, Steve Jobs said, is "perhaps the most important thing."

d) It allows to see what's under the hood
Understanding how code works can help you have a much better understanding how things work or don't, instead of having to depend on "experts" or other third-parties to help you make sense of them. At the simplest level you can imagine someone who publishes a web page and who can inspect and detect whether there is some technical error in it, from someone in the same situation who can't do anything, if the page doesn't show up properly, but to call in an expert to see what's wrong with it.


To learn how to code is very similar to learning a foreign language, the key difference being that a code language is not spoken, but "executed" by a computer or a machine.

To communicate with a machine body language and emotions are of no use, and what really counts is knowing what "words" and "syntax" is used to communicate and how to reason following always a strict logical reasoning approach. "Logic" or more specifically "Predicate logic" is the type of reasoning needed to become a good coder.

Basically what it boils down to is that when you code you really need to be able to convert your ideas into symbols and specific actions you want to be executed under pre-defined circumstances.

A good first step in learning how to code is to start by creating something simple that actually works. IFTTT and Zapier are two online services where you can put to use some of the basics of coding without really having to learn anything more than what you already know. Both services are in fact based on the idea that you can create highly useful tools and simple programs by simply connecting and hooking up different applications and events. Say for example that you want the name and email of each person that signs up for your newsletter to be added to a special database you have created. Both IFTTT and Zapier can assist you in creating a custom app that does exactly what you want by allowing you to set and define the rules of what needs to be done and what is going to trigger it.

Then, if you want to move to learn more formal approaches to creating code, you can sign up for an account at Code Academy or Khan Academy. They have a lot of interactive tutorials that will teach you basic programming concepts explained in simple video tutorials.

Suggested Readings:

Book: The Pragmatic Programmer by Andrew Hunt and David Thomas, 1999

Tools & Resources:

  • BentoBox
    A curated resource guide to help you find where to learn how to code online, depending on specific subject and need.

  • Mozilla Webmaker
    A global community dedicated to teaching digital skills and web literacy.
  • CodeAcademy
    Build Projects. Learn to create interactive websites, fun games, and killer apps.
  • CodeAvengers
    Courses carefully designed to truly entertain while leveling your programming skills.
  • Code
    Game-like, self-directed learning environment provides basic concepts of Computer Science with drag and drop programming.
  • CodeHS
    Simple and fun game programming lessons that involve problem solving, JavaScript, animation, data structures, game design and puzzle challenges.
  • Khan Academy
    Learn the fundamentals of programming.
  • CodeCombat
    Learn how to code in JavaScript by playing a game.
  • TOP 10 Websites Where To Learn Coding by Alavris Falcon, 2013 - Hongkiat

16) How to Make Things (Makers)



"a person or thing that makes or produces something."

Source: Google

"any activity that uses an element of creative skills to make or design something on your own."

Source: Brit Morin

"The maker culture is a contemporary culture or subculture representing a technology-based extension of DIY culture. Typical interests enjoyed by the maker culture include engineering-oriented pursuits such as electronics, robotics, 3-D printing, and the use of CNC tools, as well as more traditional activities such as metalworking, woodworking, and traditional arts and crafts.."

Source: Wikipedia


The art of making should be appreciated and celebrated, as unless there were people who loved to invent, design and make things we would still be living in caves.

The rise of the "maker culture" is closely associated with the rise of hackerspaces, fab labs and other "maker spaces". Hackerspaces for example are places specifically dedicated to allow like-minded individuals to share ideas, tools, and skillsets.

"Welcome to the Maker Movement, an evolution of millions of people who are taking big risks to start their own small businesses dedicated to creating and selling self-made products.

In a world of mass-produced products, modern technology has made it easier than ever for a single individual to create and distribute items that are customizable and unique without having middlemen like manufacturers."

Source: What Is the Maker Movement and Why Should You Care? by Brit Morin, February 2013 - Huffington Post

"It doesn't require a major life change (like losing a job or facing a similar crisis) to get involved. These are skills you can develop on part time basis - a few nights a week or a weekend here and there. In fact, no matter what your day job may be, you'll find these new skills can be complementary and helpful in your everyday life."

"making is very little about DIY - it's all about DIT (Do-It-Together). In the maker movement, the art of collaboration is the key to innovation and productivity."

Source: Zero To Maker: A Re-Skilling Guide for New Makers by David Lang - KickStarter


If it can be imagined it can be made. Begin with the end in mind.

The first step in making a thing, even a non-physical thing, is visualizing it. Making things always combines form with function.

A most effective step in refining/developing a thing is collaborating with others on it.

Suggested Readings/Videos:

Book: Makers: The New Industrial Revolution by Chris Anderson, 2012

Tools & Resources:

17) How to Grow Your Own Food



Where and how to procure for yourself the food you need to eat and survive, when it is not immediately available for purchase in a nearby shop."

Source: Robin Good


To eat is a vital function for any human being but presently we take for granted that food will be available for purchase in a nearby store, so that when you are hungry, you can go there and buy it.

To become full citizens of this planet I think it is in our own individual and community interest not to depend always on third-party sources, whether public or commercial, to provide us with the critical means of survival.

Until less than 100 years ago the majority of people in the planet knew how to cultivate and grow their food independently and having all of the resources needed within their community.

It is quite evident and documented by recent events, that if there was even just a significant electricity or transportation blackout most people would be 100% unprepared in being able to survive and feed themselves for an extended period of time with their own means.

The benefits of learning how to feed ourselves as self-sufficiently as possible are many. Some of the more evident ones are higher food quality, no need to depend on large scale farming and OGM seeds, money savings, energy savings, no pesticides or other poisonous substances in our food, support for biodiversity.


To learn how to be self-sufficient when it comes to food we evidently need to go back to learn and practice how to cultivate and grow our own foods in house, in our backyards, or in place of our existing front door green lawns.

Developing also a renewed sense of respect for food and for the practice of eating would help us re-learn to see food not as a recreational activity designed give pleasure but once again as an essential life activity which must be treated with respect. Following and getting involved with the various Slow-Food initiatives can be a good step in the right direction.

To be able to conquer back our ability to feed ourselves it is mandatory that we go back and learn more about our body, how it works and about nutrition and how it relates to our physiological needs. If we don't understand how our bodies need to be nourished and fed it is quite impossible that we can learn and master how to properly feed ourselves.

This learning path should include reconquering the ability to become familiar again with nature's natural provision of food and in getting to know them in depth, and beyond the few ones normally served on our dinner tables. It would be wonderful to get to know again how to recognize and identify edible foods from poisonous ones and how to extract the most nutritious elements from any raw food available out there.

The better skilled we become at becoming skillful gardeners, fruit and vegetable farmers the better we can nourish ourselves, keeping away poisons and risks from our diet while becoming fully self-sufficient in providing ourselves with food.

Suggested Readings:


Book: All New Square Foot Gardening, Second Edition: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More In Less Space by Mel Bartholomew, February 2013

18) How to Survive in the Wilderness



Knowledge of all the basic skills required to survive in the wilderness."

Source: Robin Good


How long can you survive if you were stranded on an island, in the jungle or on a mountain where your airplane has unexpectedly crash landed?

  • You can survive for three hours without enough warmth.
  • You can survive for three days without water.
  • You can survive for three weeks without food.

Very few people can survive much longer under these circumstances unless they have trained themselves before on how to handle these emergency situations.

  • How do you purify water?
  • How to make a fire?
  • How do you procure yourself food if there is snow or sand all around you?
  • What do you do if you need to cross a river or a lake?
  • How do you signal other for help?

These are just some of the many skills that are absolutely required to be able to survive in a wild situation with no outside help.


To prepare oneself for living in the wilderness there is no better training than learning the skills of wildlife explorers, jungle trailers and sherpas. These are the people who have best developed the needed skills to survive and nourish themselves even under extremely adverse situations.

If you look at these people and at how they prepare and organize themselves you can immediately notice some important things:

1) The most important thing is to stay warm and dry.

2) The least important thing is having enough food.

Suggested Readings/Videos:

Video: How To Survive In The Wilderness by Dale Collett
Duration: 3':01"

19) How to Provide First Aid



how to provide life-saving assistance to another human being in emergency situations, where there are no other accessible aid."

Source: Robin Good


Nonetheless we live in the 21st century, with plenty of technology, medical aid, communication tools available to us, it is not impossible to find oneself in situations where there is no immediate external professional aid that can be accessed, and where knowing what to do and how can be decisive.

It is therefore a vital learning skill the ability to provide immediate first-aid emergency assistance to another human being in those cases where there is no-one else there to help you or to call.

The "ABC" of first aid, is a set of three area of critical concerns that are given first priority attention in emergency situations involving a human being. These three checks which focus on any critical life-saving intervention, must always be executed before treating less serious injuries.

The ABC of first aid stands for:

  • Airway,
  • Breathing, and
  • Circulation.


The best thing to do to learn what to do and how do it in emergency, life-critical situations, where your intervention can save another person life is to take some specialty courses on the topic and to do some real-life experience by volunteering in providing part-time help in emergency and rescue support services.

The best type of first aid training can generally be accessed by attending professional courses, typically leading to certification.

"Due to regular changes in procedures and protocols, based on updated clinical knowledge, and to maintain skill, attendance at regular refresher courses or re-certification is often necessary. First aid training is often available through community organizations such as the Red Cross and St. John Ambulance, or through commercial providers, who will train people for a fee.

Basic principles, such as knowing to use an adhesive bandage or applying direct pressure on a bleed, are often acquired passively through life experiences. However, to provide effective, life-saving first aid interventions requires instruction and practical training. This is especially true where it relates to potentially fatal illnesses and injuries, such as those that require cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR); these procedures may be invasive, and carry a risk of further injury to the patient and the provider."

Source: Wikipedia

Suggested Readings:

Guide: The Comprehensive Guide to Wilderness First Aid by Clifton Castleman, 2012

20) How to Defend Oneself



to be able to defend oneself from external attacks either verbal, psychological or physical."

Source: Robin Good


Not everyone around is there to love you and to make your life easy. No matter what you do, or how good you are, there will always be people and organizations that will go out of their way to put you in difficulty, to derail you from your path or to ruin your best plans of action.

For these reasons it is good to be skilled at the art of defending oneself from external attacks, whether verbal, psychological or physical.


One wise step to take in defending oneself is to find out or discover as fast as possible what is the reason for which you are being attacked. Knowing the reason of the attack can greatly assist you in finding the most appropriate action to take in these delicate situations.

To defend oneself does not mean to be able to defend oneself just physically but also from verbal and psychological attacks.

The best course of action to take when in need to defend yourself is this:

1) Understand what is going exactly

2) Listen, if possible, before jumping to fast conclusions

3) Evaluate how to respond by taking into primary consideration the consequences of your actions whether they be physical or just words.

The typical, automatic reactions to an attack are almost never the most appropriate ones. These are:

a) Fighting back

b) Pleading

c) Debating

d) Fleeing the scene

None of these is appropriate to defend oneself from a verbal attack.

The best approach
to learn is one that communicates in a clear, concise and firm fashion that you are not going to be an easy victim or an approach that does not offer to the attacker opportunity for insisting (divert and distract, bore him to death, etc.).

Suggested Readings:


Guide: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Verbal Self Defense by Lillian J. Glass, 1999


End of Part II
See Part I: What We Really Need To Learn To Be Successful In Life - Part I
And Part III: What You Really Need To Learn To Be Successful In Life - Part III
And Part IV: What You Really Need To Learn To Be Successful In Life - Part IV
And Part V: What You Really Need To Learn To Be Successful In Life - Part V

Originally written and curated by Robin Good and first published on MasterNewMedia on Tuesday May 6th 2014 as What We Really Need To Learn To Be Successful In Life - Part II.

Photo credits:
How to Ask Good Questions - Street signs with WH wordsby Shutterstock
How to Curate - Collection of butterflies by Shutterstock
How to Focus - Camera photo lens by Shutterstock
How to Learn to Speak Other Languages - Languages by Shutterstock
How to Code - Program code by Shutterstock
How to Make Things - Home buyer works by Shutterstock
How to Grow Your Own Food - Woman planting cabbage by Shutterstock
How to Survive in the Wilderness - Survival by Shutterstock
How to Provide First Aid - Helping hands by Shutterstock
How to Defend Oneself - Armour of the medieval knight by Shutterstock

Robin Good -
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posted by Viviana Brun on Tuesday, May 6 2014, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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