Sep 09

Basic Life Skills

In this post I want to offer a list of skills that I believe every adult should possess. Skills that may one day save your life or the life of another. Skills that simply make sense for us to know. Skills that any adult should be able to perform with a reasonable degree of proficiency. It is my opinion, that to become proficient in most of these skills is to become a more independent person and to live a fuller more complete life. Keep in mind that, it is not necessary to be an Olympic competitor in swimming, but knowing how to swim and knowing how to remain safe in the water could very well save your life one day.

So, here goes.

Basic life skills;

Basic land navigation is essential here on planet earth.

Starting a fire, and perhaps even more important, how to put out a fire!

Basic First-Aid — I offer the following two links to free PDF downloads from Hesperian Foundation.

Where There is no Doctor + Where There is no Dentist — These two books contain a tremendous amount of valuable information about the fundamentals of good health, even under the most primitive of conditions.


Riding a bicycle is a basic life skill that can be a recreational activity or an economical mode of transport. Sometimes, a bike can go places where other vehicles cannot. Many people around the world learn how to ride a two wheeler at a very early age. In many ways a bike can be a youngsters first taste of independence and freedom! Knowing how to maintain a bicycle is also an important aspect of riding one.


Swimming and water safety / water rescue. I was fortunate as a youth. I lived in a lake community and my parents, to their credit, insisted that I learn how to swim. I learned how to swim by the age of 5 or 6 and was trained to be a life-guard by 16. There are many resources available to learn water skills.



Shooting skills and Firearms Safety is an area I have a wide level of experience and training. I hold certifications as a Range Safety Officer and as a Firearms Instructor. Here is a link to a previous article on the basics of firearms safety. A sub-category related to firearms; if you enjoy shooting it may be beneficial for you to take your firearms enthusiasm to the next level and learn how to produce your own ammunition. Hand-loading ammo and casting lead bullets is a terrific survival skill. Both of these activities require strict adherence to safety rules and the ability to concentrate on the task at hand. Distractions can result in nasty accidents. Having the ability to customize ammunition for my hunting rifles is what got me started. After a time I realized I could also save money on the cost of ammo if I loaded my own. That was helpful on my shooting budget when I was shooting about 5 days a week.

Understanding and exercising personal safety and self defense are fundamental to independence too. This article will share many resources on that topic.

Sailing and water navigation. I must admit that this is an area I lack any substantive knowledge. I’ve never been out on the open ocean and my resources are limited for learning this valuable skill. It would be fun to spend some time on an island environment learning how to sail.

To bake bread is a very valuable skill for saving money and for providing your family a much more wholesome alternative to what is available in the supermarket. To Westerners, bread is considered to be the staff of life. If this is true, every member of Western society ought to know well how to bake it! Conversely, some would say that any idiot can turn grain into food, but it is the true genius who can turn into a delightful malt beverage! Learn how to brew beer and never go thirsty!

…and that to make wine must surely be divine! Go here and learn how to make wine

Learning the basics of how to grow your own food is worthwhile, as well as knowing the the fundamentals of preserving (drying, or freezing, or canning) for long term storage. Hang around here long enough and you can learn something about that stuff….and how to cook some basic foods too.

For info about how to slaughter, eviscerate and bone a chicken, go, read this article.

To learn more about pork / hogs/ pigs go here. To learn how to butcher a steer or cow, or other large animals, like deer or elk.

Basic car maintenance is another area I am sorely lacking skills as well as common sense. I am simply not mechanically inclined.


What other life skills would you add to this list?




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    • Morning on September 24, 2014 at 4:00 am
    • Reply

    After finishing the whole page and all related links, let me say thanks for your sharing and the abundant information. The information is very very useful to help us to be a good person and avoid some injury when we are in dangerous circumstances. Among the above skills, I must admit that there are some areas I lack any knowledge,but I am sure that under the guideline of this article, I will become more and more independent.

    1. Thanks, Morning!
      I am pleased you enjoyed this short article with plenty of interesting info.

    • May on September 24, 2014 at 10:23 pm
    • Reply

    Thanks for sharing such an important artical/skills, which may save our lives one day. In the coming two or three years, I plan to learn swimming, driving and first-aid procedure. Wow! Also will learn to bake bread to become a good wife/daughter.(*^_^*) Thanks again.

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