Learning & Skill Bucket List
To keep learning is to literally give your brain a workout. The stronger your brain is, the less likely it is to deteriorate as you get older. The more you learn, the quicker you’ll find yourself picking up new skills – until finally you become an unstoppable learning machine! Plus, it makes you more interesting and gives you things to talk about, and you might find you’re really good at something you’d never even considered! So why not level up and try a few of these skills bucket list items?
Bonjour, Shalom, Guten tag, Yasou, Namaste, Ni hao, Hola, Salve, Sawasdee, Ola, xin chao, Merhaba, Zdravstvuyte, Konnichiwa, Hujambo. That’s some freebies to get you started. When traveling, you should always be able to say at least a greeting in the country you’re visiting – it’s only polite.
Once you learn a few basic principles, all your photos will immediately start to look more profesh. Knowing how to balance a photo, use contrast to make it pop, and proportion it correctly will make all the difference to your snaps. Soon people will be begging you to take their pics!
At one point or another, everybody has fantasized about running away and joining the circus – put something on your resume and learn to juggle! Juggling improves your motor skills and balance, and is always a good party trick (though if you’re at someone else’s house, maybe stick to pieces of fruit and not their family heirlooms…)
Origami is the ancient Japanese art of paper folding. As you learn, you can create increasingly complex and intricate designs. It’s also good for mental concentration and fine motor skills – always good to keep the brain ticking!
If you drive a car, you should know how to change a tire – and if you’re a woman, even more so. You may not always have access to help when you’re on the road, and being stuck in the middle of nowhere leaves you incredibly vulnerable. It’s not as physically difficult as you might think, and most cars have all the tools you need in the trunk anyway.
Ballroom dancing is great if you want to learn something with your partner, as you’ll have to work together on timing, steps, and technique. Being able to bust out a proper tango at the next wedding you go to though, that will be impressive.
Being able to speak more than one language is more than just really impressive – it’s also great for your brain. It also improves your understanding of your own language, as you have to negotiate how words and sentences are formed and where the meaning comes from.
Jumping off a building or high platform is terrifying, and requires a lot of trust – trust that the giant inflatable pillow below will actually catch you, but also trust in yourself to jump properly. It might look easy from below, but once you’re up there that giant airbag starts to look a whole lot smaller.
There’s nothing tawdry about pole dancing these days (unless you want to do it sexily, in which case go right ahead!) Being able to hold yourself horizontally on a pole requires incredible core strength and grip, let alone performing any tricks or spinning around with your hands. Give it a go and you’ll be left marveling at those ladies at the bar next time you’re there.
Bachelor’s Degrees are hard – not just because the work is hard, but because you’re committing yourself to three or four full years of study. Coming out of it knowing that you can write an essay, structure an argument, and absorb new concepts, is an amazing feeling. And of course, it always looks good on a resume.
It makes you look confident and sophisticated, so whether you’re starting your own baking channel on YouTube or entertaining a visitor who decided to stay for breakfast, nonchalantly cracking an egg with one hand is something you need to practice.
You don’t have to be a barista to make fancy lattes at home. The key to good latte art is in the silky smoothness of the milk – if you can heat that up so it’s nice and creamy, then good art should follow. Start off easy by doing a love heart, and see if you can move up to the clover, the leaf, or something even more intricate!
Everyone should know how to help if they’re in an emergency situation – knowing what to do when someone stops breathing can save precious minutes and mean the difference between life and death. A one-day course will give you the ability to confidently respond in a crisis, and you may end up being a hero!
Being able to speak Spanish will help you stand out in a competitive job market, communicate with people better, work abroad if you’d like to, and understand your own language better! It’s also the second most spoken language in the US and is the national language of most of Latin America, and of course Spain.
Yoga is both meditative and restorative for your body and your mind. It helps you connect to your body through concentrating on your breathing and movements, and is great for working on your flexibility and balance. While you may not feel like you’re working out too hard at the time, you’ll likely wake up pretty sore the next day – a good sign!
Ever seen those genius kids who can solve a cube in less than ten seconds? Show offs. While it looks like a complicated puzzle game, a Rubik’s Cube is basically just a set of algorithms (everything always comes back to maths…). There’s one in pretty much every home – don’t let it sit there and mock you any longer!
Reading more makes you smarter, that’s just a fact. Reading a wide variety of topics and styles makes your vocabulary better and exposes you to different perspectives and ways of thinking. By creating your own library, you can share your favourite books with others, and help them develop their love of reading.
An emergency kit is always good in case of a natural disaster. Include things like batteries, a first aid kit, a portable radio, drinking water, and a torch. Think about anything you’d need to help you stay connected if your home lost power for a few days. In this rapidly changing climate, you can’t be too careful!
So much communication these days is through typing, and learning to type without looking is basically like being able to speak a language fluently. Concentrate on putting your fingers in the right spots so you understand where the different keys are without having to search for each one – you’ll be surprised how much easier and faster it is.
A master’s degree is literally displaying a mastery of a field of study and is the next highest certification after a bachelor’s degree. Generally, you’re expected to have a high level of both theoretical and practical understanding of your field. If you’ve got a bachelor’s and are still working away in the same area, why not upgrade your skills to a master’s level? It’s impressive and will keep you at the top of your game.
If you love study and want to be an absolute leader of your field, why not try for a PHD? You’ll be able to call yourself Doctor (and have all mail addressed to you as such), have peer reviewed papers that others will refer to, and add to the ever-growing mass of human knowledge. How fun!
No matter how technologically advanced our society becomes, people will always want a massage from a human being. Being able to provide relief for people’s aches and pains is an amazing gift, and it’s a skill that you can take anywhere in the world. Work for yourself or in a clinic, or just have it as a nice thing to be able to do for family and friends.
They say that nothing will give you more confidence than being able to shoot a gun. While owning one may not be the best decision for you, going to a shooting range and understanding proper gun safety might at least mean you can share that knowledge or prevent someone else from mishandling a firearm. Plus, shooting ranges are quite fun.
Rollerblading is great fun and an amazing workout (rollerbladers have great butts, believe me). Learning on blades is actually much easier than trying skates – just make sure you put those knee and wrist pads on, you’ll land pretty hard the first few times!
The violin is one of the hardest instruments to master, but it’s very worth it. Violins are versatile and sound amazing in a wide range of musical genres – you might think they’re just classical, but try playing your favourite song on one and see how good it sounds. They can be eerie or fun, jaunty or haunting.
Snorkeling isn’t hard to get the hang of, once you trust that the tube will in fact allow you to breathe. Have uninterrupted views of the teeming sea life below as you paddle over coral reefs and shipwrecks. It’s something you can do with the whole family!
Ever watched Survivor and wondered how you’d fare if you were stuck in the bush? Being able to start a fire from scratch would definitely help you last a bit longer – whether you want to cook something, boil water, stay warm, or flag for help, being able to start a fire is a fundamental skill. It’s why they make you learn it in Girl Guides and Boy Scouts.
It’s more than just putting all your fave tunes into a playlist – DJ-ing is about reading the room, understanding what kind of music people want to hear, and blending each song seamlessly into the next so that there’s never a lull on the dancefloor. Whether you’re DJ-ing at the hottest club or your brother’s Bat Mitzvah, watching everyone get excited about a song you just put on is a great feeling.
Whether you’re sitting around a high stakes table in Vegas or in your mate’s basement, playing poker is a good time. Learning how to play makes you quite quick at basic math, and you need to be very observant to understand what cards everybody else might have. There are skills for life in poker!
Humans have been riding horses for centuries. Sure, we might have many more efficient modes of transport these days, but the connection between man and horse remains. Get back to nature and take a ride on a horse – sitting on top of something that could choose to buck you off at any moment kind of reminds you that we don’t have control over everything, and that sometimes unpredictable can be good.
If you play a musical instrument and you can play 101 different songs, you are fairly proficient at that instrument. Plus you’d know a song for every occasion, and be able to bust out the most appropriate song whenever it’s needed.
Are you sick of using buildings and streets exactly as they were intended? The world could be your jungle gym, if only you had the guts to climb where most people wouldn’t. With parkour you learn both your body’s limits and what it’s capable of, and you’ll find yourself looking at the world in a much more 3D kind of way.
Whether it’s for exercise, sport, or you happen to live on the wrong side of a frozen lake, ice skating is a great skill to have. It’s also surprisingly easy once you get the hang of it (and stop freaking out that there are literal blades on your feet).
Anyone can shoot a rabbit – it takes someone extremely powerful to command a falcon to go and catch it for you. While it’s a bit of a weird skill and one that’s unlikely to be useful all that often, if you really like hanging out with birds this could be a good one for you!
You can do certified Hypnosis Courses at some TAFEs and Community colleges. If you believe in such things, hypnosis can help cure people of their addictions, anxieties, and depression (though usually in combination with certified psychological practices). Be careful when practicing it, however – the human mind is both powerful and vulnerable.
Understanding how to work with wood can help you with repairs around the house or making intricate pieces of art. People have been making things out of wood for millennia, so learning this time-honored tradition is a beautiful way to spend some time and make something with your own two hands.
Why pay someone to do something that’s really quite simple? Once the oil in a car gets too old, it can damage the engine. All you have to do is drain the old oil out into a pan, then refill with new oil. You’ll immediately feel the difference when you drive.
The six official languages of the United Nations are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish. Annoyingly, they are all very different languages, so there’ll be very little crossover between them. We’d recommend doing one at a time, as it could all get a bit complicated if you go too hard too soon.
A polyglot is a very pretentious way of referring to someone who is proficient in several languages. Being able to speak a few different languages is great for your brain health, and culturally it will help you fit in better when you travel. While it’s hard to become native-level good once you get older, you can still learn to speak a few languages fluently enough to get by.
It’s so weird to think there’s probably a bunch of countries you’ve never even heard of. Expand your horizons and become really useful on pub trivia nights and learn about every country. Tip – there are 195 of them (as of 2019 – it changes more than you’d think!). Get studying!
If you’re going to commit to going to university and getting a degree, you may as well try your absolute best. Get your assignments in on time, study hard for exams, do the extra credit stuff, and you’ll find you get as much out of your time at university as you put in.
A dive course is usually a two-day course which shows you how to properly use the gear and how to go deep without getting decompression sickness and is definitely recommended if you want to go diving out in the deep ocean. There’s so much to see, and so much unexplored, that this is definitely worth doing.
The Japanese invented many of the most popular forms of martial arts today, including Karate, Jiu Jitsu, Judo, and Aikido (as well as creating the feared Ninja). You would probably want to be at least intermediate level at any of these forms of martial art before attempting them in Japan – if only because it is very likely they will run the class in Japanese. Learning from the absolute masters would provide a new depth of understanding to your discipline.
Even if you think that you’re pretty handy around a kitchen already, attending a cooking class will show you something you didn’t know. It could be a chopping technique, a flavor combo you hadn’t considered, or a trick to BBQing the perfect pork ribs – whatever it is, learning how to cook better is never a waste of time.
Chess is the ultimate game of tactics and will help you develop patience and thoughtfulness. It is also good for helping you to recognize patterns and think ahead. And it’s a nice way to spend some quality time with your Dad or Granddad.
Arabic is the official language of 25 countries in the Middle East and Northern Africa and is one of the six official languages of the UN. It’s notoriously hard for English speakers to learn though, due to reading the script right to left and the use of a completely different alphabet. It might take some time but it’s definitely worth pursuing!
German is a popular language to learn, potentially because it seems harder than it actually is. Plus, they have words for things we don’t even dare to think of (like Schadenfreude – literally ‘the pleasure derived from someone else’s misfortune’). As always, learning a new language around native speakers is the best way to get fluent quickly.
They say that English is one of the hardest languages to learn because there are rules for everything, and an exception to every rule. English has certainly been influenced and warped by many different languages – understanding which words come from Latin roots and which from Greek is a good way to get started.
Knitting is no longer just for old ladies – these days everyone is taking it up! If you want to start small, maybe knit a sweater for a child you know, then work your way up. Once you’re wearing your own sweaters, that’s when you know you’ve made it.
Sometimes it’s hard to find a scarf in the color or style you want. So why not make one yourself! There’s a reason most beginner-knitters start with scarves – it’s much easier to knit in a straight line than to have to navigate sleeves, collars, and any additional pictures someone might want on there. Knitting is an age-old skill, and a very calming pastime.
No matter what form of martial arts you choose to practice, the thing they all have in common is self-discipline (that and pajama-like outfits). By achieving a black belt, you have mastered the steps, the moves, but also yourself.
Being able to write well is a skill that helps you in every facet of your life. You’ll be able to communicate your ideas better at work, write cute love letters to your spouse or sidepiece, and maybe even start your own website (don’t do bucket lists, that’s already covered).
If you’re really into pasta, then it makes sense you travel to Italy and learn from the people who not only invented pasta, but eat it every day of their lives. Not only do you learn how to make it more authentically, you learn about the philosophy and history of your favorite cuisines – something which is much harder to take from a cookbook.
Breakdancing is an athletic style of street dancing that involves jumping, flipping, and spinning on your head. It’s heavily linked to the hip hop scene and is considered to be very cool. Learn some moves then challenge someone to a dance-off!
The didgeridoo is a wind instrument developed and played by the Indigenous peoples of Northern Australia. It’s played with a special breathing technique called circular breathing, which makes it an especially difficult instrument to master (or even play). The deep, continuous nature of the sound makes it quite hypnotic to listen to.
Everyone has tried to lasso something at some point. If you have, you’d know it’s actually way harder than it looks. Head out to a ranch and get a real cowboy to show you how it’s done – by the end you might even be able to rustle up some cattle!
The piano is one of the most beautiful and versatile instruments – once you have the basics down, you can play a keyboard, a keytar, anything! Learn to play some Bach or Chopin, or just cover your favorite pop songs. Whatever you decide to play, you know it’s impressive when someone has a piano in their house and you just walk up and break out a tune.
While it’s a very dangerous thing to practice, fire breathing does look really cool. Key tip is to practice with water to get the hang of spitting a fine spray without dribbling it on yourself. Otherwise you may literally burn your own face off.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a grappling style of martial art where you wrestle on the ground and attempt to pin your opponent. It is known as a fighting style which incapacitates an aggressor rather than hurting them and is great for self-confidence and core strength.
Idioms are always funny when they’re translated out of their native language, so why not take your own phrase or idiom and see how they translate into other languages? Chances are they’ll make absolutely no sense, but as the French say for some reason, ‘J’ai d’autres chats a fouetter!’ (I have other cats to whip!).
Beatboxing is a kind of vocal percussion – literally making drum and music sounds with your mouth. You’ll definitely annoy everyone you know with your new hobby, but don’t worry! There’s a whole community of like-minded beatboxers you can join instead.
You need to have a basic level of fitness to play the bagpipes as they are quite a physically demanding instrument – you need a lot of air to keep them going! They certainly sound like no other instrument, and have a rich history to them.
Walk above the masses and get yourself some stilts. You can either purchase them or make them out of wooden poles yourself, though do keep in mind that it’s going to hurt if you fall off them. Then make yourself some really long pants and get strutting!
Italian is one of the romance languages, and the closest to Latin, from which English is derived. That means a lot of Italian words will feel similar to English, and you’ll be able to work out words and phrases. Plus, imagine roaming the hills of Italy and being able to speak Italian with the people in the villages. Molto bene!
Truly get in touch with your own body and learn the balance and poise of ballet. You’ll develop better posture, more coordination, and more flexibility. Plenty of people pick up ballet when they’re adults, so don’t think that you’ve missed the boat because you stopped your lessons when you were five.
Also known as the mouth organ, the harmonica has been used in blues and jazz for decades. Oddly, it’s also been used in pulmonary rehabilitation due to the need for a strong diaphragm and deep breathing using your whole lungs. So learning the harmonica will actually make you fitter and stronger!
The musical instrument of the heavens, the harp is one of those instruments that’s easy to play as a beginner, but hard to get really good at. You don’t really see many people playing the harp these days, so it will certainly be a good conversation starter!
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