It’s no doubt that learning hard skills such as math, physics, and writing are important to a teenager’s academic and professional success. However, soft skills are just as important, yet never directly addressed.
Hard skills are teachable abilities and objective skill sets that are easy to quantify. Hard skills are mostly related to “left brain thinking” – the logical center.
Soft skills on the other hand, are related to “right brain thinking” – the emotional center. Soft skills are subjective skills that are much harder to quantify, yet are just as crucial to one’s success. Soft skills are also known as “people skills” or “interpersonal skills” because it relates to how you relate to and interact with other people. Soft skills involve a large degree of self-awareness and emotional intelligence.
Hard skills are taught starting in preschool, yet soft skills are rarely directly taught.
The reason why soft skills are not directly taught in schools is because they are hard to quantify. High school is the perfect environment to learn soft skills, yet teens usually lack the awareness of what soft skills are, why they need them, and how to improve them.
As more young adults from the post-internet generation enter college and the workforce, it has become increasingly clear that their lack of soft skills is having a negative impact on their personal and professional lives.
According to a 2015 article in USA Today, “The problem isn’t that new grads don’t have the right degrees or technical know-how. Only 10% of employers said there weren’t enough graduates with the appropriate degrees…But employers are troubled by graduates’ lack of soft skills. Many report that college grads are lacking in people skills and have trouble solving problems and thinking creatively.”
Fortunately, soft skills are indeed skills, and like any skill, they can be improved if one commits to learning, improving, and practicing them.