Thinking, Speaking, and Writing well are the three most important social skills

— Mark Ford

Today, I’d like to talk about the most important skills we need to be successful in life. … I’ve identified about a dozen skills I believe are important to a successful life. Of these, three are fundamental: thinking well, speaking well, and writing well.

Thinking well means having the capacity to reason. It means being able to assess, analyze, and solve problems. It means being able to create and follow a trend of thought. It means being able to recognize good ideas from bad ones. It means understanding logic.

Having the ability to think well gives a person a great competitive advantage. It allows him to solve problems and accomplish objectives quickly and efficiently. It distinguishes him as a smart and capable person. Thinking well is the basis for all of the other important social skills, as you will soon see.

In my view, speaking well is the second most important social skill.

As with thinking well, we need to make a distinction here. Speaking well involves grammar and diction, but these are not as important as the ability to express worthy thoughts concisely and clearly.

However good your grammar and diction may be, you can’t speak well if you have trouble “saying” what you “mean.” To become a good speaker, you must practice the skill of speaking concisely. And you must also develop the habit of saying things that are worth saying.

The third most important social skill is writing well.

Writing well is dependent on speaking well, and speaking well is dependent on thinking well. So if you educate your children to think and speak well, it will be quite easy to teach them to become good writers.

Again, writing well is the skill of expressing worthy ideas concisely and clearly on paper. Writing well demands some additional facilities beyond those of speaking well, but for the most part, if you can speak well, you can also write well.

Thinking, speaking, and writing well are the three most important social skills. If your children learn these, they will be set for life. They will have the ability to analyze problems, find solutions for them, and thus be seen as problem solvers. They will be able to stand out in any social group (at work or outside of work) by their abilities to express good ideas concisely and clearly. Plus, if they acquire good manners, they won’t have to pay the cost of treating other people badly.”

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