What are life skills?

Life skills are social skills, thinking skills and emotional skills – and they’re all connected. They help you to connect, explore and navigate your world.

Explore what life skills are and how you can apply them by watching the film.

Deep dive into Life Skills


Creativity is using the imagination to explore the world in new ways, create something original and express yourself.

You are creative. Everyone is creative. We all use creativity every day in some way, it’s not just for artists and musicians. Scientists, engineers, teachers, doctors and farmers all use creativity in their work to develop new ideas, approach problems or in how they engage with the people they work with.

Creativity also helps us to express thoughts, feelings and hopes. It has also led us to some amazing scientific and technological developments that have shaped and influenced the world around us. In this fast-changing world, creativity is more crucial to our lives than ever before.

“You can’t use up creativity. The more your use, the more you have”

– Maya Aneglou, poet and activist

Creativity in a nutshell

Take a look at our short animation on creativity

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You can become more creative with practice. This article shares some great ideas to develop your creativity.

Try this

You can practice creativity. Practicing just a few minutes a day can make a big difference.

Why don’t you try this?

Get a portable notebook and make sure that at least once a day, you make a note of something. It could be an idea or something you see that interests you. You could even try freewritting (download the Taqaddam Life Skills App for tips on freewritting).

By spending just a few minutes a day in this way, you will start to notice more about your creativity.

Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking helps you make sense of the world. It is the ability to analyse and evaluate the world in order to form judgements, develop ideas and think for yourself.

Everyone has critical thinking abilities and it is a super important skill that means you can think in new ways and think independently. Critical thinkers see issues from all sides and take in new evidence in an open-minded way, even when it goes against what they already believe. Critical thinking allows you to solve problems in a better way as you are able to see the problem from all sides and find solutions that fit.

The World Health Organisation has deemed critical thinking an essential life skill for young people’s wellbeing, as it helps them to ‘recognise and assess factors that influence their attitudes and behaviours, such as values, peer pressure and the media.’ According to UNICEF, critical thinking is a helpful ‘meta-skill’ that helps us develop purposeful thinking processes, make sense of the world around us and be more resilient to challenges and changes.

“I don’t want other people to decide what I am. I want to decide that for myself.”

– Emily Watson

Critical thinking, in a nutshell

Take a look at our short animation on critical thinking

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‘Fake news’ is false information that is spread online and made to look like real news. It’s an important issue. Fake news can undermine our understanding of what’s really going on and spread nasty or dangerous information. By thinking more critically, you’ll be able to spot the fake news and avoid the spread of misinformation

Try this

Have a debate with yourself. 

  1. Record a voice note with a statement that you believe in.
  2. Listen back to it and disagree with yourself.
  3. Try and find points to support a different view to the one you have. You might surprise yourself.


Collaboration connects us with other people in positive and productive ways.

It’s about working effectively in teams with different types of people, and achieving common goals together. It means respecting everyone and their contributions, being flexible and making compromises if needed.

Collaboration includes a range of important skills, including cooperation, interpersonal skills, effective leadership, teamwork, active listening, empathy and conflict resolution. Collaboration contributes to social skills and developing good relationships, which is also part of building and strengthening communities.

Collaboration and spending time with different people can also have a positive impact on wellbeing, and particularly through the teenage years.

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships”

– Michael Jordan, Basketball Player

Collaboration in a nutshell

Take a look at our short animation on collaboration

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After winning the title of African Champions League 2006 for the team Al Ahly, Aboutrika gave a declaration which has been named by many newspapers as ‘The declaration of the Year’.

When newspaper reporters praised him and his goal which they considered the main reason for winning the tournament he replied, “We need to stop this habit of praising a definite player. It isn’t Aboutrika who got the cup, but the whole team. Without the others’ efforts, I can’t ever make anything. Football is a game played by many players.”

There are five key things that set successful teams apart (research conducted by Google):
Psychological safety. Feeling you take risks on this team without feeling insecure or embarrassed.
Dependability. Feeling you can count on each other to do high-quality work on time.
Structure and clarity. Goals, roles, and execution plans are clear.
Meaning of work. The work is personally important for each of the team.
Impact of work. A belief that the work you’re doing matters.

Try this

We humans are a part of different groups – including because of where we live, through shared interests, and online. We share many things with these communities, sometimes without noticing what we have in common and what connections we might have.

So, get your camera out and go explore!


Resilience is being able to cope well in difficult situations, and the ability to move forward positively from difficult situations. Individuals can be resilient, but also groups and whole communities.

However, it depends on the situation. You might feel resilient to some challenges and less resilient to others.

Some of the things that support resilience are:

  • Supportive networks, e.g. family and friends
  • A growth mindset, and learning from experiences
  • Being kind to yourself
  • Having a sense of purpose

Watch this

Being able to support others is not only important to those around you, but also contributes to caring for yourself too.

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Have you read the Harry Potter series? It’s one of the bestsellers of all time. However, despite the success the books have enjoyed, the author J.K. Rowling didn’t have an easy road to get to where she is now. J.K. Rowling lost her mother, went through a divorce and was left on the verge of poverty trying to bring up her daughter on her own. For J.K. Rowling, things couldn’t get much worse. Then one day, sitting on a train from Manchester to London, she had an idea about a boy wizard. After excitedly completing the first book, she was devastated to find that no one wanted to publish Harry Potter! She was rejected by twelve different publishing houses! J.K. Rowling refused to give up and one (very lucky) publisher accepted the book. J.K. Rowling is now one of the world’s most successful women and has brought joy to millions of people through her books. She has used her success to help others and has donated huge amounts of her wealth to good causes. She has even set up her own charity, Lumos, to help institutionalized children have a right to family life.

Try this

Coming back to the present moment builds your resilience. Practicing ways of being more present can help us to calm down if we are feeling anxious,

There are lots of ways to practice coming come back to the present moment. Here are two things that you can try right now.

Try the 5 finger meditation

  • Try noticing what’s going on through 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
  • Notice 5 things you can see right now
  • Notice 4 things you can feel right now
  • Notice 3 sounds you can hear right now
  • Notice 2 things you can smell right now
  • Notice one thing you can taste right now


Leadership is not just for politicians, CEOs and sports heroes. Its in all of us, all of the time.

Leadership can be from the front, but can also be from behind and within. It usually starts with purpose and passion and qualities of commitment and courage and honesty which are put into practice everyday

Watch this

This video shows that we should not see leadership as something bigger than us or beyond us. We can be leaders in our everyday lives

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“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

– Margaret Mead, Cultural Anthropologist

Try this

Everyday leadership Sketch an outline of a person. This person will represent a leader, and we will think about how leadership is about the heads, hearts and hands.

One by one write or draw on the person what you think represents leadership.

Head: What knowledge and thinking skills makes a great leader?

Heart: What values, principles and beliefs should a leader have?

Hands: How should a leader act, what do they do, what actions do they take?

Now, think about how these things are visible and used in our everyday lives? Where are your strengths, and what would you like to develop? What does everyday leadership mean to you?


Explore resources to help develop key life skills.