I have organized the material I am going to present on this platform into my ten tip top tips for life skills training, beginning with my number one tip top tip. Each tip points to a life skill I recommend you acquire.

The ten tips are presented like the tips of icebergs and each tip introduces one of the ten life skills. Underlying each tip are ten levels of information on each life skill. For each of the ten life skills, you can delve into any or all of the ten levels to acquire the information that level contains about the life skill being explained. This structure of presentation allows you to dive into the material on each subject to whatever depth you wish.

The following is a list of the ten levels of information below each tip. You may notice that I am using the letter T frequently to make the levels memorable for you.

  1. The training technique for each life skill
  2. A training tool template for each skill
  3. A trial test of each skill
  4. The target goal
  5.  Typical cases in point
  6. The theory behind each life skill
  7. Trying more trials to apply the life skill to more areas of your life
  8. Tracking your progress
  9. Take off and launch
  10. “Texts” recommended for further reading

    So, below each tip at Level l is a session of teaching a training technique of the life skill. Below the training technique at Level 2 is a training tool template to develop the skill. The level below the training tool is to try putting the life skill to a trial test under appropriate circumstances in your life as your own personal experiment to see for yourself if the life skill starts to make things work better for you. Sometimes trying something not unreasonable is a more effective and efficient way of learning than reasoning or arguing through it. Give it a try and see what happens. Then at Level 4 you should make a target goal for the level of competence you wish to achieve and maintain in each life skill. Below that level, I may present some cases in point to illustrate the topic. It is important to note that the cases presented are to illustrate patterns of issues and problems that we can all experience to some degree; they are not exclusive to patients in my practice. Beyond that depth, if you wish to take a deeper dive into the subject material, in Level 6 you can learn my theories upon which each tip is based. These are the “whys and wherefores” of my recommendations that you can assess for yourself. Remember that theories and rules have exceptions, so you will have to think about how and when the theory of each life skill applies to you.

    Level 7 is extending the skill to more and more applications in your life and hopefully finding the life skill increasingly useful. Then as time goes along, in Level 8 it is helpful for you to estimate and track your progress in achieving competence in the skill. This is comparable to tracking a batting average in baseball or like achieving grade levels in school, music, or martial arts. A simple method is tracking your estimated percent improvement from when you started training in the life skill. An example might be an estimated 30% or 70% improved. You should experience ongoing improvement. If not, don’t give up; you need to re-think how to make it work. Remember that progress is not always a steady upward slope. There may be days when it seems as though you are back to square one. Don’t be discouraged by temporary blips. Tracking progress in the longer term is more meaningful. Level 9 is the step to launch yourself away from the problems and issues that the particular life skill empowers you to rise above and leave behind.

    All that I have learned that could be useful for you is far too extensive to present on a platform like this. If you would like to delve still deeper into the subjects discussed, you may wish to pursue further reading at Level 10. For this purpose I can recommend four self-help books I have self-published, from which I extracted the material for the ten tips that I am presenting here. The four books can serve as “textbooks” for further information on the subject material, stress management, and mental health.

    I self-published the first book in 1985, entitled Calm, Cool, and Collected, which is about managing all the major stresses that people face in life. That book took me two years to write. Then, instead of spending time and energy on promoting it, I spent the next two years writing Taking Happiness Seriously. There are many pathways to happiness and in that book I discuss a most reliable source of happiness: you inside yourself. The next book was more difficult for me to write and it took me ten years to complete because of the complexity of the subject material. I entitled the book All About You in a Nutshell, which deals with your identity, who you really are, your past, present, and future, and other issues of you as a person. More recently I completed my fourth book after another ten years of writing. It is entitled Re-thinking Thinking. It took me that long to write because when it comes to smart thinking, there is a lot to think about! Of course, while I was writing these books, I was also engaged in a busy full-time psychiatric practice, married, raised three children, and engaged in other activities in my life. My present project is this self-help website.

    My prescription for these ten life skills is for you to train in each of them, unaltered as described. I hope you will find them life-changing mental workouts. Spend enough time on each one of them to achieve at least a beginner’s level of competence. That may require forty hours of training. Then add the next life skill, preferably in the order they are presented. Each life skill becomes a tool in your toolbox for managing your life. For best results, all ten life skills need to work together. Deficiency in even one of the ten life skills may seriously weaken your resilience and management of your life. If you achieve competence in all ten life skills, you become a “Ten” and you should be well on your way to mental health, love, happiness, and more success in whatever you choose to do.

    Training in any skill is not easy. As I have said, to achieve beginners’ competence may take forty hours. I estimate to become an expert may take 4,000 hours over maybe four years of training, and even more to achieve what I call masters’ degree of competence. Achieving life skills is difficult, but the goals are worthy and the effort is well worthwhile. After all, it is your one and only life we are talking about.

    I have a disclaimer that is important for you to understand. All the material I present on this platform and in my books represent my own opinions and are offered only as food for thought for your consideration. The content should not substitute the advise of your physician or other trained healthcare providers. Consult the appropriate professionals regarding all matters concerning your physical or mental health and well-being, and any other issues that may require medical or other attention, before undertaking any approach to the subject material discussed on this platform or in my books. Life skills training can be more difficult in the presence of any psychiatric disorder. Medication and formal psychotherapy can be helpful, sometime I would say, essential. Consult your healthcare professionals as necessary regarding these treatments.

    In addition, as this website evolves, changes to the content may be made without notice.

    Now, to give you an idea of where we are going with my top ten tips, let’s list the life skills they refer to in the order they are presented.

     The ten life skills:


    Smart thinking

    Boundary setting

    Creating order

    Engaging your own reality

    Priority setting

    Social intelligence


    Good goal setting

    High Performance


    Of course, there are other useful life skills, but my ten Tip Top Tips refer to these. Can you guess which one of these life skills is my number 1 Tip Top Tip?

    Before we proceed, I have a tip about the tips. Give them all a good try even if you have to push yourself to do so or if you encounter difficulties you have to overcome along the way. You may find the difficulties are inside you rather than outside. I hope the process stimulates your interest in achieving life skills and that you find it all worthwhile and rewarding.


    John Hunchak, MD

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