Life Skills KNEC NOTES – Diploma Business Management

Life Skills Notes - KNEC Diploma

Chapter 1: Introduction to Life Skills

Definition of Life Skills

Life skills are “abilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life” (WHO, 1994).

Life skills promotes development of positive attitudes and behavior; knowing how to cope with stress; knowing how to identify, analyze and resist the negative effects of gender discrimination and, in turn, developing positive gender attitudes; making informed decisions on matters that affect people and practice healthy behaviors; as well as acting positively and effectively when confronted with difficult situation

Benefits of Life skills

  • Health benefits

Life skills education addresses the combination of psychological and social factors that contribute to healthy behavior

The implementation of life skills education in schools addresses the needs of all children

The promotion of personal and social skills is an important aspect of health promotion intervention that aim to empower the individual to promote his/her own health as well as the health of others and of the community

  • Education Benefits

Life skills education introduces learner-centered and interactive teaching method which can have a positive impact on:

    • The relationships between teachers and pupils o young people’s enjoyment of learning
    • Teacher’s job satisfaction
    • Rates of drop outs and absenteeism from school

Life skills have impact on the teaching of academic subjects

There are indications that life skills education can have positive impact on academic performance.

  • Social benefits

Life skills education helps to clarify the needs of young people growing and so result in less delinquency among adolescents

  • Cultural Benefits

Life skills education helps to clarify the of young people growing up in modern societies Life skills education is of particular value to young people growing in multicultural societies

  • Economic Benefits

Life skills education, and skills promoted, appear to be amongst the ones most highly valued by the future employers of young people

Early prevention can be expected to reap maximum rewards in regard to healthy society, especially since the health and social problems prevalent today have at their root at component a human behavior

  • Political Benefits

Life skills education addresses the needs of the child as specified in the United Nations Convention on the a Rights of the Child

Categories of Life Skills

Life Skills can be categorized into three major categories: Communication and Interpersonal Skills, Decision Making and Critical Thinking Skills, and Coping and Self-Management Skills (WHO, 2001).

Living values and our lives

Living Values are the principles of life that have been adopted in the international education approach, which focus on children of all ages, genders, cultures & religions. They encompass all values of common or universal humanity.

The twelve common living or universal values are:

  • Peace: Peace is the original quality of the self. In its purest form, peace is inner silence. It consists of positive thoughts, pure feelings and good wishes to have peace you need patience. When you are peaceful, you create an atmosphere of peace. Peace in the world can only be realized. When there is peace in the minds of man.
  • Love: Where there is love, there is a world. Love looks on all with a vision of equality. Love is all giving without any thought of a return. A heart that has love is able to accommodate. The whole universe and still has space for more. Selfless love is truly unlimited; it forgets and forgives the weakness and sees only beauty and specialties in everyone.
  • Respect: This is about placing value on the life and existence of self and others.
  • Tolerance: The ability to tolerate situations enhances quietness and internal happiness. Tolerance enables a person to accommodate various circumstances.
  • Responsibility: every person has a role to play in this world. Responsibility requires each individual to perform their duty diligently and as required.
  • Humility: Humility is dedication to the extent that no acknowledgement is sought for the self. Humility allows you to learn. There is great strength in humility. It never holds on to anyone for support. Everyone bows down to those who bow down first.
  • Honesty: Speak with honesty and you will get a chance to learn. The one who is honest will speak about themselves first, not about others. Others won’t get impressed by your words.
  • Cooperation: It is based on faith, love, trust and understanding. It is not a bargaining game, in which one person’s success is achieved at the expense of another’s Real cooperation takes place when there are good wishes and pure feelings for each other.
  • Happiness: There is happiness when each moment is used in a worthwhile way. Happiness is such nourishment that it can transform a person, from weak to powerful, it makes difficult things easy heavy things light. To remain happy and share happiness with others is the greatest act of charity. No matter what happens, your happiness should not be lost.
  • Simplicity: Simplicity is identifying and being comfortable with those elaborate circumstances which shape our lives without worrying or making matters complicated.
  • Freedom: Freedom starts in the mind. Understanding the self is the key to freedom. The more one understand the self, the easier it is to be liberated from waste. Freedom means to be uninfluenced, Unaffected and to be at peace with the self. True freedom is to experience the true essence of one’s being and that is peace.
  • Unity: Unity is harmony within and amongst individuals. It is built from a shared vision and for the common good. Unity is appreciating the values of each Individual and their unique contributions.

Understanding the living values of humanity helps in enhances awareness of values and value-based systems of learning in the community.

Living values helps learners to understand their worth and purpose in life. It promotes integrity and peace in the society.

Living values education also enhances individual development and cultural heritage by emphasizing positive values.

Awareness of living values is necessary for humanity to flourish for a long time.

Relationship between life skills and living values

Life skills are supported by living values. A person with humility and tolerance develops the life skills of being sociable and relating well with others. Happiness also enhances the development of life skills such as positive interpersonal relations and emotional strength. Furthermore, developing living values is necessary in promoting collaboration and teamwork skills. A person who has unity and love is able to work effectively with others in teams. Think of other ways in which values and life skills are interrelated, such as developing the skills to manage stress b adopting the values of humility and tolerance.

Chapter 2: Self-Awareness

Life Skills Can be categorized into Three Groups:

  1. Skills of Knowing and Living with One Self

Self-Awareness

Awareness Self-awareness is the ability to appreciate oneself, including the strong and weak points of one’s character. It is the knowledge of one self in terms of what one can do and what one cannot do. This realization enables one to take action and make choices and decisions which are consistent with one’s abilities. This enables people to:

  • Recognize the weak and strong aspects of one’s behavior
  • Recognize the weak and strong sides of one’s own thoughts and abilities
  • Differentiate what one can do or can’t do by herself/ himself
  • Recognize things which cannot be changed, and accept them.
  • Recognize whatever people may say, each person is different and should value himself or herself for being unique
  • Recognize one’s own unique talents

People need to have a clear sense of their identity, understanding of past experiences and influences, culture and family background. Proper understanding on oneself enhances the ability to use other life skills effectively. Self-awareness helps individuals get better aquatinted with their feelings, emotions, attitudes, hopes, dreams, physical bodies, who they are, where they are going, how to get there, and it gives them ability to cope with challenges they are likely to encounter in their lives.

Some Values associated with self-awareness skill include:

  • Respect
  • Humility
  • Love
  • Happiness
  • Freedom

Chapter 3: Self-Esteem

Definition of Self-Esteem

Self-esteem refers to how an individual feels about personal aspects such as appearance, abilities and behavior and grows on the basis of their experiences of being competent and successful in what they attempt. It enables an individual to evaluate his or her self-worth. This is determined by how one values him or himself in terms of physical and psychological status. How one feels influences his or her actions towards others. This is largely influenced by the person’s socialization with family members, friends, teachers, peers, and others.

Signs of a Person with High Self-Esteem

Self-esteem refers to how an individual feels about personal aspects such as appearance, abilities and behavior and grows on the basis of their experiences of being competent and successful in what they attempt. It enables an individual to evaluate his or her self-worth. This is determined by how one values him or himself in terms of physical and psychological status. How one feels influences his or her actions towards others. This is largely influenced by the person’s socialization with family members, friends, teachers, peers, and others.

Signs of a Person with Low Self-Esteem

  • Difficulties in speaking up one’s mind
  • Feeling guilty and saying “I’m Sorry” always
  • Always following what others are doing or saying, e.g. wearing what others wear.
  • Not being able to make independent choices
  • Doing things or buying gifts excessively for others
  • Having negative perception about yourself

Importance of High Self-Esteem

  • Being yourself and always staying happy with purpose, goals, values and vision of life
  • Enables someone to appreciate different opinions, leading to positive relations with others.
  • Leads to the ability to express oneself and enables a person to defend their actions and stand by their principles.
  • Enables people to face their challenges and overcome them
  • People with high self-esteem do not fear uncertainties, and reduce anxiety and stress in their lives.
  • People with high self-esteem develop resilience to help them deal with the ups and downs of life.
  • Getting along well with others and maintaining relationships without needing approval.

Factors that Enhance High or Low Self-Esteem/factors that affect self-esteem

  • Parents/family: the general atmosphere in the family contributes more to people’s view of themselves than any event. The parents input carries a considerable great weight on development of self-esteem
  • Physical appearance: people formulate a mental image of themselves from the praises or ridicule of others regarding their appearance. This includes height, weight, complexion, symmetrical features of the face and body.
  • Education: people tend to formulate a metal picture of self-based on their success and failure in the eyes of significant others
  • Friends and Peers: one of the pillars of self-esteem is acceptance. Peer may confirm what one has been taught at home. The nicknames and jokes about each other can hurt, thus affecting ones self-esteem. They cut deep and chop at positive aspects of self-image.
  • Culture: As adults, people are constantly searching for approval and security in their relationships with others.
  • Stereotyping: stereotype is a form of discrimination
  • Authority Figures: constant put-down can affect ones personality negatively, while affirmation of one’s performance and positive criticisms will enhance one’s self-esteem
  • Significant others: many people will glow when they feel and know they are loved for who they are. The opposite of this e.g. constant criticisms will affect one’s self esteem negatively
  • Engaging in self-defeating behavior patterns: these block achievements of a possible meaningful life. People then choke under pressure and make poor decisions that entrench focus on negativity.

Effects of Low Self-Esteem

  • Poor self-esteem distorts the massages people receive from others, and the way people interpret events in life. It filters out the positive message and leaves people feeling negative about themselves
  • Unhealthy Relationships are common because one is unable to relate with people without fear of rejection
  • Poor choice of marriage partners is also common e.g. A very educated man who has poor self-esteem may choose to marry a woman with very inferior education so that he can be able to control her
  • Low self-esteem can result in constant feelings of fear and guilt that can be very crippling to one’s advancement in life. They may never realize their full potential due to fear
  • One can develop personality disorders.
  • One is generally unhappy
  • Vulnerability to sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV &AIDS, physical and emotional abuse
  • Indulgence in drug abuse.

Ways of Boosting Self-Esteem

  • When people grasp their self-worth, they are empowered with confidence and courage to handle life difficulties.
  • People can learn that they have the potential to be rational. They have the capacity to make appropriate choices, they are emotional beings – they have the ability to feel; they can act on what they have heard; and have eternity within themselves.
  • Acquiring new choices: to be made when negative circumstances come is part of rebuilding process
  • Learning to forgive those who hurt us in the past is another part of rebuilding process
  • Praise/acknowledging effort.
  • Practicing healthy habits
  • Setting goals and pursuing them.
  • Grooming well and maintaining good physical appearance.

Topic 4: Stress Management

Definition of Stress

Stress refers to the reaction of a body to changes in the environment that requires adjustment or response. Human bodies respond to changes through emotional, mental and physical reactions. Stress can be positive to keep us alert and ready for changes in life; but when the body is exposed to continuous challenges without rest it leads to negative stress, which can be the cause of tension and depression. The body reacts automatically to physiological changes that cause stress through the nervous system.

Causes of Stress

Stress can be caused by various factors that lead to changes and responses of the nervous system. Some causes of stress include:

  • Conflicts
  • Growth and development
  • Peer pressure
  • Poor communication with relatives and friends
  • Poor time management
  • The need to belong to a social group
  • Exposure to significant pressure
  • Having worries about something – causing mental stress
  • Exposure to uncertainties such as job insecurity, business risks, etc.
  • Going through overwhelming challenges and responsibilities
  • Being unable to control the situation

Effects of Stress

Stress has significant effects or outcomes on the body, mind and soul. When someone faces significant stress, the body reacts by releasing hormones through the nervous system. Such hormones causes the person to fight or take off. This is called “fight or flight” reaction. This can cause the heartbeat rate to increase, the breathing to be faster, and muscles to become more tensed. A person can also start sweating. The body usually recovers from such temporary reactions (acute stress) Short-term stress results in mild health issues such as:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of concentrating
  • Difficulties in sleeping
  • Stomach upsets
  • Irritation

If the stress persists for a long time, it may result to more serious health problems:

  • Depression
  • Asthma
  • Arthritis
  • Anxiety
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart diseases.
  • Abnormal heartbeat
  • Heart Attack
  • Obesity
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Fertility problems

Copying With Stress

The strategies of copying with stress include:

  • Communicating effectively
  • Positive attitudes towards self
  • Sharing our feelings with others
  • Exercising regularly
  • Seeking social support
  • Eating balanced diet
  • Removing the source of stress
  • Seeking counselling
  • Accept situations that you can’t control
  • Be assertive and proactive rather than being reactive
  • Use relaxation techniques such as yoga
  • Manage your time effectively
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol

Forms of Positive Stress

Positive stress is referred to as eustress. It includes different forms such as:

  • Travel
  • Falling in love
  • Changes in life such as an upcoming wedding/marriage
  • Beginning something or a new process
  • Experiencing new things in life such as pregnancies

Values Associated with Positive Stress Management

  • Peace
  • Tolerance
  • Unity
  • Cooperation
  • Simplicity

Chapter 5: Coping With Emotion

Definition of Emotions

Emotions refer to the strong feelings experienced by a person emanating from personal circumstances and moods or relationship with other people. It is an instinctive feeling that is free of reason or logic. One’s feelings are determined by a person’s senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. Accordingly, the process of coping with stress entails managing one’s inner feelings, especially when faced with negative feelings such as anger, sorrow, sadness, shock and anxiety.

Good and Bad Feelings

Good Feelings

Some of the good feelings that a person may experience include:

  • Happiness
  • Interest
  • Joy
  • Excitement
  • Curiosity
  • Love
  • Contentment
  • Gratitude

Negative Emotions

Examples bad feelings include:

  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • Jealousy
  • Loneliness
  • Self-criticism
  • Fear
  • Rejection
  • Disgust

Causes of Good and Bad Emotions

Good emotions are often caused by certain factors such as:

  • When one reaches or achieves their goal
  • Family support or unity
  • Self-improvement or satisfaction
  • Acceptance in a group which brings sense of belonging
  • Experiencing or living with good health
  • Fulfilment of personal wishes or expectations
  • Effective time management
  • Clean and conducive environment

Meaning of Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EQ) refers to the ability to understand and manage one’s emotions positively to reduce stress, communicate, and relate well with others.

It is also the ability of a person to identify their emotions and those of others, and being able to respond positively to such emotions.

Emotional intelligence can be seen when someone is has high self-awareness and understands their feelings. High emotional intelligence is also characterized by calmness, taking control of situations and thoughts, appreciating the feelings of others, taking criticism positively, not overreacting to issues, showing authenticity, praising others, giving meaningful feedback, forgiving others, and apologizing.

Feelings Which Can Lead to Risky Behavior

Bad feelings can sometimes lead to self-destruction. When someone experiences some emotions, they can react negatively. Here is a list of feelings that can lead to risky behaviors:

  • Sadness: when someone is sad, they can commit suicide or hurt others
  • Excitement: When excited, a person can overindulge in things such as celebrations through drinking making noise.
  • Bitterness: Bitterness can cause someone to take revenge and harm others.
  • Anger: Anger can also cause damages to property, self, or others.

Ways of Coping with Negative Emotions

  • Not being over-reactive to issues – being patient and calm
  • Do not keep remembering things that cause negative emotions – get negative emotions out of your mind and focus on positive emotions.
  • Being reasonable is another important way of coping with negative emotions – accept that there are situations you cannot change.
  • Relaxation – participate in relieving activities such as walking, talking, and reading. Such relaxing habits keep you off negative feelings.
  • Do exercises regularly to lower your stress levels.
  • Forget about the past, believe in yourself, and focus on how you can improve your future.

Values Associated with Emotional Intelligence

  • Respect: due regard for the feelings of others
  • Tolerance: openness to differences and diversity among people
  • Humility: lowliness of the mind – modesty
  • Peace: freedom from disturbance – calmness

Chapter 6: Empathy

Definition of Empathy

Empathy is being able to understand the feelings of other people and appreciate their positions or ideologies.

It can also be defined as putting oneself in the shoes of another.

Moreover, it is the ability to sense and share the emotions of other people – being able to imagine or consider the feelings and thoughts of other people in certain situations.

Empathy falls under the cluster of social awareness in the field of Emotional Intelligence.

Importance of Empathy

  • Understanding other people’s feelings helps the subject of empathy to feel relieved or feel as though some burden have been removed off their shoulders.
  • Promotes effective communication
  • Allows room for feedback and improvement
  • Helps people to demonstrate their understanding of others.
  • When you understand that someone has a certain feeling, e.g. when a child is sad, you can be able to determine what they are going through in their home, e.g. if their mother is ill.
  • Empathy helps someone to know what to do or how to react to certain situations involving interactions with others.
  • Empathy helps people to share the same feelings that other people feel, helping them to find the right solution in given situations.
  • Empathy is important in building trust because one is able predict the reactions of teammates by empathizing with them.

Difference between Empathy and Sympathy

Empathy refers to understand and share the feelings of other people as though we have the same feelings ourselves. Sympathy entails being able to take part in the feelings of others, e.g. feeling sad when someone else is undergoing a misfortune.

Empathy refers to the ability to project one’s feelings onto another object. Sympathy involves a focus on tastes and opinions, e.g. when you feel sympathy for a character in a movie.

Situations Requiring Empathy

  • During the death or loss of a loved one
  • When infected with HIV & AIDS
  • When one loses a job or being jobless
  • During illness or a pandemic
  • In any other life-threatening situation

Values Associated with Empathy

  • Love: having strong feelings and giving without the need for something in return.
  • Respect: being positive towards oneself and towards others.
  • Responsibility
  • Peace: freedom from disturbance – calmness.
  • Tolerance
  • Cooperation

Chapter 7: Assertiveness

Definition of Assertiveness

Assertiveness is a confident behavior; it is the ability to state your feelings without anger or being passive. It involves standing for your rights without offending others.

Assertiveness is an essential skill in communication and social interaction. An assertive person is able to defend their rights and those of others calmly and positively.

Characteristics of an Assertive Person

An assertive person has the following characteristics:

  • They express their feelings and thoughts freely
  • They are able to develop and retain meaningful relationships with others.
  • Understand and defend their rights boldly and calmly.
  • They are able to control their anger and talk about their feelings in a reasonable manner
  • They are willing to compromise with others
  • Show self-respect and respect for others

Steps to Being Assertive: Assertiveness Training

  • Assertiveness is used with excessive shy people or withdrawn individuals. It often used in groups
  • The major tenet of assertiveness training is that a person should be free to express thoughts and feelings without undue influence.
  • The client is taught that everyone has the right (not obligation) of self-expression. The client then learns the difference among aggressive, passive and assertive actions
  • A client tells the counselor at the beginning what the objectives are, for example, to be able to speak out in a job interview.
  • The counselor gives the client both positive and negative feedback about present behavior.
  • The next step involve the modeling of the desired behavior and the client role playing of the behavior observed.
  • The counselor then reinforces the behavior and helps to shape the clients
  • Finally the client is given assignments to be completed between sessions.
  • It is important that assertive behavior should be shaped gradually in order to keep the client reassured.

Tips for Being Assertive

  • Make the decision to become positively assertive – commit to being assertive rather than being aggressive or passive
  • Focus on communicating openly and honestly.
  • Listen actively to understand other people’s points of view.
  • Accept that having a different point of view does not mean you are right and other people are wrong.
  • See others as your friends rather than enemies when handling conflicts.
  • Practice assertiveness.
  • Always stay calm, breathe normally, look at the other party in the eye, maintain face contact, and speak with confidence.
  • Use “I” statements such as “I think”, “I believe,” etc.
  • Be honest in saying how you feel and don’t make others feel guilty.

Importance of Being Assertive

  • Enables the person to control themselves effectively
  • Helps reduce or avoid stress
  • Enhances the ability to resolve conflicts positively and in a calm way.
  • Helps someone not to be afraid of saying their disagreement or opposing points of view
  • Helps people to have confidence in themselves and in others.
  • Improving communication skills
  • Achieve improved job satisfaction and performance
  • Enhance win-win situations
  • Promotes honest relationships
  • Improves decision making and problem-solving skills

Difference between Assertiveness and Aggressiveness

Passive Assertive Aggressive
Thinking your needs don’t matter at all Recognizing that your needs matter as much as anyone else Thinking that only your needs matter
Giving in Compromising Taking
Not talking, not being heard Talking and Listening Talking over people
Trying to keep the peace Making sure things are fair for you and others Looking out for yourself
Allowing oneself to be bullied Standing up for yourself Bullying others
Not saying what you think Expressing your points clearly and firmly Shouting, aggressing, and violence
Damages relationships – people respect you less Builds relationships – people know where they stand Damages relationships – some people don’t like aggression
Damages one’s self-esteem Builds your self-esteem Damages other people’s self-esteem

 

Difference between Peer Pressure and Peer Influence

Peer Pressure: Peer pressure is pressure from one’s peers to act in a way that is acceptable to the others in the same group.

Peer Influence: Peer influence is when a peer’s act persuades the others to act in a particular way.

Peer Pressure Peer Influence
Involves force to pressurize peers to act in a certain way of do something Persuasive act that encourages people to act in a certain way without the use of force
It sometimes leads to the loss of individual identity Little to no chance of losing individual identity
It is action oriented –  forced to do something It is behavior oriented – developing a skill
Compels someone to follow pees One has the choice or freedom to decide

Values Associated with Assertiveness

  • Love
  • Honesty
  • Simplicity
  • Cooperation
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