Basic Skills and Mindsets are a Foundation for Self-Reliance
Higher-level skills are generally technical skills that can be taught and most importantly, applied in a concrete way, since they're measurable and are related to an area of expertise, such as bookkeeping, sewing and filing. Basic skills and mindsets are the foundation for building higher-level skills. Basic skills, or soft skills, include critical thinking, problem solving, and discipline, and can be described as the ability to apply hard skills to actual situations. Mindsets, or habits of the mind, are when people adopt a deeper quality of learning and thinking. Although it's possible to learn higher-level skills without mastering basic skills, in the long run, the lack of basic skills and self-reliant mindsets catches up and interferes with the continuous practice of the higher-level skills.
For instance, a person could be very proficient in bookkeeping, but without critically thinking about what numbers in the books mean, or without the discipline to maintain the books, they could be seriously inaccurate. Similarly, while an entrepreneur might learn how to establish prices, they won't be able to do so effectively unless they possess the discipline to keep track of their expenses, production levels, and sales.
As another example, if a community member decides that they can't do a task, or perhaps don't feel worthy, they may give up. While training and resources, such as money and equipment, might give the community member some additional confidence, they'll most likely give up when they hit an obstacle for which they don't feel equipped for. On the other hand, if given the same situation, and the person has a confident and disciplined mindset, they will likely arrive at several solutions, since they won't be discouraged by a difficult task.
Basic skills and mindsets are a critical foundation for developing self-reliance and to improve the long term sustainability of participants' initiatives.
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