What would it take to learn all you need to know in a lifetime? A trip around the world? A pilgrimage to a sacred holy land? Or, how about studying the Great Books? These are certainly possibilities, but not your only options.
To help you out, we’ve crafted a guide to what you need to know to live your best life. It comprises tips, secrets, and advice on everything from learning how to get paid for your talent to knowing what to do if you get stopped by the police.
Pin your favorites on a wall, tape them to the refrigerator, or tuck them into your wallet. These life essentials may not be everything you need to know, but they will certainly give you the chance to be your best.
Know How the Political System Works
Pop quiz: Who’s the speaker of the House? If you don’t know, you definitely should. You play a major role in how the U.S. government operates. Register to vote, cast your ballot, and speak up when you think something is amiss. By the way, Nancy Pelosi (D-Cal.) was elected in 2007 as the first female speaker of the United States House of Representatives.
Legislative: Makes federal law, declares war, and has the powers of impeachment
Executive: Appoints officers, administers and enforces federal law, oversees military
Judicial: Interprets laws and can overturn laws deemed unconstitutional.
Know How to Travel Overseas
When traveling overseas, preparation is key. Follow these travel tips:
- Get a passport now; the process can take up to six weeks (http://travel.state.gov/passport).
- Make reservations at least three to four months in advance.
- Get comprehensive travel insurance.
- Get vaccinated 90 days in advance. Refill prescriptions; store them in original containers.
- Take a combination of credit cards, traveler’s checks, and cash.
- Leave valuables at home; safeguard important documents in the hotel room safe.
Know How to Be Likeable
When you radiate positivity, others will treat you positively. According to Tim Sanders, author of The Likeability Factor (Crown; $23), your overall likeability is based on four key elements: friendliness, relevance, empathy, and realness. You don’t have to change your personality, but developing your likeability may open up new career and personal possibilities.
Know How to Tip
The old rule was 15%, but 20% is fast becoming the tipping norm for restaurant service. But what’s considered appropriate for a bellhop or the takeout kid? For a clue, here’s a tip sheet:
- Bartender $1 per drink (15% on total bill)
- Cab Driver: 10%, $2-$5 minimum
- Housekeeper: $2-$5 per night (Tip daily)
- Parking Valet: $2-$5
- Porter/Skycap: $1 per bag, $2 for heavy items
- Barber/Hairstylist 10%-20% Recommendation: $5 to each person who shampoosor blow-dries your hair
- Masseuse: 10%-15%
- Manicurist: 15%
- Furniture Deliverer: $20 per person
- Coat Checker $1 per coat. Recommendation:$2-$5 upon retrieval
Know How toDefend Yourself
The focus of self-defense isn’t fighting but learning to quickly disable an assailant and get away, says Yvette Lozano, who oversees self-defense programs for Peace Over Violence, a Los Angeles-based social services agency that offers intervention in sexual assaults and prevention methods against youth violence. To find a self-defense class, ask around at your local community center or police station.