The Readiness Project research abilities

The Readiness Abilities, Skillsets and Mindsets

Ensuring that readiness is a right for all young people requires us to expand our idea of learning. Learning is not just the responsibility of schools: Families, communities and youth-serving systems must work together to support the development of the full range of skills needed to enter adulthood ready.

The Readiness Project identifies the ten universal abilities that every person needs, regardless of age, background or circumstance. Every system and setting should support the development of these abilities.

These abilities are supported by the commonly used skillsets and mindsets (habits, attitudes and beliefs). The skillsets prepare us to do something, while the mindsets help us become willing to do something.

Characteristics of Readiness Abilities, Skillsets, and Mindsets

They are malleable. We can learn, develop and strengthen them. A young person may be more naturally curious than another but that doesn’t stop the less-curious of the two from developing a curiosity about certain things.

They are measurable. There are empirical, practical and observational methods to assess whether someone is developing and demonstrating the abilities, skillsets and mindsets.

They are dynamic. Their expression changes depending on a person's life circumstances, developmental stage, environment and objectives.

They are interdependent. Just as we have systems that make our physical bodies function—the brain, lungs and blood cells are needed for respiration, for example—our intellectual, social and emotional selves need this combination of abiltiies,skillsets and mindsets to function.

Explore the Readiness Abilities, Skillsets, and Mindsets

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Deep Dive: The Readiness Abilities, Skillsets and Mindsets

ABILITY: Think and Create

I can think and create in ways that help me navigate and experience life.

We have insights to contribute and new ways to approach the world. This ability enables us to be creative and thoughtful in our relationships, work and engagement with the world.

Commonly used skillsets to express this ability

  • Resource and information processing
  • Thinking and analysis
  • Organization and planning

Commonly used mindsets to express this ability

  • Open-mindedness
  • Future orientation
  • Curiosity

Three books that help unpack this ability

  • Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All, Tom Kelly and David Kelley
  • Creative Intelligence: Harnessing the Power to Create, Connect and Inspire, Bruce Nussbaum
  • Creativity: the Psychology of Discovery and Invention, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
I CAN THINK & CREATE

in ways that help me to navigate and experience life.

 
 

Deep Dive: The Readiness Abilities, Skillsets and Mindsets

feel

ABILITY: Feel and Express Emotion

I can feel and express emotion appropriately and as a way to connect with others.

We are relational beings. This ability is key to how we form and nurture relationships. It enables us to identify and share our thoughts and feelings.

Commonly used skillsets to express this ability

  • Communication
  • Relationship management
  • Self-regulation

Commonly used mindsets to express this ability

  • Compassion
  • Empathy
  • Open-mindedness

Three books that help unpack this ability

  • Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead, Brene Brown
  • Emotional Intelligence: The Revolutionary New Science of Human Relationships, Daniel Goleman
  • Handbook of Social and Emotional Learning: Research and Practice, ed. Joseph A. Durlak, et al.
I can feel & express emotion

appropriately and as a way to connect with others.

Deep Dive: The Readiness Abilities, Skillsets and Mindsets

HEALTHY

ABILITY: Get and Stay Healthy

I can get and stay healthy physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.


Throughout life, tremendous demands are placed on our health and well-being. This ability enables us to stay healthy and find peace with who we are and whatever is going on.

Commonly used skillsets to express this ability

  • Life management
  • Organization and planning
  • Self-care

Commonly used mindsets to express this ability

  • Drive
  • Future orientation
  • Growth orientation

Three books that help unpack this ability

  • Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification, ed. Christopher Peterson and Martin E.P. Seligman
  • Overwhelmed: How to Work, Love, and Play When No One has the Time, Brigid Schulte
  • The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, Charles Duhigg
I can get & stay healthy

physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

 

Deep Dive: The Readiness Abilities, Skillsets and Mindsets

APPLY learning

ABILITY: Apply Learning

I can apply learning in the real world to meet life demands.

We take and use what we learn. This ability lets us take our knowledge, skills, habits, attitudes and beliefs and use them to help navigate everyday settings, situations and problems.

Commonly used skillsets to express this ability

  • Application
  • Decision-making
  • Problem solving

Commonly used mindsets to express this ability

  • Adaptability
  • Curiosity
  • Pragmatism

Three books that help unpack this ability

  • 21st Century Skills: Learning for Life in Our Times, Bernie Trilling and Charles Fadely
  • Education for Work and Life: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century, National Research Council
  • How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why it Happens, Benedict Carey
I can apply learning

in the real world and to meet life's demands.

 

Deep Dive: The Readiness Abilities, Skillsets and Mindsets

WORK

ABILITY: Work and Stay Focused

I can work and stay focused in each area of life.

We are learners, workers, family members, neighbors and more. With so many responsiblities, this ability enables us to focus and get things done, in each area of life.

Commonly used skillsets to express this ability

  • Coping
  • Organization and planning
  • Self-regulation

Commonly used mindsets to express this ability

  • Drive
  • Persistence
  • Growth orientation

Three books that help unpack this ability

  • Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, Gretchen Rubin
  • Flow, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
  • The Sweet Spot: How to Find your Groove at Home and Work, Christine Carter
I can work & stay focused

in each area of life.

 

Deep Dive: The Readiness Abilities, Skillsets and Mindsets

GROW

ABILITY: Use Insights to Grow and Develop

I can use insights to grow and develop in each stage of life.

We make mistakes and experience setbacks. We accomplish goals and experience joys. This ability enables us to learn from all of those experiences.

Commonly used skillsets to express this ability

  • Reflection and self-awareness
  • Coping
  • Thinking and analysis

Commonly used mindsets to express this ability

  • Growth orientation
  • Optimism
  • Humility

Three books that help unpack this ability

  • 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, Amy Morin
  • Building Resilience in Children and Teens, Kenneth R. Ginsburg
  • Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead, Brené Brown
I can use insights to grow & develop

in each stage of life.

 

Deep Dive: The Readiness Abilities, Skillsets and Mindsets

RELATE

ABILITY: Relate to Others and the World

I can relate to others and the world by forming, managing and sustaining my relationships.

We are relational beings. This ability is key to forming and sustaining relationships. It enables us to form connections and bonds. It helps us strengthen and sustain different kinds of relationships over time..

Commonly used skillsets to express this ability

  • Communication
  • Self-regulation
  • Relationship management

Commonly used mindsets to express this ability

  • Agility
  • Fairness
  • Open-mindedness

Three books that help unpack this ability

  • Handbook of Social and Emotional Learning: Research and Practice, ed. Joseph A. Durlak, et al.
  • Social Intelligence: The Revolutionary New Science of Human Relationships, Daniel Goleman
  • The Road to Character, David Brooks
I can relate others & the world

by forming, managing and sustaining my relationships.

 

Deep Dive: The Readiness Abilities, Skillsets and Mindsets

engage

ABILITY: Engage with People and Places

I can engage with people and places by being present and engaging in meaningful, real and honest ways.

We must actively engage with our surroundings and people. This ability enables us to authentically participate in conversations, activities and community.

Commonly used skillsets to express this ability

  • Communication
  • Relationship management
  • Resource and information processing

Commonly used mindsets to express this ability

  • Humility
  • Open-mindedness
  • Purpose

Three books that help unpack this ability

  • Handbook of Social and Emotional Learning: Research and Practice, ed. Joseph A. Durlak, et al.
  • Social Intelligence: The Revolutionary New Science of Human Relationships, Daniel Goleman
  • The Village Effect: Why Face-to-Face Contact Matters, Susan Pinker
I can engage with people & places

by being present and engaging in meaningful, real and honest ways.

 

Deep Dive: The Readiness Abilities, Skillsets and Mindsets

PERSIST

ABILITY: Persist through Struggles and Maintain Hope

I can persist through struggles and maintain hope, no matter my challenges.

We all face struggles, some small and others earthshaking. This ability allows us to build resilience to weather difficulties, learn lessons and maintain healthy perspective throughout.

Commonly used skillsets to express this ability

  • Coping
  • Reflection and self-awareness
  • Self-care

Commonly used mindsets to express this ability

  • Courage
  • Future orientation
  • Optimism

Three books that help unpack this ability

  • David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, Malcolm Gladwell
  • The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who you Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, Brene Brown
  • Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes, William Bridges
I can persist through struggles & maintain hope

no matter my challenges.

 

Deep Dive: The Readiness Abilities, Skillsets and Mindsets

SOLVE

ABILITY: Solve Problems and Make Decisions

I can solve problems and make decisions about the intellectual, social, moral and emotional issues and problems I face.

Each day brings problems to be solved and decisions to be made. Some are simple, others complex and game-changing. This ability enables us to be intentional and skilled in taking on and resolving these challenges.

Commonly used skillsets to express this ability

  • Problem solving and decisionmaking
  • Resource and information processing
  • Thinking and analysis

Commonly used mindsets to express this ability

  • Curiosity
  • Pragmatism
  • Persistence

Three books that help unpack this ability

  • Decisive, Chip and Dan Heath
  • Mindgym: Achieve More by Thinking Differently, Sebastian Bailey and Octavius Black
  • Strategic Thinking and the New Science: Planning in the Midst of Chaos, Complexity and Change, T. Irene Sanders
I can solve problems & make decisions

about the intellectual, social, moral and emotional issues I face.

 

Download a printable version of the Readiness Abilities, Skillsets, and Mindsets to use in your work.

The Science (and Art) of Readiness:

Understand the research behind the movement to make readiness a right for all young people. The first in our Ready by Design series is an easy-to-read examination of the science of readiness. It includes practical ideas to put the research to use in your community.