Have you witnessed a monumental shift in what is expected for you to succeed in your job/career and life compared to ten years ago? The line between job and personal life has become more blurred. With the recent economic chaos and tight job market all workers and business people are constantly complaining that there is no way to complete their work in a normal eight hour day. If you're like most, you have had to adapt tactics of survival in which you always feel rushed with more to-do and feeling near the brink of burn out.

The business news is replete with stories of marriages breaking up due to the constant interruption of work and electronically connected devices. People sneak around on their "vacations" to check texts and email, or even skipping their vacation time due to always trying to "catch-up," not to mention "getting ahead."

I could ramble on with even more workplace anecdotes, but the point is the same. The workplace has changed radically and we need new skills to survive and thrive.

The key question for you: Do you want to stop spinning your wheels and take action to create a more balanced and successful life?

If so, then there are 9 essential key skills you need to master in order to secure your earning future and avoid becoming obsolete in the market while also avoiding burning yourself out.

1. Ability to quickly grasp the big picture. Big picture thinking means to understand the meaning and larger perspectives of things whether you are trying to solve a problem, learn something new, read an article, book, argument, etc. and understand how the details fit together. This can be learned and trained.

2. Ability to focus and concentrate. Living in a multi-tasking world has wrecked havoc on our brain's ability to focus. Research has long shown that when we focus and concentrate on important tasks we actually get more done with better results. This ability applies to nearly everything we do. Performance experts refer to this as "being in the zone." Do you know how to create that for yourself?

3. Ability to sort through diverse sources of information efficiently and effectively. In today's info-rich digital age, no one complains of too little information. The challenge is finding the useful, accurate, and relevant from the multitude of sources that exist today without getting distracted.

4. Ability to easily change perspectives. Easily changing perspectives leads to creativity and innovation. It implies thinking more flexibly. It requires you to train your brain and use hidden abilities you may not have uncovered for yourself.

5. Ability to organize and retain critical ideas and details. This ability works together with several of these skills and leads to developing true expertise in any subject or field. This can also be learned.

6. Ability to self-direct your learning. Self-directed learners become the experts in any field. One remarkable fact about today's abundance of information sources is that there is so much more knowledge available for free. Becoming an expert is not as difficult as it was before the digital age. Self-directed learning is not taught in school, but can be learned.

7. Ability to think and process information faster. If you imagine your brain as a "bio-computer," you'll understand that there is tremendously more "processing power" that you can unleash and purposely direct to be better able to process information effectively. Without knowing how to do this can be compared to running a pc with 97% of the hard drive being fragmented and barely moving along to do even the simplest of tasks. Similarly, when your brain is better organized and functioning at its peak, any cognitive work is easier. This can also be learned.

8. Ability to read closer to the speed of thought vs your current reading rates. Similar to many of the previously mentioned skills, if you still read in the same manner as what you learned in school, you'll quickly realize how easy it is to become obsolete. Your reading skills were fine when the world was in the industrial age. Those skills are now obsolete in the knowledge age.

9. Ability to comprehend the written word at exponentially accelerated rates. Reading well is still the most fundamental path to learning most things in the digital knowledge economy. Please notice I did not use the term "speed reading," as there is so much confusion and misunderstanding about the term. Most approaches assume that comprehension just naturally follows the speed of the eyes, which in fact is not true. Again, this success skill can be developed and learned.

The skills listed above are essential cognitive skills for success in today's marketplace. Much of the stress and burnout people face in work today is from lack of these skills that are now a job requirement. If you had these skills, can you see how you might be more empowered to innovate and reinvent yourself as market conditions change? Without a doubt if you had these skills, can you imagine yourself with less stress and burnout?

The good news is that all these key skills are learnable.

Now that you know what today's market demands, if you don't have these skills, what will you do?

If this outline of your success map makes good sense to you, I invite you to learn more about how to survive and thrive in the knowledge economy by visiting www.speedreadingtips.com

Author's Bio: 

Cut through the maze of mis-information and myths about speed reading and get real facts, tips, and articles from the speed reading expert, Ed Caldwell, who has researched, tested and trained tens of thousands of learners in the art and science of dynamic speed reading. Get instant access to tips, mini-sessions, and articles at http://speedreadingtips.com/sign-up/