Degrees of Accomplishment

It was once stated that for a woman to be accomplished she must have, ” …a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, all the modern languages, to deserve the word; and besides all this, she must possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address, and expressions, or the word will be but half deserved. “

And while in a lot of ways the list of achievements are a bit limited by the perspectives of the era, the idea is one worth thinking more about in more detail. I want to, in the purpose of reassessment, figure out what accomplishment means in the modern era.

Mathematics, The Sciences and Technology


We do not all need to be mathematicians, so the bar here for an accomplished lady should be an understanding of the fundamentals of algebra and a solid understanding of statistics, as these are the two maths that most people will use in their lives. I would have liked to include higher levels, but the balance between this skill set and others below.

The Natural Sciences

An understanding of fundamental workings of biology and chemistry, as well as the environmental sciences. A complete understanding of the scientific method and the methodology of inductive science. The ability to read scientific literature and understanding of importance of expertise in general when evaluating sources.


Operating system use, and understanding of databases, online privacy, ethical issues, technological issues (eg – AI) and how they may impact our society, but more importantly a willingness to learn. In addition at least one other skill from the following list would be ideal:

  • At least one programming language (or more if they need the suite to work)
  • Functional use of a robust set of software tools (e.g. – creative cloud tools)

The Fine and Practical Arts

Literacy (reading and writing in your native language)

L-4, Advanced Literacy, (or Proficient if you prefer the NCES scale) in both reading and writing in your primary language.

Literature (reading and understanding a wide range of view points)

The desire to read books on a variety of topics and viewpoints. The goal being not to become absorbed by those perspectives, but to help them to grow your own. And of course a healthy dose of fiction of whatever type is to your liking. This is expressed with active and varied reading over a period of years.

The Practice of at Least Three Fine Arts (drawing, dancing, singing/music, needlework/embroider, graphic design, media/social media)

It is not about quality, but about the application of your energy to the improvements of your skills. If more than one is the way of it, then that is even better.

The Modern Languages (functional speech and reading)

Speaking and reading in at least two other languages than those that you were raised with in your home. Preferably more than one, or a deeper understanding of the first one.

Skills of The Body

Eating Properly (meal selections and being able to feed oneself)

Knowing what you need to eat in order to keep your body healthy, how to manage your dietary needs in the day to day and actually doing so in the realities of life. Making this system work for your life and easy to work into the existing constraints of time and budget.

Creating Functional Physicality (exercise and maintenance)

Getting into the regular habit of exercises that work with your level of fitness, going to physical therapy to assist this as needed and completing it, seeing the doctor/dentist when you need to, and taking good care of your body in general. Not leaving chronic issues unmanaged.

Other Skills of Modern Life

Dress, Hair and The General Development of Individual Comfort and Style

Creating a wardrobe that works for your life and commitments, makes you feel comfortable in your body and ideally on that looks reasonably good on your form. The style of the moment is irrelevant.

The Management of Finance (micro and macro)

This is about doing what you can with what you have, doing what feels correct (morally and in terms of practicality) to put yourself on as solid of footing as possible.

Time Management (micro and macro)

As above, but for the time in your life that you have control over in your life. What fits into this category will vary from person to person, and even day to day. We do not always have control of our time, but we make do with what we can do.

Empathy and Perspective, Balanced by Standing Up for What is Right

Understanding the value of others, and not just avoiding the outward behaviors of the “isims’ that make people objectively wrong, but confronting those who seek to make the world worse for others.

Hobbies and Persona Interests

Having at least one hobby in regular practice, outside of the fine arts that gives you joy and creates a sense of leisure in your life.

Categories Defined… Now What

Now, we have them, but when do we consider them applied. I’ve been thinking about the possible scoring systems that could be used to define when one has reached an appropriate degree of accomplished:

  • When you are able to check every box on the list?
  • When you can check yes on 50%?
  • When you can check at least a partial yes on each of them?
  • When you hit a minimum number of points?
  • When you hit a minimum number of points over a minimum number of categories?

In the end, I think it has to be all of them. Its a high bar, but no other system is worth working towards. At least the minimum defined in the listing here. To make that simple to understand, here is a (mildly) handy chart.

But we can still use points as a measure, one for each until we have them all. That would make the total number we are striving for a perfect 20 (hey, just like RPG levels). So that would make me:

Level 15

That was higher than I though it would be, but no matter where you are, a start is a start.

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