Well, I'm really confused here. Are things like Zanshin (see http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/cclark/2004_06.html
), ability to be relaxed, concentrated, ability to perform the technique with correct state of mind counted as "technical ability"? If so, then I'm sure those values greatly affect not only your training, but also your life and the way you socialize with your surrounding. I believe and I heard that many times that Aikido affects your daily life and changes you from inside. I don't have much experience with Aikido, but I already can feel some changes in my life that came from my daily training.
My point here is - you can't separate the mentioned mental abilities from Aikido, you can't separate your mental abilities from your life and consequently you can't separate your life from Aikido.
As for ranking, I don't have any rank for now and I don't really care about it. My test will come soon and I'll probably get my first rank, but I think the only meaning of having different belt colours (and that's the only reason I will put on a coloured belt) is for young practitioners to know who is experienced enough to work with them during a class.
Your rank as a human is much more important and Aikido can greatly help with this.