I was sitting in the back of my parents car one day when one of my friends suddenly announced:
Kola, your sister can draw.
Your brothers can rap…but you…you don’t have any talent…Do you?
I sat still for a moment with very mixed feelings.
On one hand, I felt myself falling in love with her for being so straightforward.
On the other hand, I was shocked that she wasn’t afraid of hurting my feelings.
My response to her was a laugh, a stutter, and a:
“Yeah, i guess I don’t have any talent.”
I thought about her statement for a long time.
But, rather than make me feel bad about myself, it made me feel confident in one thing.
I knew that once I found something I was good at, I could just focus on doing that one thing.
That’s why my writing has become so important to me.
It’s the one thing that I actually do well and enjoy doing.
So, how did I discover that I loved to write? And, more importantly,
how can you figure out what you’re good at?
#1. Pay attention to people’s feelings
Is there something you do that makes people really angry?
or really happy?
or really excited?
Don’t ignore those things.
They are your clues.
In the past 10 years or so, my family has moved 3 times and experienced 2 house fires.
Yet, my dad has managed to hold onto a little scrap of paper with words I wrote to him when I was 11 or 12 years old.
The words on that piece of paper moved him that deeply.
If there is anything you do that makes people feel strongly (positive or negative), examine that thing. It’s your clue.
#2. Listen to childhood criticism
In the Incredibles, the kids always wrecked their parent’s house because they hadn’t yet learned to control their abilities.
Many of us are just like those kids.
We are born with abilities that we don’t know how to control and so we use them to wreck things and end up getting into trouble.
One of the criticisms I received a lot as a child was that i was too sensitive.
I eventually learned to hide my feelings and I avoided having feelings for a significant portion of my life.
However, as my passion for making a difference blossomed, there was no way to run away from my feelings.
My feelings were exactly what made me want to change things and my feelings were the fuel that powered the words in my book.
So try to think of the things you got criticized the most for as a kid.
- Did you ask a lot of questions and get yelled at for it?
- Did you always take your toys apart to see what was inside?
- Did you tend to wander off on your own in the market? or at the mall?
You might be surprised that your “bad behaviors” as a kid were actually your gift showing up in an uncontrolled way.
#3. Wait for glory
Sometimes we ignore the things we are good at because they don’t seem “big” or glamorous.
Don’t do that.
If what you’re good at is shining shoes, then shine shoes.
Maybe CNN would be looking for someone who is passionate about shining shoes one day and you would be the shoe shiner that they would approach.
Or maybe you’ll just shine shoes for 10 years and make a whole lot of people really happy.
I don’t know what may or may not come out of my writing.
All I know is that I love it and I do a good job at it – so I continue to do it.
As Steve Jobs said, life never makes sense looking forward – but it all adds up in retrospect.
God knew what He was doing when He made you the way you are.
So appreciate yourself; use what you have, and it will grow.
I hope this post has helped guide you in the right direction to find what you’re good at.
Until next time, stay motivated!
- Did you ever get into trouble as a kid?
- Which of these tips resonate most strongly with you?
- Do you feel like you have too many talents or interests?