THE BLOG
04/11/2013 09:38 GMT | Updated 25/01/2016 05:59 GMT

How to Discover Your Unique Talents

When you work on something that you are attracted to, your natural creativity to design, problem solve or manage can emerge regardless of whether it's what is traditionally regarded as a creative industry or not.

- Jyoti Morningstar, founder of WE'AR Yoga Clothing

You are talented beyond your wildest imagination. Are you bringing your unique gifts and talents to the table?

While that may come as a surprise to you, talent is a gift of 'aliveness' absolutely innate in all of us and key to unlocking one aspect of your creative genius.

Sometimes your talents are obvious because they are things you do better than any one else.

For others it's not so obvious, or so easy.

Our talents can be:

  1. Forgotten. You grew up.
  2. Weird. Hidden from view because they're just too wacky and maybe even embarrassing.
  3. Unsustainable. I have rent to pay. 'How could I make a living out of that?!'

Let me burst your bubble:

  • Steve Irwin made a living out of hunting crocodiles; he already had a passion for reptiles when, at six, he caught his first snake (a Common Brown snake).
  • What could be more weird than a Snake Milker (extracting poison for research)?
  • Or how about a Lipsologist (the science and art of reading lip prints)?

Sustainability is the toughest nut to crack. The million dollar question is: how do your talents serve you and others? Align what you love with the values and priorities of others and, regardless of how weird it might be, it will sustain you.

If your talents are forgotten or too weird, or your risk-taking mojo has been trampled by the status quo, it's no wonder. The trend toward homogenised education has created armies of people who've learnt the same things in the same way. It sieves our idiosyncrasies and casts them aside in favour of establishment-approved 'blah'. If your talents aren't mainstream, you're going to need a pretty thick skin to forge ahead.

Travel seems to be able to fill in the gaps that standard education creates, and even provides some with an alternative education. On the road I've met a variety of characters who left school at 16. They are smart, savvy, interesting, creative ... they have worked and travelled, and use all the talents they've discovered along the way. They are operating raw, unfiltered and whole. They haven't been 'sieved'.

Despite likening our school system to a kitchenware, I loved school and credit it with an awesome assortment of skills.

Our sweet spot, however, lies slap bang in the middle of what can be learned and what cannot be taught. It exists where:

  1. Knowledge meets imagination
  2. Skills meet intuition
  3. Sheer talent meets motivation

Your unique gifts and talents are concentrated, magnified and enhanced in those sweet spots.

My experience is that everyone has their own special gift and that, once discovered, acknowledged and embraced, life becomes more simple.

- Deva Premal, musician

Your talents are innate so it is likely that you are already using them, only in a form you don't yet recognise.

How do you recognise them?

  1. Ask friends, family and colleagues. Sometimes we see what you don't. It's a wood for the trees thing; our vision gets clouded by all the stories we tell ourselves, but others see the truth of it more clearly. Ask 'What am I good at?'
  2. Step out of your comfort zone. Do things you wouldn't normally do: walk a different way home; go to an event; try to meet or talk to five new people a week; try that thing (course, seminar, sport) you've talk about doing for 'x' number of years.
  3. Think back to your childhood. What were you really good at as a kid?
  4. What are you doing when time stops? What are you so immersed in that time, figuratively, stops?Sometimes by accident. Who knows what skills you'll unearth in an emergency, or out of some kind of spontaneous occurrence?

Tips for discovering them:

  1. Unplug. Switch off all devices and look around at the world. Without any distractions you can listen better to what's happening around you and what attracts your attention.
  2. Meet new people. Embrace new connections. Our relationship dynamic is unique to each person we know, and brings out different interests and aspects of ourselves.
  3. Enrol on a course. Satisfying a desire to learn that thing you always wanted to do. Enrol on an evening or online course, or do something completely random and uncharacteristic that will challenge you. What about an art or creative writing course?
  4. Travel. Do something epic, life-changing and memorable. Far away from home and out of your comfort zone, I guarantee you'll discover your talents along the way.

Uncover your talents and you'll realise how brilliant you really are.