Your perception of yourself is very complex. Similar to how you cannot see your own nose, you may often be blinded to the things that you are best at. It can be really hard to identify your brightest talents and they are often in the places you least expect. You may even be very good at things that you perceive yourself as being bad at. There are many good reasons to want to explore your talents but it’s going to take a little work.
Discovering and claiming something you love to do has an amazing effect on your entire life. It’s like a tiny perfect raindrop landing on a previously smooth, unremarkable expanse of water. The instant the drop arrives, beautiful waves of ever-enlarging rings flow across the entire surface, spreading out virtually to infinity.
Here’s how you can start your search:
1) Inventory your talents
What are you good at or have a natural aptitude for? Forget about what you’re good at but don’t really like doing much. I’m talking about the things you have a knack for that delight or happily occupy you.
Are there things you like to do that you don’t think you’re that good at, that other people have complimented you on? Perhaps you even dismissed or rejected their enthusiasm.
Identifying things you love that you’re good at is a great way to unearth potential passions. Don’t be concerned if what you love isn’t practical or common.
Please note though that you don’t have to be good at something for it to quality as a passion. You don’t have to ever earn a penny of income from it either. Talent can simply be a clue. When it comes to your passions, the only thing that matters is that you enjoy them.
2) Ask your friends what your best and worst qualities are.
You know they are going to be brutally honest. But the great thing about asking a handful of trusted friends about your qualities is that they all usually say the same thing.
It’s enlightening to hear different people see you in the same light and this is definitely an indicator of talent. Use your friends’ perspectives here to work on what you’d like to do better.
Are you compassionate but also a little bit on the chatty side? Use your compassion to slow down, breathe and give others the right of conversational way. Use your natural talents to improve those parts of your M.O. that might need a little work.
3) Think of what you loved to do as a child
This is probably the simplest way to unearth what pursuits hold the potential to light up your days. Before the grown-ups get to us with their ideas, most of us know exactly who we are and what would make us happiest.
Were you obsessed with horses? Maybe you should head to a dude ranch for your next vacation.
Loved finger painting or drawing? Sign up for an art class.
Sang at the top of your lungs until people begged you to stop? Think about joining a local choir (or starting your own garage band!)
4) Look for talent in others
Sometimes being inspired by others’ talents makes us realize what we’re good at, too. If you are a writer and you read something that absolutely connects with your soul, try to define what exactly lit you up. Conversely, if you see talent in others and feel jealous (don’t you worry, we all do this) you can use this to your advantage as well. Ask this person to mentor you, give you advice or simply chat over coffee.
5) Make time for yourself
Reaching out and seeing talent in others will open up opportunities and connections while helping you define your own.
While other people can help you find your talents, it’s also important to take some time that’s just for you. Self discovery does require a lot of self reflection and if you’re spending all of your time watching movies with your friends, you probably won’t get the time you need to really understand yourself. Take some quiet days that are just for you and spend them doing new activities.
6) See your passion hunt as a fun, joyful adventure
When you deliberately open yourself to noticing things you might enjoy doing, don’t be afraid of getting it wrong. It’s all an adventure, you’re learning and growing as you go. Happiness research shows that trying new things increases dopamine levels in the brain, contributing to sustained levels of contentment. So try away!
Notice what you love. Notice what makes you feel like a kid. Notice what you long to have more time for.
Make time for these things, whatever you can manage, and watch your life start to change. It’s really magical.
How have you stumbled on passions in the past? Share your story in the comments section – we love to know, it will surely inspire other readers and will also help us continue to help other people find theirs.