Photo by vramak
In the past hidden talents have commonly been defined as things you are great at but nobody knows about, or things that you would be immediately great at if you tried them, skipping beginner and progressing to intermediate in an instant.
The first definition is useful mainly in movies, the latter is not really useful at all (arguably more myth than reality).
Your hidden talents are the things you could do that would make you happy. But you don’t know it yet.
This is not just about work, but speaks to the whole content of your life. I’ve already written about the psychological evidence that shows that when people do work or activities that make them feel good and involve skills, either mental or physical, live happier lives.
This is just common sense, and it’s probably nothing you haven’t already heard before. But I don’t think many people actually take the next step and give themselves the opportunity to discover all of their hidden talents.
If you take a pen and paper and write down a list of all the things you’ve always thought you might enjoy or be good at, you’ll be surprised at the number of them that can be tested or teed up within 7 days.
With the help of the internet, it’s easy to find local classes, get how-to book recommendations, follow along with tutorials – and find other people who can answer your newbie questions!
There is no real excuse to miss out on finding your hidden talents.
If the barrier to entry on any of your possible hidden talents is too high – for example, you want to try performing mechanical repairs on light aircraft – there is always a way to make it accessible.
Try working on your car instead. If you enjoy that, you can take the next step towards your real goal.
You might also worry that your real hidden talent is not on your list. It’s so hidden that you’ve never even thought about it as something you might like to do.
If you usually hate exercise, you might never expect that you’d love hiking, for example. But your hidden talents are never that random.
You might hate exercise but love nature, so it makes sense that you’d enjoy relatively easy hikes. But you’d be hard-pressed to find a passionate hiker who hates exercise and is bored by natural beauty!
Your hidden talents will always fit your personality or interests in some way. Instead of being hidden and random – things to be discovered by accident – the things you love doing actually make a lot of sense.
You can find a good beginner’s lesson on anything for free, online. This is an incredible privilege of living in our current era. It provides us with endless opportunities.
50 or 100 years ago, a farmhand in a small rural town who loved sculpture may never have been able to learn more about it.
His small local library didn’t have the books, he didn’t know anyone who could teach him, he didn’t know where to travel to buy materials or join classes.
So he never had the opportunity to find the hidden talent that would make him happy. For us, the barriers to entry are so low that there’s no excuse not to give yourself that opportunity.
Get online, Google the phrases ‘sculpture classes’, ‘sculpture resources’ or ‘sculpture lessons’ and in 5 seconds you have more opportunity than that farmhand ever did to pursue something that could be your life’s calling.
The free and instant access to answers, advice and learning materials on any topic is, to my mind, the internet’s greatest gift to humanity.
By methodically searching out all your hidden talents, you can:
- Find what puts you into flow and, if you want, build a business on it
- Be happier
- Build a personal brand around the activities you’re passionate about
As myself and other online business pundits have argued, positioning yourself as an authority is the best way to create a valuable personal brand.
You become an authority by giving good advice on things that you love and know a lot about. Widening the pool of things you’re passionate about means you will have more options and opportunities in online business. Better yet, it will make you happier.
To finish off, a little homework:
Write down anything you think could be your hidden talent on a sheet of paper: things you might like but haven’t tried, things you liked in the past before life interrupted (maybe you stopped going to art classes when you moved states, or stopped playing sport when you had a baby.)
If it’s in the AM when you read this, pursue one of your potential hidden talents this evening. If it’s in the PM, pursue on of your potential hidden talents tonight or tomorrow.
If it’s something you can do without help, read up on some beginner lessons. If you need help, look for a local class, group or team you can join.
My own story is that I discovered one of my hidden talents a couple of months ago. Believe it or not, it’s playing soccer!
I’ve enjoyed watching it for many years but never gave myself the opportunity to try playing it until recently. I’m so glad I did.
It’s become a passion of mine and I can’t imagine giving it up. My only regret is that I didn’t give myself the opportunity to try it earlier.
Not only has it made me happier, it’s also opened up a whole new sphere of blogs, websites or online businesses I could create in the future based on this new thing I love.
Now I have books on drawing, 3D modeling, fiction writing and game development in the mail – and I’m reading a great book on CSS… just in-case I have any other hidden talents up my sleeve