What does having a talent mean? How do you differentiate a talent from a strength?
If a strength is the ability to consistently and t perfectly execute a particular activity, then a talent is the natural and repetitive way of thinking, feeling, acting, which is something we can channel productively in our jobs and lives.
A talent can be curiosity, naturally taking responsibility, having empathy, or the ability to communicate. It can even be charisma – and even arrogance. Although the last one is usually accepted as a weakness, it’s possible to help channel this quality for the achievement of particular goals.
According to the book Now, discover your strengths by Markus Buckingham and Donald Clifton, there four indicators for your inner talents:
- How spontaneous you are in different situations – the way you handle what happens to you, or around you.
- Your desires – your feelings about what you want..
- Your ability to learn new things – what you most quickly, easily and successfully learn.
- The satisfaction you feel from different activities – what you love to do.
The above four points indicate which are your strongest and healthiest brain links. It turns out that every person’s behaviour, including their talents, depend on the synapses. According to specialists, by the age of three, the web of synapses has already been established. Later on, by the age of 15, the individual ignores some of those links and, depending on their life’s conditions, some of them are left unused, which will lead to their tearing apart.
Unfortunately, the “torn” links can’t be restored. Buckingham and Clifton say that our brain keeps its flexibility for the rest of our lives and when we learn and remember new things, new synapses are being developed. However, they aren’t that strong and after the 16th year of life, they don’t affect our behaviour as much.
Thus, we are using only our strongest and healthiest brain links. Our genetic heritage and early childhood memories are reminding us constantly about those links that have helped us most in different situations. I hope this doesn’t serve as a distraction from the main subject, but hopefully, it helps you understand your own inner talents better.
How to find our talents?
Here are some tips on how to use the four talent indicators mentioned above.
- Dramatic events – we all have been through hard times in our lives. Try to remember how you handled a hard situation in your life or job. For example, you had to make a very important decision, but you didn’t know all the facts, which made you postpone your decision until you had more information. This behaviour can be described as analytical. You have the talent to want to analyse everything no matter what. Don’t draw a conclusion just from one single situation though. You need more examples to decide if this really is one of your talents. There are some people who postpone decision making because they avoid taking responsibility.
- Childhood desires – what did you wish for when you were a child? There are so many people who need more time to make their childhood desires come true. Most, give up on their dreams though. But to keep developing your strengths and talents, you need to keep “hearing” them, reminding yourself of what they are or were.
- When things happen easily- the specialists say that when you are learning new things or skills, it is possible to unlock new healthy brain links quite quickly. Which means that you want to keep applying what you’ve learnt as soon as possible. So when you are doing or learning something you find easy, try to be aware and analyse it more deeply. It’s possible that this is one of your talents.
- Things that bring you joy – do you like to organise? Or perhaps you like to help people in trouble? Maybe you love bringing people together? When you are looking forward to doing something, this is probably a talent of yours. There is a difference between “I have to” and “I love to”.
Now, try to write a new CV or a motivational letter. Look for a connection between your talents and the job you are applying for, for example. This is the way you will find your dream job and, maybe even your life’s mission.