How to Discover and Nurture Your Talents

How to Discover and Nurture Your Talents

Often, people get discouraged when picking up a new skill or resuming one that they developed many years ago. Try to work through this phase with diligence and perseverance.

Love the beauty of what you are doing. Otherwise, all this activity is somewhat pointless. Or, if it has a point, it is more of a job than a talent to be nurtured.

violin-music

Childhood Interests

Try this exercise: Remember back to being four and five years old. What did you say you wanted to be when you grew up? This is often more than one thing. For example, I said librarian, author, teacher, and mother at that age.

These interests have followed me into adulthood. Have yours? If so, they represent lifelong desires. If not, do you sometimes yearn for a chance to do something you used to like? Take note of what this is.

You may want to write down any thoughts that come to you reading and thinking about your interests. Make a list of the possibilities.

 

Unfulfilled Interests

 

Is there something you always wanted to do but never got around to? Try it. Test the interest by getting into it for a few months. If possible, don’t spend much money on it. During these months, you may get a feel for whether you would really love to do this or whether it’s not worth the effort to you. Keep in mind, also, that honing a new skill in adulthood will take quite a while. Be patient with yourself if you believe this is something you would love as you got better at it.

 

Nurtured in Infancy

You have an unbelievable head start on anything that has been nurtured in you since infancy. Perhaps your parents read to you every day and you continue to read for pleasure. Countless hours have already gone into nurturing this reading talent. You could develop further with study into book reviewing, running book groups, reading aloud to children, or writing. After all, reading for all these years has exposed you to the products of the art of writing.

The same goes for musical talent, especially if you played a particular instrument for years. People who showed athletic talent as children may have played a particular sport for years. These skills can be expanded into other areas of music and sport, or the same exact skills can be honed to a fine point in adulthood.

There are two major obstacles to developing these types of talents in adulthood. One is that you had teachers and coaches as a child, so you should find an excellent (not a mediocre) mentor and coach in adulthood. This is often hard to do, and takes money and time. Another obstacle is physical health. Even very healthy adults cannot take the same amount of physical discipline they could as teenagers without progressing slowly and cautiously, or suffering more injuries that will take longer to heal than they used to.

However, these obstacles can be overcome with simple determination and a plan.

Friendly Feedback

If you are still completely lost when it comes to determining what you’re good at, you may want to contact your friends and family. Ask them what they think of when they think of you and what they think is your best talent. If they had to describe you in three words, what would those words be?

See if any of this feedback inspires you.

Narrow it Down

Now taking into account these interests – that are most likely deep-rooted and important to you – decide on something that would fit well into your current life. If you choose writing, don’t stop there. Decide whether you will pursue writing fiction, non-fiction, essays, memoirs, articles, children’s books, or something else. Take the general interest and decide on an instrument, a group, an art medium, a cuisine, a craft, a grade level…

Work at It

Develop this talent. Take a class at a local community college, or yarn shop, or church, or online. If you can’t afford the money or time for a class, check out of the library as many books and videos on the subject as you can. Take notes. Study. Practice often. Find a system that will work for you and go to work on it systematically.

Don’t forget to include both input and output. As often as possible, listen to, read, view, or watch great examples of what you are working toward. Listen over and over to a piano piece you would like to learn. Spend major time at museums that show art you are inspired by. Set aside hours to read books or articles that are similar to what you are working on writing. Watch professionals executing your athletic talent. Read and watch experts creating cuisine that you aspire to.

Give the same amount of effort (or more) to your output. Practice. Do the thing you love. Once you have learned the rudiments of the skill, learn to do it with beauty.

Set aside time most days to work on this talent. Shinichi Suzuki, of Suzuki Method fame, seemed to think that three hours per day was about right for becoming great playing an instrument. Stephen King and other famous authors talk about writing for an average of about three hours per day. The best way to develop a talent is to spend consistent time on it.

However, parents (especially mothers) are doing very well to work on a talent for an hour most days. Madeleine L’Engle, author of A Wrinkle in Time and many other beautiful books, spent about an hour per day playing the piano. Her musical study was very important to her.

A half hour most days will still yield results. A knitter and maker of Waldorf dolls whom I respect, Little Jenny Wren, seems to knit about half an hour per day. She has spent a lifetime knitting and, from my perspective, has perfected a life around crafting and caring for her home and family.

Love It

Often, people get discouraged when picking up a new skill or resuming one that they developed many years ago. Try to work through this phase with diligence and perseverance.

Love the beauty of what you are doing. Otherwise, all this activity is somewhat pointless. Or, if it has a point, it is more of a job than a talent to be nurtured.

And if you find you really don’t love it, move on to something else.​​​

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Being a stay-at-home mom is a dream come true for me, made possible by my husband’s hard work. In the last few years, I’ve written articles for Natural Family Online and WeightCircles and advertising copy for Schogini Systems. I love reading, writing, running, and knitting, and always want to learn more about homemaking.

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