Nobody is good at everything. I will never be a championship tennis player, as I learned the first time I picked up a racquet. However, that didn’t stop me from getting out on the court and chasing that fuzzy green ball across the pavement during practice. And while I learned tennis was not my sport, I also learned working hard and putting in the hours was something that came naturally to me.
It was relaxing — therapeutic, almost — practicing serves and spins. My super powers were concentration and focus.
Everyone has a few skills — both broad and narrow — that come naturally. However, many of us don’t discover these until much later in life. There are a few things you can do to help reveal your super powers right now.
1. Try New Things
The first, and best, way to discover new propensities and skills is to put yourself out there and try new things. People tend to unconsciously gravitate toward areas where they have natural skills and competencies. If you find a new hobby you can’t put down, it’s likely you have some hidden super powers keeping things interesting for you.
2. Practice Things You Enjoy
With the previous point, when you find something new you enjoy, practicing it will only hone your skills further. Much of your skill base comes from deliberate practice and collaboration with those who can teach you something.
As anybody who’s picked up a new sport or game knows, it takes some practice getting used to the mechanics and the unique ways everything fits together. That also applies to less tangible skills: Practice your talents by writing, reading books, or painting.
3. Delve Into Your Past
The further back you look, the deeper into your roots you are digging. What did you love doing as a kid? Why?
Often, what attracted you as a kid — especially if you’ve practiced some version of it ever since — is something you will excel at today. I spent a ton of time outdoors, camping, fishing and exploring. Whenever I go camping with someone new, I’m always amazed they don’t know how to set up a tent or start a fire — these skills are second nature to me.
Looking into your past can also help you understand the ways you’ve progressed. For instance, if you once sat alone in your room reading all day, but now find yourself attending social events and effortlessly mingling with all sorts of people, you’re probably very, very charismatic and flexible, given where you started out. However, you have evolved over the years, shifting and refining your focuses will tell you about your natural inclinations.
4. Have Confidence
Many of us feel like we aren’t legit — especially at the things we are very, very good at. Having confidence and avoiding the pitfalls of imposter syndrome can be tough, especially when everyone around you seems so much more focused and experienced than you.
It is easy to slip into mediocrity when you expect nothing more from yourself, and confidence in what you’re doing and where you’ve ended up is key for understanding what you’re good at. If you’re younger or newer to a field than most of your co-workers or cohorts, you’re probably pretty good at whatever skills have landed you there.
5. Decide What You Want to Be Good At
Sound simple? Not quite.
Knowing what you want to be good at — how you visualize yourself as the best possible you — represents a struggle unto itself. You will need a plan and goals, a path toward self-improvement and honing your skills. In the process of designing and following this plan, you will discover plenty of other skills you’re good at and need help with.
Finding the balance between your natural propensities and the practice required to excel can be tough. We would all love to pick up something new and immediately become proficient. Unfortunately, honing your skills takes practice and careful focus, with many setbacks and distractions on the way. Stay focused and enjoy the ride.
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