Searching for our hidden talents
Talent isn’t rare. They say our world overflows with worthy talent
that continues day-to-day unrecognised. We all have them, but we are not
always so good at identifying what they are. Sometimes they can be right
in front of us, and we miss them.
I can safely bet that you and your family members possess few such
Natalie Portman in Your Highness
There is some special unidentified talent within each of you, which
could make all of you happy and, maybe, famous. The point is, have you
ever thought of finding out what those hidden skills are? Nine out of
ten, the chances are that you haven’t.
I am inspired to ask this question after reading an article written
by Natalie Angier - journalist for The New York Times - captioned From
Lab to Red Carpet, which describes the wonderful life of the Oscar
winner Natalie Portman.
Natalie Portman is a professional first-class American actress. She
started her career in 1994 but mainstream success came when she was cast
as Queen Amidala in the Star Wars prequel trilogy (released in 1999,
2002 and 2005).
In 2005, Portman won a Golden Globe Award and received an Academy
Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the
drama Closer. Between 2005 and 2010, she won a number of awards for her
In 2010, Portman starred in the psychological thriller Black Swan.
Her performance received critical praise and earned her a second Golden
Globe Award, the Screen Actors Guild Award, the BAFTA Award, the
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award and the Academy Award for Best
Actress in 2011.
Strangely, while in high school on Long Island, Portman was also a
semi-finalist in the Intel science competition. For those who know how
gruelling it can be to put together a prize-worthy Intel project and
devote hundreds of hours of “free” time at night, on weekends, during
spring break and summer vacation, doing real, original scientific
research while one’s friends are busy partying, the achievement is
testimony enough to Ms. Portman’s self-discipline and drive.
In 1999, continuing her desire, Portman enrolled at Harvard
University to study neuroscience and the evolution of the mind while
still working as an actress. She completed her bachelor’s degree in
Natalie Portman is not alone in identifying the hidden talents. If we
talk of the film world, Harrison Ford is a pro at piloting helicopters
and fixed-wing aircraft. John Travolta, Morgan Freeman, Clint Eastwood,
and Angelina Jolie are also a few of the celebrities who became pilots.
Angelina Jolie also collects daggers and specialises in knife
throwing. Bruce Willis is an amazing harmonica player. Amanda Seyfried
is an excellent knitter, Steve Martin Steve learned how to play the
banjo at age 17. He was recently nominated for two Grammy awards in
The list goes on and on.
Just think for a moment what a difference it could make in our
children’s lives if we were skilled in identifying hidden skills. Here
are some points to consider.
* Realise that everybody does something well. I’m talking about
unearthing strengths as well as talents. Talents are relatively
automatic. There is no choice about possessing it in the first place. A
strength involves choices about when to use it and whether to keep
building it, but also whether to acquire it in the first place.
* While recognising certain talents is unique for each individual, we
all have strengths. Developing strengths give us purpose and a strong
feeling of accomplishment. Your daughter may not become an Olympic
swimmer, but she may have what it takes to be an engineer, a
motivational speaker, a rock climber or an expert in organisation.
* Identifying talents is often influenced by our own experience. The
other day, I heard a nephew’s comment: “I played cricket all through the
school, so my child will play.” In childrearing, parents are drawn to
what is familiar. While this may pay off in discovering a
multi-generational powerhouse in racquet-ball, it may also create a
stifling scenario when the child does not display the same ability.
Parents need to keep an open mind and embrace a broad perspective when
helping a child discover her own talents and strengths.
* As adults, we need to step back and ask ourselves: “Am I
encouraging my child to pursue a particular activity to benefit the
child or to positions me in the social setting I desire?” Be honest to
You may gain popularity for pulling off a successful fundraiser, but
the experience may be offering very little to your child in discovering
and developing a natural talent.
A child who dreams of singing on stage may lack perfect pitch, but
she picks up foreign languages quickly, or has a talent for writing
Sometimes, children know what they want to pursue, but may not
understand the message behind the struggle that prevents them from
Finding child’s talent should be easier than this. It should feel
natural. While life does not guarantee equal performance levels in the
talents of your choice, every person deserves to enjoy the feeling of
We can identify hidden talents of a person at young age
Finding hidden talents provides that feeling.
Finally, for adults who need to identify their hidden talents
themselves, Mike Michalowicz, an American author, entrepreneur,
lecturer, and television personality has a few tips. “Finding your
talent is actually much easier than you may realise.”
* Listen to others. Those around you usually know what your talents
are, even when you don’t. If you think about it, people have likely been
telling you that you are good at something for a long time. You just
weren’t listening. Now is the time to listen.
* Determine what is easy. Are there things that you find really easy
or obvious to do, while others may struggle or muddle their way through?
If you have things that you find super easy, you believe that they
should be just as easy, or obvious, for others, but that’s not how it
plays out. In this scenario, they struggle while you stand there feeling
like it was a cake walk!
* What you enjoy most. Your talents may be demonstrating itself in
other ways. Are there magazine topics that you just can’t get enough of?
Are there shows you love? Think about what it is that you love to do
most when you have free time. If you are drawn toward it, it is a
* Is there a specific subject that you love to talk about, often to
the point that your friends want to shoot you? Consider the subject,
perhaps it may be one of your hidden talents or is connected to one.
* Just ask. Ask everyone you know that will give you an honest
assessment about what they think your talents are. Make them share the
one or two things that they think you are hands down most talented at.
But always ask them one-on-one. Compile the results and there is your
When you know what your talents are, you feel more in tune with your
The sun shines brighter. Jerks are less jerky, and all is well with
the world because you’re on track. You have a purpose in life.