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Sunday, 16 February 2014





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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 talents.

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.

Natalie Portman

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 star performances.

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 2003.

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 2013.

The list goes on and on.

Our children

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 yourself.

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 poetry.

Sometimes, children know what they want to pursue, but may not understand the message behind the struggle that prevents them from achieving success.

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 accomplishment.

We can identify hidden talents of a person at young age

Finding hidden talents provides that feeling.

Your talents

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 natural talent.

* 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 hidden talent.

When you know what your talents are, you feel more in tune with your life.

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.

LANKAPUVATH - National News Agency of Sri Lank
Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL)
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