Watching the talent show the other day, I sat in front of the telly thinking about how I could also pick up talents like these people could so easily do. Feeling inspired and intrigued, I picked up my phone and started googling on ‘how to solve a Rubik’s Cube’ and ‘How to be a Ventriloquist’. I never quite got past the first few steps though, and so I went back to envying these talents that were receiving applauses and standing ovations.
If only I have a talent, I thought to myself. Immediately, I went on to embark on a paper exercise to identify what my talents are. After staring at the paper that I have been scribbling on for the past few minutes, I was still scratching my head. I had listed down my skills, what I liked doing and what I was good at, but nothing stood out as talents. To be honest, this was something I had done many times that it appeared to be a habitual exercise now. I have nothing new to add to the list either.
Exasperated, I gave up trying to figure out where my talent is and went about my usual routine, trying to put it behind me, only to have the same question pop up in my mind again after a few months. Like a vicious cycle.
What Is My Talent?
Have you ever asked yourself this question? If so, what comes to your mind?
Perhaps you are still searching for your talents and wondering where they are hidden. Or perhaps you already have a talent but you don’t think of it as a talent?
We are easily influenced by what’s going on in the outer world today. Just seeing someone able to complete solving a Rubik’s cube in 30 seconds, we are awed and want to be like them too. We admire and sometimes envy them for having found their talents, while we are still here trying to figure it out.
Here’s the thing. We are often inspired by what we see people doing in front of us, but we rarely take into consideration the amount of time they took to practice behind the scenes and how obsessed they are with their ‘talents’, which with practice, turn into something that we could possess too.
Behind The Scene 
A few years back when Kendama, a Japanese toy, was popular, I had the opportunity to witness such talents behind the scene. Players from around the world would post videos of their tricks and skills on social media to demonstrate their mastery, gaining followers and massive likes. It took me a long time to just get the basics and by the end of it, I was quite bored with failing. Needless to say, I decided I had no talent with this sort of thing and gave up.
On the other end, I have seen those around me who were so skilful at it. They would post a trick that seemed so easy to them and get numerous likes. But what others didn’t know was the hours of practice and obsessions the Kendama players put in to record that few seconds of success and talents, including having to clear their phone storage space all the time.
Is Talent Important?
I’d always remember two brothers who started playing badminton from a young age. The elder brother loved badminton and would practise any moment he could, but it was through hard work that he was finally able to play skillfully. The younger brother, on the other hand, had only mild interest in badminton and rarely played, but he had a talent for it. You could see it in him when he stands in the court, how he could control the shuttle with ease even without practising for a long time.
It’s a funny world. The elder brother remained loyal to the sport despite lacking talent, and the younger brother could play as though he never needed practice yet he wasn’t into it as much. So it is not whether you have a talent for anything or not, It is whether you have the interest and then the passion for what you are interested in because that’s what you need to keep going when the training gets tough and you have to overcome challenges to get to where you want to be, up there.
Talent Versus Skills
In all honesty, one can be talented yet without practice, they would not be able to show their talents well. Contrarily, even if you don’t have a talent for anything, as long as you put in the time and effort to practice, you will get there one day.
For instance, even if you have no skills in writing, you could practise and write until one day you become a good writer. The 10,000 Hour Rule – of deliberate practice on a continuous basis may apply here. Or 10,000 pieces of writing perhaps? It wouldn’t have mattered if you enjoyed writing, but if you have the talent for writing and you don’t appreciate your writing, even writing a short piece would seem like a chore to you.
Focus On Yourself
One of the other thing that makes us think we have no talents is probably what we see in other people. Perhaps we have talents, but the talents of others seem much better, nicer or more fun.
Your talent for doodling may not see as interesting as someone who can do parkour, for instance. So you decided that you have no talent because you decided to write off that talent of yours that doesn’t seem interesting or could bring you success.
We often envy what others have and could do, yet never really look inwards towards ourselves – what we’re skilled at, what we enjoy doing, could do and want to do.
Do you feel that you have no talents, at all?
Looking at those around you, some of your peers are genius in Math, some of your friends are great at selling while some are skilled in art or music. Someone is always good at something, even if they may not realize it now.
You do too have talents. Learn to embrace them. If you decided to pursue this talent, by all means. If you decide that you don’t have any interest in the talents that you possess, then try out other things that you are interested in and/or passionate about.
We all have to start somewhere. If you are constantly tearing your hair apart trying to figure out where your talent(s) lie, why not be proactive and take some actions to start searching? Actually go out there and find one.
Try out many things, explore all your interests, learn as much as you can. 
Or perhaps you can start with these skills that you probably already know and polish them further. Until one day, they become your talents.
Survival Skills 
Having these skills will help you survive in this tough world, and keep you going even when you are alone.
  • Cook. If you don’t know how to cook anything, start learning. Instant noodles, fried eggs, boiled eggs, porridge, etc. If you already know how to cook simple dishes, could you level up and whip up a nice meal?
  • Gardening / Planting. Learn to grow your own food. If you could learn to plant all sorts of vegetables, fruits and herbs if allowed, all the better. You will be able to create your own resources and not having to spend on things that you can create yourself.
  • Cleaning Up After Yourself. Being organized can add a lot of merits to your life. Are your personal space, like your room, cluttered and messy? Could you discipline yourself to pick up and clean up? In the real world, do you often leave messes or problems to others to clean for you? Are you constantly seeking help from your family and friend whenever you get into trouble? Honestly, it also means learning to take responsibility for yourself.
  • Upkeeping Good Image is not only basic but necessary. People develop their first impressions of you within four seconds of meeting you, and before one minute is up, they are almost certainly have fixed that impression of you. So, it is important to keep a positive outlook of yourself any time of the day.
  • Budgeting Your Finances. Learning to budget your money effectively is one of the must-have skills to be able to survive in the society today. Financial mismanagement is one of the many causes that wreck friendships, marriages and businesses.
  • Discipline. Being motivated is one thing. Being disciplined will take you far and beyond. If you cannot discipline yourself to stay focused and committed to anything you set, nothing will stay. Not when you are trying to learn a skill, not when you are trying to find your talent.
  • Patience. A virtue in itself, many of us are too anxious to want to succeed at everything we set out to achieve. Having patience will let you experience the journey and appreciate what you pick up over time. Relish in the journey, not the endpoint.

Communication S
kills 
Probably the next most important skill to possess is the ability to communicate and connect with anyone. Proper communication skills can help you in many areas of your life, both personal and professionally. Lack of communication bring you more harm than good in a friendship or relationship, Miscommunication may break them up. So, it is vital to master these skills.
  • One to one, or speak in front of an audience? Take your pick. If you are more comfortable with small groups, start with one on one conversations. Learn about body language, how to maintain conversations without getting awkward. You could also train yourself to speak to more and more people with time. Practice makes better.
  • Writing to express yourself. Some of us who are not verbally inclined may prefer expressing ourselves through words. In today’s world with email and posts on social media, being able to articulate yourself is important.
  • Learn a new language. We are living in a glocal world today. Most of us speak two or more languages. Even though English is one of the most used media, there are also other languages that are unique to the respective cultures. Learning their language will bring your worlds closer to each other.
  • Doodling is also a form of communication. If you are not keen on expressing yourself verbally or literally, you can choose to do it through art.
  • Listening. The ability to listen, and focus on what others are saying, fully and truly, will bridge strong connections for you.
  • Being empathetic. Try putting yourself in others’ shoes and learn to view things from different perspectives rather than focusing only on your own point of view. It will turn you into a better and more understanding person.

Handy Skills 
Some of these handy skills will help you save a lot of time and inconvenience, especially when help is far away.
  • Changing flat tyres
  • Diagnose and repair car faults
  • Changing bulbs
  • Fixing electrical faults 
  • Plumbing 
  • Driving Skills – This could be a necessity or a nice-to-have in certain countries.

Skills that Develop A Better You
  • An adventurous or exploring mindset – Even if you are not able to travel to explore geographically, you can still develop an exploring mindset by always keeping an open eye and an open mind to whatever comes your way. It could be trying a new dish, a life event, or simply a friend’s view on a certain issue. It could be anything, literally.
  • Always Be Learning Something New – Be it marketing or writing, art or sports, always be interested in learning something new, every day. You can choose to pick up something simple such as learning a new word a day or playing Sodoku, to something more such as creating a website or creating a furniture.
  • Be yourself – As we grow up, we start adapting ourselves to what is expected of us be it by our family or the society. With time, we bury more of who we are by masking behind whom we want the world to see us. Being able to be yourself, comfortably and unapologetically, is what many of us forget to do as we grow older. Don’t let yourself lose that.
  • Setting and achieving goals – Creating smart goals and actionable plans in place to take action in the right direction is easy, but you can do all the planning and still be treading waters. The key is to take action and achieve the goals you set. Take action consistently and be able to follow through to achieve those goals you set.
  • Reading broadens your horizon. Read a variety of topics and genres and you find your world and mind open up. It could be fiction, a bibliography, a self-help or even a recipe. You might find gems the Internet cannot provide you
  • Meditation allows you to quiet your mind, thoughts and emotions. You don’t need to do it for long, even a five-minute silence and observation on your thoughts could help you pace yourself down and regain control of yourself. A habit of meditation helps in your focus and attention span, as well as taming your reactions to issues that might trigger you.
  • Instil Confidence in yourself. Start by challenging yourself, growing yourself, achieving your goals. Stop comparing your life to others.
  • Stay curious. Many of us lost that curiosity in us as we grow older. We think we should know it all especially when we’ve gone through and received so much education. But the world is so small yet so large, everything is changing every day. Staying curious will bring you more wisdom, and often times, opportunities.
  • Play Strategic Games teaches you how to strategize, whatever you want in life and in your career. It also allows you to think broader and deeper before you take actions.
Soft Skills That Will Help You In Life
  • Build strong observation skills. Be aware of what’s going on around you.
  • Practising your planning skills allows you to see the overall big picture as you will need to run through the chronological events, especially when you are entrusted huge project at work, or your major life events like planning your wedding, or starting a family.
  • Organization – Being organised in your life and career will save you lots of troubles and time.
  • Negotiation – This skill will be very useful when you want to ask for pay raise or promotion, or simply saving up when you buy your groceries at the wet market.
  • Teaching – Share and pass on your knowledge, and you will realize that you are also learning something new at the same time
  • Tact – being able to deal with tact and diplomacy will help in maintaining positive connections, especially in sensitive environments. You will also attract more friends.
Career-Related Skills
Some of these skills are growing common and may be a necessity in the near future, especially for the younger generations.
  • Coding – learn to create websites, about programming, create games, apps or whatever that you find yourself interested in. Create a portfolio each time you complete a project. You won’t know when you might need them.
  • Social media marketing – everyone is on at least one social media platform these days. Rather than just trying to scroll through feeds, find out what you can do on each platform. If you have an entrepreneurial dream, do research on how and when you can reach out to the different audience effectively.
  • Sales – Being able to sell is a life skill. Most people think selling is a talent, but it is, in fact, a skill that comes with hours of practice. Those glib-tongue salespersons you see who seem so natural at what they do have been doing and saying similar dialogues every day. Some of us are thin-skinned and shy to sell. Most people don’t take rejection objectively and that begins to dull their confidence. Knowing how to sell means you also know how to deal with objections and getting past feeling personal. At the same time, it opens you up to a multitude of career avenues in future.
Fun Skills To Have
  • Bake. Mastering baking skills can turn into a talent when you can craft out an IG worthy cake or delicacy. Do you know how to make flowers from frostings? Do you know how to make whipped cream without buying from the store? Could you bake something that not only looks but also tastes yummy? Not only you are whipping up delicious food that people will praise you for, but you will also build community and relationships in the process while enjoying yourself.
  • Music connects the mind and emotion, as well as people. Learn an instrument, be it a keyboard or a guitar often reel in satisfaction and/or new friendships you might never know.
  • Balance – Learning to balance yourself on a bicycle or on a tightrope, you learn to focus and balance.
  • Coordination – Not everyone can coordinate their left hand and their right leg well. Something as simple as dancing may come as a struggle for many.
  • Flexibility – Are you able to reach your toes without feeling the stretch or struggle? Being flexible physically and psychologically can do wonders. It shows that you are adaptable to changes as well.
If you have struggled with finding your talent, why not start with building up some skills and master them? Afterall, what are talents without practice?
The main idea is not to get yourself stuck in the loop of trying to work out in your head what or where your talent is, but to explore and take actions to find out for yourself, and build on them through action taking because life is a process of self-discovery.
Your journey doesn’t end when you have finally found a talent that you want to possess or improve on, but to keep polishing yourself and your skills so they don’t become blunt.
Practise making your basics brilliant. It’s not about doing the great thing once, it’s about doing the small things great, consistently.
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