Some people find themselves stuck looking on at others who have special skills and talents.
They may feel envious, or they may feel resigned. They may even feel detached, believing that they had no unique talents in the first place.
But most often, these people have not done all they can do. They have stopped short of their potential.
It can be hard to admit. This is because it is harder to have lost something than to never have had it in the first place.
But if these people can escape their comfortable denial, they may feel compelled to truly make the most of themselves. It’s never too late.
Everyone is unique. It is a cliche to say so, but it is also a fact, and it happens to have serious implications.
Because each person is unique, each person is the only individual who possesses their particular skills and attributes in a particular balance.
If these skills and attributes happen to be perfectly aligned with a certain occupation, they are in luck. They will become enraptured with that occupation as soon as they discover it. They are the prodigies; the ones we say are truly talented.
But what about the rest of us, who are all just as unique as any prodigy? We are no less talented. Our unique talents, however, may be disparate and unrelated. The vocation that makes perfect use of our unique combination of skills may not exist. What will come of us?
The first (and least appealing) possibility is that we could lose sight of our own natural abilities.
When we give up on ourselves and assume that we have no natural abilities, we may come to consider ourselves destined for mediocrity. In this case, we pursue a path that is poorly suited to our identity; we may even become staunch defenders of that path.
Others may have a faulty conception of their abilities. Usually, it’s because this conception has been imposed on them by people who want to decide our future for them.
These people may pursue lofty goals, but if their pursuit does not match their passion and abilities, the end result will be mediocrity.
THE JACK OF ALL TRADES
A second (and more appealing) option is to dabble in each of our talents. Our profession might make use of one or two of them; the rest, we indulge via our hobbies and relationships.
In the end, the sum of our activities represents the totality of our natural abilities. In other words, no single thing that we do truly reflects our identity. It’s the combination that represents us. Our lifestyle accounts for all that we are, and we feel gratified.
Nevertheless, there are those who will still not be satisfied. These people want to bond themselves with a single vocation that is a perfect and complete embodiment of their identity.
Because everybody is unique, these individuals’ dream vocation will also be unique. This is to say, it probably doesn’t exist yet. They must create it themselves.
If this vocation is truly their own, they must be its sole author. Others might be there to help, but never to interfere.
Those who succeed can produce something greater than the sum of its parts. This product is perfectly suited to the individual who creates it because it is the essence of that individual.
We become this vocation, and it becomes us.
This path is only possible to those who have become their truest selves. Their perspectives and ideas reflect who they are today. If they are not fully developed as individuals, neither will their ideas be. Other people will not come to listen to a perspective that is underdeveloped.
A cohesive perspective, on the other hand, will find a prominent place in the world. The self-belief of its holder will ensure that it finds its place as it should.
FIND YOUR TRUE TALENTS
The question that follows is: how do we get there? How do we resist the temptation to resign ourselves to the assumption that we have no unique talents?
We should return for a moment to the second option: to dabble in many things. This dabbling can be an end in itself, but it could also be a stepping stone on the path to creation.
As we explore, there is only one criterion we should hold close: what do we find emotionally rewarding?
We may feel obligated to pursue certain things, even if we find them unfulfilling. These things do not meet the criterion. We should remember the stories of those who follow a path separate from their passion and ability; the end result is mediocrity.
In these cases, we should ask ourselves what insecurity is pushing us to involve ourselves with something that fundamentally contradicts our identity.
In any case, we will not feel fulfilled unless we seek out and find those things that are emotionally rewarding.
When we feel curiosity and enthusiasm towards a subject, it usually means that we understand it in a greater degree of depth than someone who does not. We see its nuances, we see its purpose, and we see the potential for discovery. Through these things, we can discover our own potential.
We should be prepared for the possibility that we may never find one thing that is a perfect match for us. The prodigies are the exception, rather than the rule.
We should also be prepared to meet with dead ends along the way. We need to find pleasure in the thrill of the hunt.
Everything we do should truly serve us. We should not waste our time over-developing our abilities if we are already satisfied with them. Conversely, we should not hesitate to develop our abilities further, regardless of others who disapprove and think we are wasting our time.
In short, we should answer to ourselves. This, like all things, is part of a broader process of self-actualization.
Part of that self-actualization requires that we evaluate ourselves in a way that takes the breadth of our abilities into account. The closer we are to a holistic sense of ourselves, the closer we are to creating something as unique as we are.
Above all, we should remember that we are products of nature and nurture. We are each shaped by the world, and so we each have a place in the world.