For a long time I’ve always had the idea that no matter how good I was at something, someone out of the 6 billion+ people on the planet is going to be better at it than me, and let me tell you right now that mentality is crap. Even if it is true, I’ve decided it doesn’t matter. It’s hard to want to be good at something when you’re thinking negative thoughts like that, and you’re seriously hurting your ego, self esteem, and potential. I used to think for hours at a time, “what do I have that others don’t” and would compare my individual talents/abilities with my peers. You know what I found? Out of the few hundred people I’ve had direct contact with on a fairly regular basis, I could think of someone who was smarter or faster or more muscular than me, and I think it really did hurt my self confidence. I used to try to figure out what I’m good at, what I can beat everyone at and because I always though “well so-and-so could do that better” I never could figure out what I liked to do and was good at. I’ve been told that you become and “Expert” at something by practicing it for ten thousand hours. That is four hundred sixteen point six days of one activity. I have no idea if that is true but if you do ANYTHING for ten thousand hours it would make sense for you to be really, really good at it by the end. So that got me thinking- what do I do more often than anything else? It’s still an answer in development, but I think about ways to improve myself for hours on end every day. When I’m not pondering self improvement, it’s because I’m trying to figure out how something works or what makes people behave in certain ways. I finally decided that one of my biggest strengths is my ability to think- to observe, analyze, and reach a logical solution for a problem or come up with out-of-the box ideas. It just sort of clicked, and I knew This is what I’m good at. It was a really, really good feeling.
I’m sure you’ve wondered what your strengths are at one point and if you haven’t, now is probably a good time. What do you do more than anything else? Read? Play video games? Whatever the activity is, try to figure out which aspect of that is beneficial. If its reading, I bet you could write a novel or poetry much easier than the person who excels at video games, because your vocabulary will be more extensive and words and ideas will likely come to you more easily and run together smoothly. The gamer can probably work out puzzles and riddles more easily, depending on what types of games they play. The idea here is to figure out which skill you use during your favorite or most frequent activities and try to use that in other areas of life. I like to think and to read, and I’ve found like I like very much to write down my thoughts in a way that can potentially be of interest to other people. I’ve been researching jobs where my primary job would be to think, like a think tank or a design firm, because I know a career in a field like that would play right into my strengths.
If your friends or family often tell you you’re good at something, don’t shrug it off. Really think about why they said it and if it’s really true. Don’t be modest with yourself, if you’re actually talented in an area it’s definitely worth exploring a little bit more. If you do happen to know what your strengths are, sit down and write out ten ways you can use that strength in everyday life. Are you good at making friends? Maybe you should be a salesman, a marketer, or project manager, where you can use those skills on a daily basis to actively improve your job and life. Can you play a musical instrument? Practice every day, try to compose some songs and put them up on the internet. Make a blog where you write about the history of the instrument, different ways to play it, and how it’s changed your country’s culture. Maybe you’re a graphic designer- Make a blog where you write about whatever project you’re currently on and what steps you’ve taken to produce it, or give design tips or the latest web gadgets. (I’m really into blogs right now).
No matter what your key strengths are, think of ways to use it to your advantage. If you can’t come up with anything email me and we can brainstorm together. We’re sure to come up with something, because brainstorming is one of my strengths.
Be all you can be and don’t run with the scissors.