How to get the best out of what life has to offer?

Discover and develop your talents
PostedAugust 20, 2014, in  Step 3: self assessment
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Every person has unique talents. These talents are the key to personal success. At the same time, human nature provides you with obstacles (‘dragons’), which stand in the way of realising these talents, such as: high expectations, a lack of self-confidence, being too critical et cetera. How to find the balance between talents and dragons?  

Illustration Ivo van Leeuwen

Financial security

It sounds so logical: do what you do best, develop your talents. But in reality this is not always easy. A job is often an opportunity that presents itself, rather than a targeted choice. To work is not a luxury, but a necessity, because to live in and maintain your home, calls for financial security. A monthly income gives peace and reassurance. Whoever has this, does not quickly change jobs, especially in case of a mortgage and children.

Discover your talents

Yet, they do exist, dream-chasers who focus on their passion. Not looking for the beaten track, they do it their way. Although often admired for their courage, it is less special than it seems. You can do it too, at least if you know what you want to do and can do. This is when knowledge about your talents is essential. For some this is obvious, but many have no idea. Fortunately, there are some simple steps to discover your talents:

  1. Listen to others. Often people close to you know you better than you think. Probably they often praised you for your talents, but you simply did not hear it. To really listen is a challenge.
  2. What can you do easily? Write down what you are good at. Be aware of the fact that talent is not shared property: what you are good at, most other people struggle with.
  3. What do you enjoy? Fun is an important indicator of talent.
  4. What do you like to talk about? What fascinates you? What are you talking passionately about?
  5. Ask questions. Simply ask some questions to people around you. Emphasize that an honest answer is paramount. Do not have a group discussion, but have individual conversations.

Practice daily

Once we know our talents, it really begins. Because talent does not flourish by magic after all, it requires practice. Human nature has a tendency to repeat mistakes. Only when new insights occur, a learning curve is created. Who applies an insight, makes it part of his / her ability. New insights occur through practice, preferably every day. Who has a gift for languages and wants to learn Spanish, would do well to practice a few new words every day. With a disciplined approach the ‘talent for languages’ will develop rapidly, with an exponential growth curve as a result.  


In addition to a healthy dose of discipline, focus is important. Energy follows attention. It is important to remember to focus your attention on your goals. Given the fact that the average person has about 70,000 thoughts per day, distractions are always lurking. Mindfulness may be a helpful tool to focus on the here and now.

Take care of yourself

To develop your talents requires time and attention. It is an intensive process and that is why relaxation is important. Occasionally just do something that you really like, and make sure you can get back to practicing with renewed energy. Continue to take good care of yourself, and then you will get the best out of your talents. 

Be human

Who is on the look out for their talents, also makes contact with their dragons. To be confronted with your lesser features can be unpleasant, but these are also part of your identity. Accept who you are with everything that goes with it. Rest assured, everyone has areas for improvement. Perfection does not exist. That is what makes us human.  

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PostedAugust 20, 2014, in Step 3: self assessment
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