Q: Hi Aidan! My Family has always put pressure on me to be successful but I have no clue what I can do or what I am talented at.
I have limited academic skill and the only skills that anyone has taken note to is my shooting but I don’t like being good at a talent that was invented to initially kill people and I am certainly not competition level. Still I have no clue what else I am good at. What should I do?
A: You should NOT be looking for a thing you are good at… RATHER you should be looking for something that you would LIKE to get good at.
ItWhat are you INTERESTED IN?
I am going to tell you a story. I am naturally GOOD AT MATH. Not just cause I am asian. Throw numbers at me and I can do calculations so fast I do not need a calculator. Numbers have always come easily for me. Unfortunately, I have ZERO interest in being a mathematician, or a physicist, or a scientist, or a chemist or anything like that. There were so many people who tried to encourage me to move my career in that direction when they realized my gift for math, but I was really uninterested. Sure it boosted my ego when I would get A’s on my math tests and people would praise me for it… but had I pursued a career out of trying to impress other people or “sticking to what I am good at” I would have been MISERABLE… ME? A MATHEMATICIAN? NOOOOOOO.
What I really ENJOYED was acting and stand up comedy. The problem here was I SUCKED AT FIRST. For YEARS AND YEARS I sucked. No really. I sucked. The main issue was that English is my second language and I only started learning the language when i was 10 years old… Acting is a field in which you really need strong skills in language and comprehension and unfortunately I didn’t have that. So when I would audition for school plays, I literally could not READ THE LINES off of the page quickly enough to be believable.
BUT because I was INTERESTED and NOT TALENTED in the field I stuck to it through the tough times and now I am happy to say I get paid to do what I LOVE TO DO. You should aim for the same.
I recommend everyone listen to ted talk by Angela Duckworth. Angela is a Stanford professor who studies the science of success. She discovered that the number one indicator of those who ultimately reached the highest level of success in their given field was not IQ, financial background, talent, physical strength or beauty, but rather GRIT AND PERSEVERANCE!
If you want to be REALLY REALLY good at something, you ought to pursue something that you are REALLY REALLY interested in. No matter what you choose to pursue you WILL his obstacles (even if you are super talented). For example… A talented figure skater may win regional competitions and at some point he will have to move on to national competition where he may not place as high. This figure skater may feel discouraged by the poor result and it is at this crucial point where he will either push through and keep trying despite his perceived failure or carry on with grit and perseverance. With merely natural ability and no interest in the field the figure skater would likely give up and end up just “a pretty good skater”…
Aim to be EXCELLENT at what you LOVE TO DO. It’s okay if you suck at it at first.. your passion and interest will keep you moving toward improvement.