Monday, December 14, 2009

Go For The Gold

#215--Pursue more than just the things you are good at.

You will be told at a young age what your talents are. Enjoy the compliments, but don’t accept them at face value. You don’t want to walk a narrow path; attempt things you aren’t comfortable with and uncover skills or proclivities you didn’t know you possessed.
(from Prudent Baby)

I think a lot of people see themselves as static, as something like a character in a movie: you have certain likes and dislikes, you are good at certain things, you aren't good at others. You have certain personality traits; you like certain kinds of music and watch certain TV shows; you don't like certain foods; all those kinds of things. That is how I often perceive myself, and I blame this partially on those little "about me" blurbs we're always having to write--writing about who you are in a short paragraph is very difficult, and so we write about what we like instead, and then start to think of those two things as the same. They aren't.

My aunt Angela was an opera singer until she was around 40 (I don't remember her exact age). I remember going to her concerts when I was younger, thinking she was amazing. But she never progressed to where she wanted to be. Short story short: one day she went to a craft store, bought a block of clay, and in six hours discovered that she has an amazing talent for sculpting. She's been doing it for several years now, and has truly found her calling. Her sculptures are incredible, and you would never know that this is something she never even tried until her 40s. (Thanksgiving Point, in Utah, is going to have a lot of her sculptures on display in a sculpture garden.)

So the moral of the story is, don't put yourself in a box. The fact that you haven't discovered a talent yet doesn't mean you don't have it; you were not fully formed when you graduated from high school. Don't be afraid to try new things, even if you have no reason to think you'll succeed at them. Life is for experiencing things. Don't limit yourself to staying the same person you've always been; give yourself room to grow, to develop new talents and hobbies, to change old habits and become who you want to be.


Lis said...

I like this post- the older I get the more I try different things and realize I like them. It makes me wish I tried them earlier so I could have been doing/ enjoying them for more of my life. Along those lines, if there is something you're not good at but enjoy doing, then I say do it for the fun of it, even if you don't get great results. If it makes you happy and doesn't hurt anyone, go for it. (That was a pep talk to myself.)

Meg said...

I also love this post. I think a lot now about how I decided what I was going to be and what I was good at when I was in 9th grade - and then never re-evaluated that. I wonder if my life would have been different if I would have explored more options early on. (Not that I'm unhappy where I am, but you know.) I find now that there are a lot of things I'm better at than I thought I was - cooking, computer coding, marketing - and I wonder what would have happened if I'd decided that things like that were options earlier instead of discovering that I didn't want to be a teacher when I graduated from college.