“Mom, I had no idea you could draw!”
“Neither did I, but then thought, ‘Why not?’ and I gave it a try. Now look!”
“Well, keep it up! This is great!”
“Thanks! It’s amazing what you can learn on YouTube!”
“Mom, you’re on YouTube?!”“Of course, I am! Aren’t you?!”
Have you always thought that tap dancing looked fun, but never thought you could do it? Or maybe cooking is a passion of yours. Do you find yourself watching those cooking shows thinking about how fun it would be to cook some of those meals or host some of those get-togethers? I believe that you’re never too old to learn new things, so why not start? The fact is, we have developed abilities and talents over the years—probably more than we realize! Maybe you no longer use those talents today because they were career-related, or perhaps the busy-ness of life got in the way. You may have forgotten about some of these talents, and maybe they’ve been hidden for years.
There’s no time like the present to discover or rediscover those hidden talents. Not only will engaging in these activities bring you purpose and fulfillment, but they could also benefit others.
Where Are Your Hidden Talents?
So how do you discover these hidden talents—after all, they are hidden or forgotten? Well, there certainly is no set formula to discovering these hidden treasures, but there are a few things you can do that will help you—and it all starts with your mind.
- Take charge of your mind and give yourself permission to break free from everything that’s holding you back. Let go of trying to fit into the pre-defined social mold that comes with getting older. This is the time in your life to do the things that bring you joy. So, even if you doubt yourself or your abilities, give yourself a fair chance and try.
- Set aside some time and find a quiet place, one where you’re not distracted. Bring a note pad and pen to jot down some thoughts if that’s helpful. Relax and start thinking about the things that you’ve enjoyed doing throughout your life. Even think back to your childhood. Maybe you loved going fishing with your grandfather but never had the time to do it as an adult.
- What are the things you’ve always thought, “I would love to do <this or that> if only if I had the <time, energy, ability, finances>”? Jot those things down, too. You can’t go back and change yesterday, but you can determine that you won’t let obstacles get in your way of doing those things now.
- Think outside of the box. Don’t allow a limited mindset get in the way of discovering something you might really enjoy. Age is just a state of mind, so don’t let your “number” stop you from at least investigating the possibility of a fun new hobby or activity.
- New experiences often allow you to try new activities that unlock talents you never knew existed. When you take the opportunity to try something outside your norm, you may discover you have a real interest in it.
So, Do It!
There are many places you can try out new talents. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to draw cartoons. So take an art class or even a graphic art class at your local college. Ever wanted to learn how to be a pastry chef? Take a class at a local culinary school. Community colleges and local senior centers are great places to start learning your new talent. Even local businesses often have classes just for seniors.
But perhaps you don’t want to invest a lot in all the supplies/equipment needed to try out your new talent? Or maybe you’re a bit insecure about going out and trying something new in front of other people? You’re still in luck!
There are plenty of how-to videos on YouTube that will allow you to try out your new talent in the privacy of your home. So take a few YouTube piano lessons (with a free online keyboard) to see if you like it before buying that piano. Take some YouTube ballet classes before buying your tu-tu.
The point is, don’t just think about doing these things. Actually try them. What’s the worst thing that happens? You find out that ballet isn’t your thing, and you try something else.
A Limiting Belief vs. a Growth Mindset
It’s important to believe that you can still learn new things. Limiting beliefs form from the time we’re babies. During our formative years, we were discouraged or told we couldn’t do something, and this formed the belief—that may be hanging around even today—that you aren’t capable of doing the things you want to do.
Dr. Judith Wright, co-founder of the Wright Foundation, recently had this to say about finding our hidden talents. “We may believe we’re too quiet, our voice isn’t good enough, we will never learn to draw, we aren’t good at playing an instrument. Rather than pushing ourselves and allowing ourselves to learn and make mistakes, we try, fail, and throw in the towel. … We fall back into a fixed mindset. Embracing a growth mindset includes embracing the idea that we have elastic brains. We learn, grow, and develop ourselves throughout our lives. A fixed mindset says, ‘You know, I’m not good at that,’ or ‘I’m stupid,’ or even, ’I’m smart.”
Allow yourself to make mistakes. Allow yourself to not be good at something, knowing that you’ll enjoy learning how to become good.
So What Are You Waiting For?
The path to discovering your hidden talents isn’t a destination but rather a journey. Consult with your physician before starting any new physical activity and be sure to enjoy your journey. You may discover that you’re not the next Picasso, but the good news is that the world doesn’t need another Picasso. It needs a happy, fulfilled YOU!
Until next time Wellness Warriors, Live Well, Live Long!