What’s My Talent?

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Dear Miss LAJA,
I’m 15 years old and sometimes I can’t help but feel insecure because I see other teenagers doing great things and changing lives but me? I don’t even know what I’m good at. My siblings already know what their talents are; sports, art, music but I can’t figure out what I’m good at. I haven’t found something I’m spectacular at and it bothers me. I don’t want to just live through my teenage years without doing (or attempt to do) something. I want to be able to look back at my teenage years and say “I accomplished this” or “I did that and I’m very proud of it”, you know? What can I do? I feel like I’m running out of time…

Talent Hunter

Dear Talent Hunter,
I know exactly how you feel because I have felt (and sometimes still feel) that way. Like you’re running out of time or you’re never going to find out what you’re good at? I feel you big time because I was once that girl. I swam in my high school back in Nigeria but it was more soccer oriented so other sports weren’t paid much attention to. I was more interested in water-sports and I wasn’t exactly the best at soccer or rounders or basketball and sadly those were the popular sports. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I really invested myself in swimming… 

After I graduated my high school and started school in Florida, out of curiosity, I joined the crew (rowing) team mostly because I had no idea what it was. My dad always told me I had an “athlete’s physique” (whatever that meant) but I’d laugh and not take it too seriously. Maybe there was truth in his words because I had two of the most fulfilling years in my life being on the crew team.  It was fulfilling knowing I wasn’t sports impaired; that there was something I was actually good at. Two years before then, I would never have believed I could actually be good at a sport. I’ve learned that there’s a lot that can change in two years. Believe me, a lot.

Singing or nah?
What point am I trying to make by telling you my experience? First, so you know that you’re not alone and that I’m 100% sure there’s something out there you are good at. It doesn’t have to be sports or art or music related and it certainly doesn’t have to be something that will immediately earn you affirmation and praise from others. It could be the little things like being able to talk someone out of a bad mood or being a good listener or even being good at interpreting people’s moods. Some talents are obvious why others, not so much.  I love using my parents as examples because they’re both very talented individuals. My dad literately talks for a living and he can make you see beauty in discolored, tattered, 5-day old, unwashed, smelly underwear. On the other hand, my mum is a talented designer who crafts handmade jewelry like it’s no big deal. You get my drift?
You should really look to see that you’re not being to harsh on yourself or trying to be good at something for the selfish reasons like being popular. Just cause someone is a great dancer doesn’t necessarily mean you will be as well. While you should draw inspiration and admire people who are exceptional at what they do, deter from comparing yourself to them because their calling might not be your calling.
Being funny or nah?

 I love the fact that you have the zeal to stand out and learn more about yourself. That my dear, is a step in the right direction. You need to be patient. You’re 15 and you don’t need to have your life figured out right away. I believe you learn new things about yourself when you are put in unfamiliar situations so go out try stuff! You’ll be surprised that the thing you least expect might be the most life changing experience. Maybe you just haven’t come across that opportunity yet so you need to be patient and keep trying.
Another important advice, don’t automatically condemn yourself before trying something just because you assume by default you won’t be good at it.

With all sincerity, as I sit here writing this article, I can’t say I can pin down what ‘my talent’ is. One thing I can say is I’ve done so many things this past three years since high school that I never thought I would be able to do. I played sports, I got into an awesome college, I started a blog and the list goes on and on. The road to self-discovery is a long one and you won’t “figure” things out all at once. I’m happy you want to learn more about yourself and I urge you not to stop because it’s one of the best things YOU can do for yourself. Don’t be discouraged and beat yourself up because you’re not getting answers immediately. Rome was not built in a day. Chessy quote but true.


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