Do you know why they’re called hidden talents? Because you need to look for them.
I am going to tell you about a bag of chips and how the CIA may be very interested in that bag you like to eat. But first I am going to talk about your surprising hidden talents.
Everyone has them – hidden virtues, talents, skills, practices that come easy, and genius.
I have evidence from years of paying attention to people I have coached or encountered in my life that people have strong talents they take for granted or often ignore.
It is not just what you ‘do not know that you DID NOT know’ that you now know that surprises me; it is also what you ‘did not know that you DID know’ that you now know that surprises me and others!
Most insights into people are not A-Ha’s but Ah-Duh’s – things that upon hindsight, we feel we had known all along.
As I have coached into my 25th year, I have become fascinated with people when I first meet them – I wonder what knowledge they hold that is hidden to them – what Ah-Duh’s they hold? I have never been disappointed.
Most people overestimate their abilities by several factors. But there is also a lack of knowledge or awareness of what resources they have to solve the problems that seem to follow them around.
How do you bring these resources and hidden talents to your awareness?
1. Be kind to yourself: Transform the urge to invalidate oneself or judge oneself
Notice when you judge or invalidate yourself. Pause, take a deep breath, and ask the question “What does invalidating yourself or judging yourself buy you?”
Then ask the question “What fine treasures of thinking and ideas am I missing by focusing only on one aspect of myself that may not work?”
2. Practice being open to new categories of thinking
Notice the frame of thinking that you tend to use to approach problem-solving; e.g. is it debating (that is a fight for what is right) or a dialectic (a search for the truth) or a diatribe (hateful attack verbally on yourself or others) or is it a gentle sweet curiosity about what will have your life work for you?
Especially pay attention to what information you have not been attentive to about yourself that reveals hidden talents.
Abe Davis, a Ph.D. candidate at MIT, uncovered a unique technology called the visual microphone. In a demonstration, he yells at a bag of chips in a soundproof chamber while a video camera captures images of the chips.
The chips vibrate at very minute levels but using the captured vibrations of the chips, he is able to translate the small, minute vibrations of the chips to play back the words in the exact voice of the man who shouted at the chips – like a visual sound recorder. Imagine how much the CIA will want this technology to spy on their enemies?
You never know what lies beneath the surface of what we have in front of us. What opportunities may be lurking hidden inside you?
3. Practice being open to new information
Listening for the stray remark or the remark that is made with a certain inflection of voice of wording.
Being keen on these stray remarks or inflections tells you a lot about what you may be unwilling to confront or affirm in yourself – including why you have a lot going for you even when things do not look very good in terms of circumstances.
4. Practice being open to different perspectives without losing your center
Being willing to let people tell you what is working about you – why you make their life more pleasant and great. Being encouraging of the positive word about you as well as the negative word.
Let people speak both positively and negatively about you – while you pick and choose what to believe based on facts rather than uninformed opinion.
Sometimes when people complain to me about something I did – I also ask them what worked about how I was with them.
5. And most importantly, practice keen and refined listening
Catch and distinguish the filters that you inevitably have about yourself – filters include the colored lenses of opinion and judgment through which you listen to yourself and others.
The key to refined listening is to acknowledge failing to listen when you fail to listen and then to ask others and yourself “What did I miss?”
The above points would be too serious or too self-obsessing without bringing a sense of play, curiosity, and joy to the game.
6. Bring play to the game – take the ups and downs of life less seriously but take the creation of your future that you love more seriously.
Since 1991, I’ve been reflecting on, designing, and implementing methodologies and systems for bringing a transcendent, creative and innovative approach to critical aspects of entrepreneurship.