The most important decision you have to make every day is where you spend your time and energy.
Every day you allocate these two precious resources and your current situation in life shows you how you're doing. To live your life to your fullest potential, you want to choose activities that provide the best return for your time and energy.
The best way to do that is to:
Invest them in activities that use your natural talents.
This sounds obvious but take a few minutes now and reflect on your past week. Resist the urge to come up with excuses as you ask yourself:
If you're like most people, you probably didn't use many of your talents at all. I can bet that you're probably not even sure what your talents are.
No matter which group you're in, take the following steps to use your time wisely:
Step 1: Believe that you have talents.
We all do. If you've stopped believing that, then you've been trapped in an environment that hasn't allowed you to showcase those talents. If this sounds like you, you may want to jumpstart your life.
Step 2: Figure out what those talents are.
Many people have an inkling about their talents but if you don't have a clue, consider taking an aptitude test or check out books like The Strengths Finder 2.0 or What Color is Your Parachute. You may also want to ask close friends, family members and colleagues on what they see as your natural talents.
Step 3: Use those talents all the time.
Since we spend most of our waking hours at work, this means finding a job where your strengths are requirements in the job description and avoiding careers where your talents are actually weaknesses. With your spare time outside of work, look for hobbies that use your natural abilities to further hone your skills.
Warning: Don't confuse talents with interests. Talents are actual skills that you can use where as interests provide the context in which to use those skills. For example, you may be interested in movies but it doesn't mean you're limited to acting or directing. You can write scripts, build sets, raise money, etc.
To make the biggest difference you can make in the world, find the intersection between:
- what you're naturally great at
- what you're interested in
- what people will pay you money for
Money amplifies the impact of your talent and financial freedom can be both a pre-requisite or result for pursuing what you love.
But no matter how talented you may be, without action, nothing happens so take 30 seconds now and write down three things you're naturally good at. If you don't know, write down three things you'll do to find out.
To close, here is a passage from writer Marianne Williamson that inspires me every time I read it:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate,
our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be
brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous -
Actually, who are you not to be?You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some of us: it is in everyone
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously
give other people permission to do the same.- Marianne Williamson, Writer
Let your light shine.
Photo by Lilit Matevosyan
Robert Chen is the founder of Embrace Possibility and author of The Dreams to Reality Fieldbook. He helps people who feel stuck move forward by guiding them to see other possibilities for their lives. He specializes in working with high performers get to the next level. If you're going through a tough time right now, check out Robert's article on How to Feel Better Right Away and if you're having trouble getting what you want out of life, check out How to Always Achieve Your Goals.