How to Know if You Are Talented

Sometimes our weaknesses are just signposts, trying to point us to something else.

The most talented, thought-provoking, game changing people are never normal.

— Richard Branson


Sometimes creativity is an obvious trait, like blue eyes. All you have to do is look at the kid playing dress-up for hours in front of a mirror to guess that they just might be the artsy type. But other times, creativity is a dormant gene, undetected for years.

Because creativity is often diagnosed as a disorder, only the negative traits of creativity are noticed and the positive ones are left undiscovered. People view themselves as deficient instead of gifted, and they can’t see the blessings for the curse.

There are ways to realize your creative genetics. It’s undeniable, and if the positive traits haven’t shown themselves, the negative ones most certainly have and you’re probably very aware of them.

I have a friend who didn’t discover her incredible gift for pencil art until she was in her forties. Until then, she felt like an ungifted failure who couldn’t do anything right. She was very aware of the negative traits associated with creativity, but none of the positive. But now she is an accomplished artist with skill and passion—not because the negative traits went away, but because she discovered the positive side.

In this post, we're going to discover what creative superpowers are hidden inside you. Behind every so-called weakness there is always a strength.

If you accidentally put away the milk jug in the cupboard instead of the fridge, you might be a deep thinker. Sure, you're absent-minded, but that's not because you aren't thinking—but because you are. You're just not thinking about what you're doing at the moment. Your mind is far, far away, solving problems, unraveling mysteries, imagining new stories. Don't be discouraged if you're absent minded. The world is in short supply of people who can think for themselves. Keep on cogitating, friend. You can always get another gallon of milk ...

If you used to bite-sculpt your sandwiches into boats and airplanes as a kid, you are probably an artist. Try your hand at art for a while. If you don't know where to start, just grab a sketchpad, a pencil, and how-to-draw book. This is the best (and cheapest) way to discover if you have artistic talent. Almost every artist—whether they're a sculptor, painter, musician, designer, writer—can draw a little. Even if it doesn't turn out to be your strong suit, sketching will quickly indicate whether you have an artistic eye. And I promise, from one artist to another—if you are able to draw anything more than a stick figure after a couple lessons, you have artistic talent.

If you snap to attention and realize you’ve been staring at the texture of a wall for who-knows-how-long, you might be a daydreamer. And while that might sound negative, the only place where daydreaming is wrong is in school. Being a daydreamer means you have an active imagination. It's healthy to let your mind wander—it gives birth to novels, stories, drawings, music. If you were trained to view daydreaming as a bad thing, it's time to change your perspective. Of course, there are certain times when daydreaming isn't the greatest idea—while somebody's talking to you, for example—but generally, daydreaming is a gift, a talent, shared by every creative genius out there.

If you are well-acquainted with the nod-like-I’m-listening tactic, you probably have ADD. Or, as it should be known, the gift of being extremely observant. Leave it to doctors to call talent a disorder! While it's not polite to get distracted while somebody is talking to you, ADD is an indicator that you're actually an observant person ... you just have trouble controlling it. You notice everything. The world is your source of inspiration. While that person has been talking to you, you couldn't help noticing the fascinating homeless guy limping across the street behind them, the swollen, billowing clouds that just eclipsed the sun, the smell of burning logs on the air. It's called divergent thinking, and it's not a crime. Many people don't have or understand this way of thinking—where simple experiences spark an uncontrollable swarm of thoughts. Instead of beating yourself up over it, just embrace your observant gift and channel it through your passion—writing.

If you just realized you have been scanning this blog post without really reading it, you are probably a fast reader. You're able to rapidly surf across information, picking up the important points, without the need to read every word. This is also called skimming or speed reading, and people pay money to learn how to do it. Seriously.

If you are markedly self-critical, you are probably an artist. Now, everyone is a little self-critical at some point, but I'm talking about perfectionism. You never call yourself "good enough." You aim for excellence, and hammer yourself when you miss the mark. Before you go any further, go watch this video by Simon Cade—it will change your whole perspective. Self-criticism can empower an artist to push their abilities far beyond the average person, crafting breathtaking works of art and masterpieces of literature. My own advice: learn how to become a constructive critic of yourself. Never just say, "This isn't good enough." Say, "This isn't good enough because ________" and then fill in the blank. I could write a whole post on this one topic, so I better stop here ;)

If you feel like you don’t fit in to any of the creative stereotypes everyone else gladly adopts (yes, including the “artsy” stereotype), you still might be a markedly creative person. The thing about creative people is that they never fit in. Ever. You have something unique to offer. You are the kind of person that is in high demand—you could have a multi-million dollar career in store for you, if you work hard and stop trying to be somebody else. Don't trade your rareness for something common, just to fit in.

If you feel like a failure even when you’re comparatively accomplished, you are an overachiever. If this is you, go read my article called How to Beat Discouragement. Maybe you have several notebooks full of sketches you hate, a shelf full of writings you aren't very proud of, a lot of unfinished goals hanging over your head. But read my lips: It's going to be okay. You've accomplished more than millions of people have even dreamed of doing. You have a big future!

If you have trouble understanding why other people don’t care as much as you do about the beauty of your surroundings, you are a visionary. I know it's hard to understand, but some people don't mind working in an ugly office with poor decor instead of a beautifully arranged, artistic space. You care about the attractiveness of your physical surroundings because you have an eye for beauty, and one day people will pay you for this very gift. What if you're a writer, how can an eye for beauty make any difference? Well, your writing evokes a certain sense of image and elegance that will enrapture readers. Sometimes the most beautiful things in creation are the ones that can only be seen in the mind, and you have the ability to convey that through words.

If your mind is a wild creature so untameable that sometimes you are actually scared of it, you have an imagination to compete with J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Roald Dahl. Don't try to subdue your imagination—instead just channel it into your creative work. With the proper focus and hard work, you likely have the talent to scriven a masterful fantasy or science fiction novel of epic proportions. Personally, I've noticed that an active imagination can produce ideas that are less than savory—or even scary. It's just an annoying side effect of fruitful imaginations. If this happens to you, take it to the Lord. He'll take care of it, and there is nothing to be ashamed of. Keep dreaming.

If you love starting projects but hate finishing them, you are probably multi-talented. You like to try stuff out. It's okay. You are exploring, trying to find your passion. I've started about a hundred different projects in my life, and each one helped me learn about my own talents. Starting projects is a good thing. You will learn what you are good at and what you are not, and you're preventing a middle-age crisis. You never want to look back and wish you had tried. Plus, your desire to finish what you start proves that you are capable of it. Seek out some good training by experienced artists—learn about how they finish their projects, and discipline yourself to do the same.

If you doubt sometimes if you’re really a creative type or not, you’ve got hidden talents. Your doubts are clues, hinting that the talent is in you somewhere, trying to manifest. Start trying creative projects, one after the other, until you find something that clicks. You'll know it when you try it, and you'll be glad you did. Don't get discouraged after the first couple of tries yield no results. Keep searching—that talent is buried, somewhere ... but you'll never discover it if you don't give it a chance.

Hopefully, you found yourself somewhere in this post. These "negative traits" are the most common ones I could think of, and we all have many of them. I relate to almost all of these myself. Did I miss any?

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Joshua Pior

I'm a twenty-something writer of several short stories and (bad) novels, an artist, board game enthusiast, and homeschool grad. God has used stories again and again to impact my life, which first inspired me to become a writer and to help other young adult authors write their best stories yet!

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