Almost all of us were born with abilities, and inclinations. Some people are more drawn to music than others. While some are better at football than others. But it’s possible that environment or culture may have prevented you from discovering your abilities and inclinations. For example, if Lionel Messi had been raised by parents in an environment where he never got the chance to play football as a kid, he probably wouldn’t have discovered his passion and aptitude for football. What if instead of football, Messi was exposed to music growing up? Or what if Michael Jordan was exposed to rap music instead of basketball? Would they have achieved the level of success they had in these alternative fields?
If you’ve never been to a sea, for example, you have no idea whether you have an aptitude for sailing. So isn’t it possible that the reason you may not have discovered the domain where you perform at your best is because you haven’t had an encounter with that domain?
Think about Malcolm. Malcolm got involved in illegal street hustling, dealing on drugs and pimping. He was later arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison. It was while in jail that he discovered books and fell in love with reading, debating and oratory. His transformation in prison gave birth to Malcolm X, the renowned African-American social activist you’ve probably read about. May be he would never have realized that he had the potential for public discuss and social justice if he hadn’t gone to jail. He might have ended up bitter about the racist society he grew up in and never really done anything positive about it.
So what does this tell us about how to discover your hidden potential? In this video, you will learn practical ways to discover your domain of excellence. You will also learn how not to go about finding your passion. Before we get to it, be sure to subscribe to After School TV for more insightful videos like this.
NASA contacted two scientists to develop a highly specialized test that would help them effectively measure the creative potential of NASA’s rocket scientists and engineers. The test turned out to be very successful for this purposes, but the scientists were left with a few questions: where does creativity come from? Are some people born with it or is it learned? Or does it come from our experiences?
The scientists then gave the test to 1,600 children between the ages of 4 and 5. What they found shocked them. This is a test that looks at the ability to come up with new, different and innovative ideas to problems. What percentage of those children do you think fell in the genius category of imagination?
A whole 98 percent!
Here is where it gets more interesting…
The scientists were so astonished that they decided to test the children again five years later when they were ten years old. The result? Only 30 percent of these children now fell in the genius category of imagination.
When the kids were tested again at 15 years, the figure had dropped to 12 percent! 12 percent!
What about us adults? How many of us are still in contact with our creative genius after years of schooling? Sadly, only 2 percent of the population of grownups retained their creative abilities. Isn’t it sad?
These results have actually been replicated more than a million times, and the shocking implication, as revealed by the scientists, is that the school system, our education, robs us of our creative talents.
As kids, we were natural innovators and had powerful imaginations. Even with the little knowledge, we gathered about the world, we were able to create our own world of limitless possibilities. Although some of our imaginations were unrealistic – like dreaming to fly like superman – our imagination had a component of our talents and abilities locked inside of it.
Then one after the other, parents, teachers, schools, and strangers began to strip us of our uniqueness. Holding on to our dreams soon became classified as weird. We listened to the grown-up around us because we thought they must know better. Then we grew into adults having no clue what we are doing here.
Unless you are like Christiano Ronaldo who discovered their passion at a young age, most young people are clueless about where and how they fit into the world. Society had robbed you of your creative talent.
What now? Can we recuperate our creativity?
From what the researchers found from the studies with children and from how brains work, there are two kinds of thinking that take place in the brain. Both use different parts of the brain.
One is called divergent — that’s imagination, used for generating new possibilities. The other is called convergent — that’s when you’re making a judgment, making a decision, testing something, criticizing, or evaluating.
Divergent thinking works like an accelerator and convergent thinking puts a brake on our best efforts. As we got older, the society and education system focuses on developing our convergent thinking and suppress our divergent. Convergent thinking induces fear. As one of the scientists puts it, “If we operate under fear we use a smaller part of the brain, but when we use creative thinking the brain just lights up.”
The result of focusing on convergent thinking is that we develop unreasonable assumptions about ourselves, our environment, and people. But we can start by questioning our assumptions. Examine your assumptions about what you’ve been told are acceptable based on your race, background, social status, or environment. Your cultural values might dictate that you are too young to have a voice in society or to have political ambitions. You must challenge your assumptions.
Discover your hidden potential through evolution
As a grownup, the best way to discover your hidden talent is to give yourself as many opportunities as possible across different fields. I discovered this important lesson as a young and hungry graduate out of school. If you don’t know what to do, do whatever your hand finds to do. It’s a verse in the bible, “what s0 ever your hand finds to do, do it with all you might”
One, I knew I didn’t want to get and retire from a job. Knowing what I didn’t want to make it easy for me to know what to say yes to. When the opportunity presented itself, I took a job working in a movie production company. Then, another opportunity opened up, I moved to market movies. Then I moved to selling jewelry; then to construction, then started writing and learning to code, then started a business selling used laptops from the UK. Each of these opportunities I embraced taught me important lessons about myself. I learned what I wanted to do and what I didn’t want.
I took the same approach when I decided to challenge my fear of public speaking. I enrolled in an entrepreneurship class and joined groups in the church, but it just wasn’t working. Then I learned about toastmasters club. Joining toastmasters was one of the best decisions I ever made. When I represented by division in a district speech contest, just within one year of joining the club, I couldn’t recognize myself. From there I had the opportunity to mentor other members; which was an opportunity to explore my mentorship potentials.
The point is that to discover your hidden potential, you have to accept as many opportunities as you can to try new things; things you’ve never done before. Some things may not click with you. Move on from the things you don’t connect with and keep accepting more challenges.
It was Thomas Jefferson that said, “If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done”. I’ll like to paraphrase this and say that if you want to discover the potential you never knew you had, you have to be willing to do as many things as possible that you’ve never done.
Because you need opportunities to discover your talents, you need to try to create as many new opportunities for yourself as possible. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Take courses on subjects you are curious about but have never studied. Meet new people. Travel. You have no idea what capabilities you have locked inside you. The more new situations you expose yourself to, the more opportunities you have to discover abilities you never knew you had.
It may take you 5, 15, or even a lifetime to discover what you are born to do. It doesn’t matter, because the path toward discovering what you are here to do is part of the journey. The important thing is that you are on that path. You have inborn abilities you may not know about, so give yourself opportunities to discover them.
If you found this video helpful, like and share it with someone. If you are yet to subscribe to After School TV, now is a good time to hit the subscribe button. Until next time, YOUR SUCCESS MATTERS!