Ever ask yourself: "What are my innate talents and gifts? What are my natural strengths?" More than likely, at some time, you have desired greater clarity to these questions.
Discovering, or more accurately, rediscovering our natural talents is what I call Natural Temperament. By reconnecting with our unique gifts, we re-teach ourselves to trust our instincts of imagination, curiosity, and resourcefulness. Acting on these gifts brings about a state of continual renewal and rejuvenation. We are energized again. They are so wonderful we don't have to "teach" ourselves to use them. They come into our lives ready made at our unlimited disposal.
Our Natural Temperament involves looking at six attributes. They derive from the work done about the attitudes and approaches of Olympic athletes. If they seem obvious to you, they should, because more than likely you did them effortlessly before the age of 6.
As you explore each of the attributes, conduct a simple self-assessment by evaluating yourself on a scale of 1 (not at all) to 6 (to a great extent).
Trust Natural Capacity to Learn
Olympic athletes and young children trust their capacity to learn. They are clear about their talents and skills and dismiss any doubts as a waste of time and counterproductive. They say, "This is what I can do. Isn't it wonderful!"
Here are a few questions that will serve as guides to help you define your gifts and talents.
• What do I do easily that others marvel at?
• In what ways do I easily solve problems?
• What flows effortlessly for me when I am playing, working on hobbies, or at work?
• What do I do well that I didn't learn in school?
• What do I want to keep doing once I get started?
• What happens so effortlessly that it's too good to be true?
How would you evaluate yourself, using the scale from 1-6, with regard to trusting your natural learning capacity?
Concentrate Absolutely When Learning
The second attribute of children and Olympians is that they concentrate absolutely when they are in a learning mode. It is as though they have blinders on to the rest of the world. They bring a peaceful obsession to the learning process. They declare, "Leave me alone, I'm playing." Nothing is more important to them then learning.
How would you evaluate yourself, using the scale from 1-6, in regard to your ability to concentrate when in a learning mode?
Analyze Limitations to Improve Performance
The third attribute is that they analyze every learning limitation in order to improve performance. They ask: "How can I get better at what I'm doing? What was missing from what I have just experienced that if I did it differently would make all the difference?" Not what was wrong or bad, simply what was missing. They focus on developing their strengths and managing their limitations.
How would you evaluate yourself in regard to your ability to analyze how to improve performance?
Let Go of Mistakes
They easily let go of mistakes. Even though they may be disappointed periodically, they don't feel sorry for themselves, and they forgive themselves quickly. Rather than "trial and error," they practice "trial and learn." To achieve mastery, they know that they must make mistakes without shame or guilt. They repeat to themselves, "Get up, dust yourself off, learn, and get on with it." This is what toddlers do as they teach themselves to walk.
How do you evaluate yourself in regard to letting go of mistakes?
Believe in Themselves as Excellent Learners
They know they are excellent learners. They do not discount their learning abilities. If they don't understand something right now, they are confident they will figure it out eventually. They know, "I'm smart, and I'm learning my way." They say consciously, knowing intuitively, "I can do this."
How do you evaluate yourself in regard to believing you are an excellent learner?
Look Forward to New Learning Challenges
Finally, they look forward to new learning challenges. They are learning fanatics who never inhibit their natural inquisitiveness and curiosity. Solving problems is a joyous and limitless adventure. They marvel, "Wow, look at all the great stuff to figure out!"
How do you evaluate yourself in regard to looking forward to new learning challenges?
These six attributes about self and learning provide clues to how we can activate our gifts and talents. Renewal and rejuvenation take place when we tap into our unique hidden reserves and bring them alive.
Reflection: Based on your self-assessment of these attributes, what one decision will you make today, and practice for a week, to improve bringing alive your natural learning capacities, gifts and talents?
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