Talents come in many varieties. They may be artistic or technical, mental or physical, inwardly directed or outwardly. They need not be profitable, useful, or conventional, but they will always be your own, a part of what makes you, you. Talents are usually second nature and “feel right”: The expertise seems easily gained.
Think about what you love to do. What do you usually enjoy doing, without being asked? What do you seem to be naturally good at?On what do you focus best or most enthusiastically? What must you be dragged away from doing?
Play. Whatever that means to you, let yourself do it. It’s not just for children. Experiment, explore, investigate. Try doing different things and entertain different activities. Even try on different personalities.
Give yourself a safe environment for your explorations, one in which you feel free to explore and try different things without the creative inhibition that tells you you might be “wrong”. That could be as simple as practicing something alone, with nobody or only a trusted friend looking on. If nobody has to read your practice writing or watches your early attempts at dancing or looks at the notebook where you worked out the details of your latest invention, you won’t have to worry about what they think of it.
Try taking some personality tests. They can offer insights into the way that you think. Look for the book Please Understand Me by Kiersey or try the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. These sorts of tests do not identify talents in and of themselves, but they can lend insights that might provide part of the puzzle.
Learn about your learning style. You can find online quizzes for that, too. Major learning styles are visual, auditory, reading/writing, and tactile/kinesthetic.
Notice what people tell you about yourself. Do they notice that you light up when you explain something? Does everybody seem to compliment you on your writing? Your physical coordination?
Consider your interests. What sorts of things do you like to read about, write about, or talk about? What shows do you watch on television? What magazine and newspaper articles catch your eye?
Notice what you’re not good at, too. What seems always to be a struggle? What makes you feel awkward or out of place? For instance, some people are great talkers but hate writing; for others, it’s the other way around. That’s not to say you can’t develop skills and strategies in areas that are not your forte, but if you choose to do so, you will know that they are not
Keep a journal or notebook of some sort. It doesn’t have to be fancy or formal. You could keep it on the computer or even use voice recordings, if you prefer. Free writing from time to time is one good way to get at what’s on your mind. If writing isn’t for you, try drawing pictures, “mind-mapping”, or making notes some other way that suits you. Regardless of the method, capture your thoughts now and then. It can help you to spot patterns and themes within your life.
Practice. Once you find something you love to do, do more of it. You will improve your skills and refine your technique this way. You will also discover the depths of your talent, whether it was more a passing phase. Even if the interest turns out to be temporary, you may notice what interested you about a particular
Share your talent with others. It’s okay to practice by yourself, but at some point, you should nurture your talent by finding a teacher, even if it’s just somebody else with more experience at something who can give you advice. Having an audience (even a small one) is, in many cases, equally important.
Use your talent. Make the world a better place, or just show off. Consider making a career of it, or just a hobby. Or if you just want to make it useful just for yourself.