This week I am reading a biography of Winston Churchill. When we think of a larger than life figure like Winston, we assume he had a life of success at every turn. Usually that is far from the truth. Winston was not a good student. He was not good at foreign languages and math. He failed the entrance exams for at least two schools he wanted to get into. He needed to be tutored in order to pass the required tests. One exam he took between his Junior and Senior levels of education was Latin. It was a two hour test. He wrote 1. on the paper. About a half an hour later he wrote (1.) and put parentheses around the number. That was it. He just sat there unable to answer the questions. Mercifully, the headmaster came and took his paper and he was able to leave the exam room.
What people didn’t know about Winston was that he loved History and English Composition. He was talented in those fields and they would prove key to his success later in life. He was also stubborn and he refused to give up. That served him well when he was helping his country face the Nazi’s during the Second World War. These gifts and talents are part of what made him a great leader.
Each one of us has been given gifts and talents. Sometimes those talents are not readily identifiable by ourselves or others. Sometimes they are so different than what other people have or what society requires that they are almost unrecognizable. Whether we can identify them or not at the moment does not negate that we have them.
If we are at a loss to figure out where our talents lie and what course we should follow, what can we do? We can look on the Internet and take one of the free tests available. We can also grab a book that has the test in it, tells us about the different gifts and suggested occupations for those who have those gifts. One I read a while back is Dr. Caroline Leaf’s, “The Gift in You, Discovering New Life Through Gifts Hidden in Your Mind.” You can get it used on Amazon for only a few dollars. I have given this book to others trying to figure out where their giftedness lies and what they can do with it. I would highly recommend this book to anyone seeking to identify the gifts and talents within them.
Why is identifying our gifts and talents so important? I believe that if we can identify our gifts that we will be able to seek employment in the appropriate fields and lead a more satisfying and fulfilled life. Notice I didn’t say, “We will be able to become wealthy and a tremendous material success.” The happiest people I know are those that are functioning in their areas of giftedness. They are serving where they fit the best in this world and are making the greatest impact in the lives of those around them.