Everyone has some sort of gift. Yes, everyone. It may be one that you were born with, or one that you cultivated over time based on your interests, but yes, you have one. However, unless the gift is something that is readily marketable people either ignore it, don’t value how much it’s really worth, or believe the naysayers who tell them that it’s not a gift at all.
Let’s look at the first group: those who ignore their gifts. Somehow we’ve (I’ve fallen into this category many a time) got it into our brains that life should be as hard as possible. We do a few things remarkably well with the greatest of ease, but yet, we ignore those accomplishments to pursue what is difficult. Sure people should challenge themselves, but why must one ALWAYS challenge him or herself? It’s perfectly okay to follow your natural or cultivated gift. Bill Gates and his partner Paul Allen turned their love of computers into a billion dollar company. Are they geniuses? Maybe. However, they may also be two guys who found something they loved and rode it to profitability. The point is that there may be unexplored opportunities in areas in which you are gifted, and sometimes those opportunities aren’t the ones that are readily apparent. Any singer who got their start writing songs for other people can tell you just that. There isn’t anything wrong at all with pursuing what comes easily to you. In fact that may be the best method of all.
The idea that you don’t pursue what you’re best at leads to my next point. Sometimes people don’t value their own skills. They spend time wishing they were better basketball players, but they write poems and short stories with the greatest of ease. Or they desire to be scientists, but have the aptitude to teach. Sometimes this devaluing of skills is a result of what is glorified in society. The excellent basketball player is revered more often than even the best novelist by most people. Nonetheless, why spend useless time pining away for a skill you won’t ever have when you have great material within yourself? Someone, somewhere is probably asking God for the very thing that comes naturally to you. Think about that, and then go out and work on being the best at that thing.
Finally, there will be people who will tell you that your gift is no gift at all. That you should learn to do something practical because there is no money in X. Okay, sometimes they are right, there may not be immediate money in X, and you should plan for that. However, that doesn’t mean that will always be the case. There are occasions where you may work in a low paying job for a while before your gift turns into your career. Or you may have to pursue higher education so that you have the credentials to do what you’re that which is your best skill. None of this matters. If you can’t pursue your gift right away that is still no reason to discard it wholeheartedly!
Leaning into your gifts can be challenging, but ultimately the most fulfilling thing you can do for yourself. The final product may look nothing like what you originally envisioned yourself doing, but nonetheless your work is valuable. So to every novelist who becomes a technical writer, and chemist who discovers a new nail polish that isn’t toxic, or every artist who is behind the scenes – kudos!