Think about the most successful person you know. Now think about what makes that person so successful.

Chances are they have found something they are extremely good at and have exploited it to the nth degree. Tiger Woods, Bill Gates, Donald Trump, Tom Hanks and Warren Buffet are all names that come to mind. These individuals all have truly found what they are good at and have gone to great lengths to hone their skills.

How does one know what they are good at in the first place? Dumb question you say? Well not everyone reading this is like that guy who knew in 5th grade that he wanted to fly aircrafts all his life. It just doesn’t turn out that way for most people.

Finding out what you are good at doesn’t have to be that difficult though. Sure you can take an online aptitude test, but those are boring. Ride with me, let’s just go find it.

Simple Right Hand vs. Left Hand Exercise

Let’s first start out by taking out a piece of paper and pen.

1. Write your name as carefully as possible with your right hand [if this is your dominant hand].

2. Then write your name again, only this time with your left hand [or your non-dominant hand].

Now take a look at what you wrote. What do you notice?

How to Find What You Are Good At_right handHow to Find What You Are Good At_left handHow to Find What You Are Good At
(right hand, left hand, side by side)

Hopefully you will notice the one written with your dominant hand was easier, is more legible, and probably didn’t take much effort. The one written with your non-dominant hand is still probably legible, but tell the truth, it wasn’t as easy to write it and required a lot more effort.

This is the same way with the things you are good at. The things that come natural to you are the things you are good at. They will almost be effortless to you. What do they often say about the greats? They make it all look easy. Well that’s because for them it is.

Now think about what you are good at in the work place. What comes natural to you? Is it analyzing numbers, writing reports, organizing meetings, speaking in meetings, office politicking, bullshitting? Whatever the case, I am sure you know what this might be.

You Are What You Consume

What magazines do you subscribe to? What do you dream about? What kind of books do you like to read? What websites do you visit most often? [besides ploomy.com of course] What television shows or movies do you like to watch? Is there a theme or constant in all of these things?

Whether you realize it or not, you have developed a certain expertise or taste for a particular thing. We as humans tend to gravitate towards the things we like and no better way to illustrate this is by consumption. You may have to do some digging, but with some careful observation and being real with yourself, you may find that one thing you are good at.

Ask Your Friends and Family

Don’t you just love how your friends and family always have that uncanny ability to remember things you say without you having any recollection of it?

Your friends and family know you the best. They have seen you in action over time, in almost every situation and know all of your moves. In this way, they hold very valuable insight into you as a person. Have a frank conversation with one of them and ask them what you are good at. They may be able to point out things in a certain way that you were unaware of.

Leave No Stone Unturned

“Persistence isn’t using the same tactics over and over. That’s just annoying. Persistence is having the same goal over and over.” — Seth Godin

If you go searching for something you are good at, you might not find it on the first try. Heck, you might not find it after the second, third or even fourth try. The key is to keep trying. Let the naysayers keep drinking their haterade all they want. Never give up.

When you find what you are good at, you will know. Your food will taste better, your coffee will taste stronger, the sun will shine and you will be happier. No, not really, but good luck!



Comments

29 Responses to “How to Find What You Are Good At”

  1. ham on March 19th, 2008 8:09 pm

    I can totally relate with this. Awesome article. Thanks.

  2. Jacks in the hole on March 20th, 2008 11:20 am

    simple but great overall tips. I am a little ambidextrous but I think it makes me more versatile. my right was just as good or bad as my left hand.

  3. stergeron on March 20th, 2008 11:24 am

    +Ham – Thanks for the feedback.

    +Jacks – You are lucky you can write with both hands.

  4. Jeff on March 25th, 2008 4:21 pm

    Great article. keep them coming.

  5. Kurt on May 26th, 2008 12:38 am

    Great article.

  6. Catherine on December 12th, 2008 12:40 pm

    I have to say the exercise provided on this site really makes you think. I think it is amazing sometimes how we complicate things that really …are pretty simple :)

    It was a very cool exercise
    Thanks!

  7. stergeron on December 12th, 2008 12:55 pm

    @ Catherine, you’re welcome!

  8. Brian on December 14th, 2008 11:08 pm

    A little while back I stumbled across Ploomy and was hooked. In reading some of the articles I loked at myself more honestly and realized I like, I don’t know what to call it, men’s high end fashion. I’ve always liked dressing up in suits with cuff links and tie clasps and the whole shebang. As I read this article I agreed with you completely. I have found what I want to do, and even though most everyone (except my best friend) disagree, I’m persisting. I pinned your Seth Godin quote above my desk at home as a little extra motivator.

  9. David on January 3rd, 2009 10:52 pm

    hey i havent found what im really talented at but i have a few questions that are troubling me
    1. what if i go into college now nowing what im good at and eventualy nd up studying something that is very hard for me because i’m not good at it?
    2. What if the thing m natually good at isn’t something i enjoy or want to spend m life doing?
    3. I like mechanic engineering but know nothing about it and wonder if i could change somethng im naturally unskilled in to something i am skilled in

  10. stergeron on January 4th, 2009 3:01 pm

    @David, here are my thoughts on your questions:
    1. There is nothing wrong with that. College shouldn’t only be about things you are good at.
    2. That’s fine. I had a similar thing happen to me when I entered college and chased down a major for a little while before doing something else. I’d keep uncovering stones and finding other things you are good at. Self exploration should always be a constant.
    3. That is something that will be answered in time. They say the general rule of thumb is that for someone to be highly skilled at something, it takes roughly 10,000 hours. Put in your time and I am sure if you like it enough, you’ll be great at it.

  11. David on January 4th, 2009 4:09 pm

    thank u for responding so quickly and helping me a great deal, i’ve never been om this site but im sure i will look fr answer more often here, thanks again

  12. -=pankit on January 9th, 2009 3:07 am

    “successful people don’t do different things but they do the things differently”.

  13. MEL on January 16th, 2009 9:19 pm

    I honestly found your article better than those who does some ridiculuous tests and at the end gives that 10 page result sheet which says nothing.I did lots of them, and everytime I ended up with a huge zero, if I can already answer those 100 questions why the hell am I doing that test,

    secondly, I agree that talking with people who really knows you is a great idea, ’cause if you really are good at something the people who are closest to you may have already noticed it… anyway I enjoyed and found some courage from your article,,, GOOD LUCK EVERYONE,,DON’T WORRY WE’LL BE OKAY:))

  14. deisy on February 7th, 2009 11:10 pm

    hey,thanks 4 your article…
    i haven’t found what im good at,,but im trying,,here what i want to ask,,,
    my parent really hoping me to choose a major in computer,,but im not really sure,,can i really success there,,(i do have some interest in computer but im not good at it)

  15. Alpesh Chourasia on April 25th, 2009 12:28 am

    Great article …..exactly fits into what i thought……….

  16. Chris on May 20th, 2009 9:18 pm

    Your article was very inspirational. I’m at a certain crossroads myself right now and trying to find the ‘right’ path in my life. Going through college and hoping i pick the right major and if its going to lead me to bankruptcy or an awesome bank account. I wish it was as easy as someone telling me where to go and what to do

  17. Joren on November 15th, 2009 9:32 am

    So what happens when your mediocre at everything you try/do?

  18. sean on January 3rd, 2010 3:12 pm

    so… If your not sure what your good at and at the same time being pressured into college how should you go about selecting classes? just take what you like? how do you decide what to go to school for? just feels like everything im doing is a waste of time but everyone says any college classes are not a waste of time. I understand that any college is good college but im ready to get on with my life and feel as if im getting no where at all……..

  19. Rhett on March 24th, 2010 10:00 pm

    Part of what makes the selection hard is the conventional way we are taught to think about jobs. Aptitude tests and the help-wanted classifieds put jobs in neat pigeonholes: secretary, machinist, dental technician. They don’t have spaces for jobs that are unusual or hard to define, like an e-bay reseller, door-to-door pet groomer or street performer.

    It wasn’t until I came up with a really great invention that I realized I had been thinking of better ways to do things all my life, and figured out what I should have been all along. So figuring out what comes naturally is the first step, but finding ALL the job possibilities it fits is an important second part.

  20. tgb on May 18th, 2010 7:53 pm

    i love this article. i still remember when you first posted it! i’m kind of at a crossroads with my current job and am finding this article even more helpful now than before! thanks ant! :)

  21. Brenda on July 23rd, 2010 10:52 am

    Hello, I am 42 yrs old and still in that I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up thing. I started life young with family and never got to go to college and make all my childhood dreams that I wanted to come true. I have no regrets though. I am still young enough to go on and find something and make new dreams. My question is, what if you are a jack of all trades, master of none? It gets really hard to choose one thing because I have many interests but none of them are defined , not sure if its my age and experience or what. I find myself wanting to do certain things but once I get focused on something, I end up changing my mind and thinking something else would be better and more fun for me. I just want to find something that doesn’t seem like work! I guess its good to be multi talented in a sense and able to do almost anything you put your mind to, but its not as easy finding a career that utilizes that. Please help!

  22. Nikolai on August 2nd, 2010 4:16 pm

    Oh My God! I just can not believe this! Dear Brenda, this is quite a unique moment. The thing is that I was reading the article followed by the comments with all my thoughts in my head trying to sort them out and towards the end of the comments I came closer and closer to what I am looking to comment about myself. And the very last comment from you is word to word to my situation! Although I am much much younger than you (17) thankfully maybe I could find the answer a little earlier.

    I am in the exact same situation. Just like Brenda said “jack of all trades, master of none” in fact those were the words I was looking for for a couple of years.
    Thank you
    And yes Please Help!
    Kind regards
    Nikolai

  23. Brenda on August 11th, 2010 8:27 am

    Dear Nikolai,
    Just a suggestion for you since you are younger and able to put the time into it. A career that really interests me is Civil Engineering, Land Surveyor. You have to put 7 years towards this to actually go out on your own to do. Thats why I haven’t pursued it. I have worked as a supervisor for a land surveyor actually doing the field work and I loved it. You get to work outdoors doing the actual physical work ( which isn’t too physical besides trimming an occasional branch of a tree). Its a lot of walking depending on if you are using the pole or at the camera. You get to use your brain because you have to think of a lot of things, where to set up, where to take shots, etc. Then you can work inside using your intellect doing all the computer work to print out the plats and such. Just an idea for you to think about.

    Hope you find your dreams! Good Luck!

    Brenda

  24. Nikolai on August 31st, 2010 3:40 pm

    Dear Brenda thank you for your reply. That is defiantly something I will try out.

    Good luck to you too!

    Best regards

    Nikolai

  25. Vallabh on September 10th, 2010 1:20 am

    its a really good article. I will try and use all the methods to see what i am good at. i think most of the people in world dont know what they are good at. Hence they are unhappy with their work life. They are unable to recognize their passion. This is article for all of them.

  26. T A on October 24th, 2010 1:33 pm

    How do you find out what you are good at … if you have no interests that you can specifically relate to? I do not care to read, write, etc… I only watch TV when someone else is watching… and I only enjoy it when it is Reality tv sadly. I loved working and pleasing folks that I worked for… but now that I am no longer working, I have found that I am definitely no good at doing nothing. I need help~

  27. Mike on October 27th, 2010 6:01 am

    This was a great article, but I need more answers too.

    I’m going to be 27 soon I had to go straight to work after high-school because my parents did not have the cash to send me to college. I’m seriously worried about my future. I feel like I’m not really good at anything so far and I’m still looking for that one thing that I’m going to end up loving and making a living from.

    I think we need another article!

  28. Francis on November 11th, 2010 3:11 am

    what you are good at should not make you work for money, it should make money work for you. Be good at acquiring assets. The key word here is success. To succeed, what should i do. everyone has the answer. if you crack your brains daily, crack it double. The answer will come. i tried it and i found out what i was good at. THINK!!!!!!!

  29. Jeff on August 8th, 2011 4:41 pm

    I am almost 45 and just like Brenda, word for word, I hate my life because I have no idea what I am good at. I have always done things to please everyone else. Forgone my dreams because people say i’m a dreamer. I don’t live in reality. Be realistic! You have to choose a job for which there is a market I am told. I’m already in super debt with student loans and I would have to go back to school yet again if I were to do something that I am a dreamer of. I am between a rock and a hard place.




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