Listening time: 6:11
“A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals. – Larry Bird”
“Find” may seem like an odd choice of word to use when we’re talking about natural aptitude. But our strengths and weaknesses are not always apparent to us. Most of us assume that we know what we’re good at and the areas where we shine, but strengths and weaknesses may not be easy to recognize. Finding your natural aptitude is often harder than you’d think. Our strengths typically come so easily and naturally to us that we don’t recognize them as being anything special. So, how do you find your natural aptitude?
Recognizing and acknowledging our strengths and weaknesses is the first step in being able to develop those strengths into the tools that will help lead us down our path to a happy life. No one is good at everything, but everyone is good at something, and that “something” is the road sign that can direct us along our path.
Our strengths are our unique gifts – individual qualities we’re born with that are specific to each of us alone. Sometimes we look at things about ourselves that we dislike and miss how they in fact benefit us and are an aspect of what makes us special. Everything about us can help support our journey as we travel along the path of our life.
It’s easy to recognize areas of ability in other people when they possess a strength in an area that we don’t have. We might even view it with amazement, awe or admiration, possibly imagining how wonderful it would be if we possessed that area of strength. It’s not however, always as easy to recognize our own areas of strength.
While we so readily see the areas where we have difficulty, we often ignore the things that come to us easily, believing that there’s nothing special about it since it doesn’t require much effort on our part.
If you happen to be an excellent cook, but not a great baker, you might think “Sure, I’m good at it, but cooking is easy. Baking is really difficult”. But it is most probable that cooking seems easy because it’s one of your strengths, an area where you possess natural aptitude. It’s very likely that other people who find cooking to be difficult, admire you for your cooking, and wish they had your ability. These same people might even be great bakers who see baking as very easy. If we acknowledge the everyday things that we do well, we frequently find that many people feel these same activities are difficult.
Follow Your Passion
An indication of where our strengths lie is usually found in our enjoyment of an activity. Our passion for an activity is the fuel that drives us to give our best effort despite the amount of time or energy we are required to invest. Our willingness to put time and effort into an activity allows us to become proficient and so we tend to excel in that area. Our passion for an activity is not only an indication of our strengths, but more importantly, it is an indication of our life’s purpose.
Our strengths, talents and skills support our passion, driving us to follow the path that leads us to living our life’s purpose. When we’re living our life’s purpose we’re feeling fulfilled. When we feel fulfilled, we’re living a happy life. “We are what our deep driving desire is. As our desire is, so is our will. As our will is, so is our deed. – Hindu saying.”
Valid & Reliable Aptitude Assessment
For help discovering your strengths, aptitudes and talents there are several assessment tests available online, but not all assessment tests are equal. Assessments must be free of bias and distortion to be considered sound. Reliability and validity are the two concepts that are most important for defining and measuring bias and distortion.
Reliability is one of the most important characteristics of a test. Reliability refers to the consistency of the test and its results in measuring the subject’s achievement. It should not make any difference whether a student takes the assessment in the morning or afternoon; one day or the next.
Validity is the other essential concept for accurate assessment testing, Validity refers to the accuracy of the assessment, meaning it measures what it is supposed to measure. Even if a test is reliable, it may not be valid, if the tests results are not accurate.
Why are some tests valid and others not?
There are several types assessment tests. Some test will focus on abilities, others on strengths, talents, interests or skills. The most respected assessment tests use a scientific approach to evaluating tests for accuracy and precision. There are many online tests that have no reliability or validity data. While no assessment test is perfect, testing your aptitude (using a respected test) can give you a starting point for discovering your areas of strength.
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