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Build Success on the Foundation of Your Strengths & Talents

Updated on April 3, 2013

"... there's wisdom in acceptance..."

"I started along that line mad as a swarm of angry bees. But it calmed me more than anything I ever experienced. I smashed into rock bottom. It was awful. But it was also the first time I can remember being awake and not feeling like I was falling, like I had to swing my arms and legs hopelessly trying to fight that constant downward sensation. I felt the earth under my feet. It was solid. I saw the sky above me. It was vapor and the setting sun was fire. I was small and powerless in a time and a place. It was real and I was real. I was a part of it. I was there. I was in it. It wasn't, as I had always believed without thinking about it, mine to own, to conquer or rise above. I was with it... there's wisdom in acceptance."

From Sacred Dust by David Hill

Are you living your life…or a shadow of it?

We are often pushed to focus on our weaknesses & try to succeed at them while saving our talents for our spare time. This is sheer insanity.  Title: Finishing Work  Attribution License: Photographer: Duncan
We are often pushed to focus on our weaknesses & try to succeed at them while saving our talents for our spare time. This is sheer insanity. Title: Finishing Work Attribution License: Photographer: Duncan

Recognize, Accept & Train to Your Talents for Success & Happiness in Life

Who do you think you are? Are you yourself or are you a paper doll representing someone else's dreams? Have you always known what you wanted and, more importantly, been supported in pursuing it, or have you followed the steps that were laid out for you? Have you arrived at a point of abandoning those steps without a clear path to follow?

When I read the quote above, it struck me as clearly describing the way it feels when you quit trying to fulfill other people's dreams and accept and embrace your own true strengths and hearts' desires. When you trudge through life trying to be what you are supposed to be and never knowing who you are, you can never belong.

You never know what you really want because you have been told all along that you want something else. Struggling to achieve that something else is like "trying to fight that constant downward sensation." Even when you achieve the markers of success for the goals you have been handed, there is no joy and no lightening of the burden.

Know Thyself

It is so important to know, accept, and be trained to your talents. It is so important to recognize your talents and know from an early age who you really are and what you really want. Without this you are likely to pursue an inauthentic path into a life that never fits. When this is the case, you are very likely to feel inadequate at work, following a life path that is not really your own. When you are doing the things you really want to do - the things you really have a talent for - the way is easy and the burden is light. You can feel as if you belong and are a part of things.

We live in a country that was founded on the idea that anyone can rise to any height with hard work, ambition, and dedication. All are created equal. While that is true to an extent, it leaves us with the notion that anyone can succeed in anything he or she attempts. Sadly, this is not true. If your pursuit is poorly chosen and does not match with your natural talents, you are unlikely to ever meet real success.

Build An Authentic Life

When this is the case, you haplessly end up stumbling through life feeling like a failure because you are struggling with a set of choices that do not suit your strengths. To pursue a life course because it is a "steady job" or a "sensible choice" without ones innate talents being taken into consideration is to set a course for disappointment and frustration. While it may not seem like the most practical choice, it usually pays to "follow your bliss".

Unfortunately, in our society, we are often pushed to focus on our weaknesses and try to succeed at them while saving our talents for our spare time. This is sheer insanity. We all have things we do well and things we don't do well. People who are truly successful and happy are people who have recognized, accepted, embraced, and pursued their talents in life. It is simply not possible to excel at something you don't like and have no desire or talent for. In choosing a career and mapping a course in life, it just makes sense to focus on your natural talents.

Accentuate the Positive

When you dwell on your shortcomings rather than building on your strengths, you will begin to feel that your true talents have no value, and you will have very little reason to feel joy or gratitude. It is difficult to have a feeling of accomplishment in life if every success is meager and hard-won. This is why it is smart to accept your weaknesses and identify and embrace your strengths. Build on your strengths. Not to do so is to build a house without a foundation.

Of course, everyone falls short of dazzling success from time to time, but why decrease your chance of success by choosing to do something you are not good at? When you put your focus on your natural abilities and strengths, you gain strength to achieve more and find more success. When you do this, you become a more effective person. Your accomplishments can make a difference in the world.

What to do?

If you are just starting out in life, preparing to go to college or choose a career and a path in life, look carefully at your natural talents, interests and passions. Allow them to guide your choices.

If you are a parent, examine your motivations in guiding your child. Are you guiding your child to fulfill your dreams or his own? Be very careful to help your child discover his own talents and interests and to pursue them.

If you are mature and struggling under the burden of an unsatisfying career, take some time to examine what you are doing. If you come to realize that you are holding your dreams at arms' length, be brave enough to make the necessary changes to follow your bliss. Even if there is loss involved, you will be glad of the change in the long run.


  • Build on your strengths and talents!
  • Take the course of least resistance!
  • "Follow your bliss!" Joseph Campbell


Submit a Comment

  • justmesuzanne profile image

    justmesuzanne 4 years ago from Texas

    Thank you! :)

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

    Going to pin this to my Useful tips and ideas board. This is thoughtful advice.

  • justmesuzanne profile image

    justmesuzanne 4 years ago from Texas

    Many thanks! :)

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

    This is an excellent hub Suzanne. Sometimes it takes a while to truly find out what one's talents and true desires are in life...and they can also change as time goes by. One should never fear change. It might stir things up for a while, but that too can be exciting. Up and useful votes.

  • justmesuzanne profile image

    justmesuzanne 6 years ago from Texas

    Thanks, yes, it is easy to build your life on reaction rather than inner knowledge.

  • PaperNotes profile image

    PaperNotes 6 years ago

    Awesome, suzanne! Really, it is easy to get lost in life amidst all the trials and difficulties but when you know and trust in yourself and in what you can do, all else will be alright.

  • justmesuzanne profile image

    justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas

    My pleasure! Thanks, Daisy! :)

  • profile image

    daisy storm 7 years ago

    I have always believed in the quote: 'follow your dreams,' This hub is a good reminder of that! Thanks for sharing it with us. Great hub!

  • justmesuzanne profile image

    justmesuzanne 8 years ago from Texas

    My pleasure! Thanks for your kind words, JayB

  • jayb23 profile image

    jayb23 8 years ago from India

    Suzane this is simlpy awesome. A really needed that. We get into comfort zone or that safety zone and forget what we actually want. Thanks for sharing this awesome hub. Cheers

  • justmesuzanne profile image

    justmesuzanne 8 years ago from Texas

    Good for you, RGraf! Me, too! :)

  • RGraf profile image

    Rebecca Graf 8 years ago from Wisconsin

    Great piece! I went years doing what I "should" do because that was the smart way. I grew to hate my job and dread doing it. But what was I to do? Well, God took over and forced me to look where I had passions and talents. Now, I'm enjoying life as I get to use them and even to earn money.

  • justmesuzanne profile image

    justmesuzanne 8 years ago from Texas

    Yes, that's a very good point, Aya. And, if a person follows his or her calling, the only way to go is up. The way to develop a talent is to practice it! :)

  • Aya Katz profile image

    Aya Katz 8 years ago from The Ozarks

    Suzanne, great advice! I wholeheartedly agree. There is one point at which even the most well-meaning teachers, parents and counselors fail their young charges: what someone is talented at should be relative to his own abilities in other areas -- and not a competition with other people who are also talented in this area. This means that someone is talented in music, if music is his greatest talent -- however meagre that talent may be relative to other muscial people. If someone has a calling for writing -- it's because he yearns to write more than he yearns for anything else -- and is better at it than he is at anything else -- not because he's better than others at writing.

    People are asked to be realistic about their talents and to give them up when they are shown others who are so much more talented than they are. But it's not a competition with others. It's a calling within yourself.

  • justmesuzanne profile image

    justmesuzanne 8 years ago from Texas

    Thank you, Elena and Violet! I'm glad you like this article! This is something I have struggled with, too. I think we are finally coming around to realizing we must follow our own dreams! :)

  • VioletSun profile image

    VioletSun 8 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

    This article is so right on! I was in a path that was not in alignment with who I am, which was banking and didn't feel I belonged, it suppressed my creative spirit and it went on for 28 years! I envisioned myself as a youngster that I would be a psychologist, a healer, a writer,  and that was my goal when I attended college, but circumstances led me into the corporate world and the salary and cushy benefits became a trap.  Nowadays, I am living my life the way I want to and its much more fulfilling. I hope the younger readers, pay attention to what you wrote and make empowering choices, even at the risk of upsetting the expectations of others. We need to be authentic to ourselves, its honoring our life force.

  • Elena. profile image

    Elena. 8 years ago from Madrid

    Suzanne, you're so dead-on with this article! Thanks for writing it! It's that old story about seeing the bottle half empty or half full, if only more people realized the potential of growth and happiness at seeing it half full more often! Well done!