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Finding Your Hidden Talent

Updated on March 17, 2012

I never thought I could sing. The trouble wasn't just a lack of confidence but rather that it never even occurred to me that I could sing, having always imagined that singing was something that just happened naturally and you either had it or you didn't.

I didn't realise that it could be developed or drawn out of a person and because I didn't see myself as a singer any attempts at singing were restrained and half-hearted. My vocals lacked any sort of oomph or style and I certainly never thought of singing publicly...the very idea of it was cringe-inducing.

All that changed when I began to learn the guitar a few years back. Having mastered a few tunes, I discovered that playing the instrument was a lot more fun and a richer experience when I sang along to the music, even if I didn't sound very good. At first I sang behind closed doors, experimenting with different sounds and stretching my voice as far as I could. I disovered that I could sing some tunes quite easily, depending on the key and others were more difficult and in some cases outside my range completely.

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A Breakthrough

I learnt to experiment with my own voice, practising control and establishing my own particular style. I realised that technical perfection is not what being a singer is necessarily all about. Some of the most successful singers in the world are not great singers in the technical sense but rather their ability to connect with listeners comes from their very personal emotional expression and a unique quality to their voice that is wholly their own.

Now I don't want to over-inflate my own abilities here. I'm not a fabulous singer by any stretch and nor am I likely to launch into a sparkling career as a vocalist but I have discovered a bit of a hidden talent - enough to provide me with many hours of amusement and personal satisfaction. I'm always trying to get better at it, so I now have a new goal and an ongoing interest. Singing has become an endless well of enjoyment for me, even if there's no-one around to hear me sing and it's a great emotional release valve. A newly developed talent may only be felt and appreciated by one person - you, to be worthwhile.

It's Never too Late

Talent is not always obvious - thus the expression hidden talent. Sometimes we may have a real aptitude for something but it lays dormant, lurking behind the debris of our everyday lives. My sister, for example, has discovered a passion for gardening and she's very good at it, displaying a real talent for creatively designed landscape, yet for most of her life she had shown absolutely no interest in gardening at all. Once having been bitten by the gardening bug she developed a passion for it. Similarly, I've read many times here on HubPages, comments from accomplished, talented writers, along the lines of, "I never knew I could write" or "I never thought I could do this"..."I now realise how much I love writing"?

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The best and perhaps the only way to discover a hidden talent is to keep trying new things. Too often we tend to settle into a kind of rut, doing the same activities day after day. Even if we fail to discover a fabulous hidden talent, learning and experimenting with new things is good for the psyche as well as the brain and can even help stave off some of the perils of aging; researchers claim learning completely new skills helps to forge new neutal pathways in the brain, thus helping to keep our minds active and alert.

Hidden talents can emerge in strange ways. Take the case of Lester Potts, who is featured in the video below. Potts was an Alabama saw-miller, born in the depression era and by all accounts, he was a hard-working pragmatist who considered artistic pursuits a frivolous waste of time. Yet in his later years, a remarkable thing happened - Potts developed dementia and as the the disease progressed and he increasingly lost cognitive ability, another aspect of his mind began to emerge.

At a day-care centre, a volunteer introduced Potts to painting and although he had lost the ability to hammer a nail, he became a watercolour artist. It was as though, while one part of the brain was lost, another part was freed...to expose a highly creative and poetic hidden talent...

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