October 11, 2017


Hey Nikki,

I’m not good at anything! (Except studying, but anyone can be good at that.) I’ve tried a lot of different things, from art to football. How can I find my inner talent??


Hi Talentless,

Okay, first of all, you’re NOT talentless. You’ve GOT to be good at SOMETHING, and that’s exactly what I’ll help you figure out! 🙂

Take studying, for instance. If you think that everyone is good at studying, then guess what?? VERY FEW people are!! I get tons of letters from people asking for help figuring out how to focus and study because they’re too distracted by the internet/texts/etc to get their work done. Knowing how to study well is a real skill, and a super important one!

Maybe being good at studying doesn’t seem very exciting. It’s not quite like being the star quarterback or leading role in the school play. People don’t give you a standing ovation when you ace the math quiz.

But that SO doesn’t mean it’s not important or useful!

The other thing is, I think TV and movies give us this idea that everyone has this one shining thing they’re super good at or super into. But that’s…well, not really true! I mean, think about your friends. Sure, maybe there’s that one who spends every weekend away at horseback riding competitions, but mostly, people are probably into a variety of different things. Because really, people our age are still figuring out what they’re into. I know I am!

There’s also this idea that it’s not enough to simply enjoy doing something – you have to be the absolute best, gold medal winner, headed for the big leagues for it to be worth doing.

But, that’s TOTALLY not true either! AND when we try something out for the very first time, we obviously may not be great at it because talent doesn’t equal instant success. Even the most talented gymnast didn’t just step out onto a mat for the first time and do a perfect score floor routine!

So, the more important thing is probably to focus on finding something you really ENJOY doing. Not something you seem immediately GOOD at.

Be open to stuff that might surprise you! Talk to your friends and family about what they enjoy doing outside of school. Ask if you can go support them at their piano recital/soccer game/dance competition. Even if you don’t find a new interest, your friend will feel supported. (And hey, maybe one of the things you’re really good at is being a good friend. Which, like studying, might not get you a standing ovation but is super, super important and will help you be an awesome person!)

In fact, here are some other things that won’t get you a medal or applause, but ARE important and valuable talents:

  • being a good listener
  • being organized
  • being a creative thinker
  • being sensitive to others’ feelings
  • discipline/dedication/willingness to work hard
  • having initiative – not waiting to be told to do something
  • being observant
  • debating important issues thoughtfully
  • a sense of humor
  • being compassionate
  • being good with younger kids
  • being good with animals
  • being good with budgeting/money

And there are tons more!

Friends, tell us in the comments what some of your talents are! They can be the sort of talents you might get prizes for, or things like the list above. What are you good at? Did you have to work hard to get good at your talent?