Here's why you shouldn't hide your talents

One mistake many people make is that they keep their talents a secret, whether they're natural talents or ones cultivated over time.

The possible reasons for this are quite simple: They either don't want to feel as though they're showing off, they aim to avoid the spotlight, or they're afraid of messing up while others are watching.

All of these are perfectly reasonable. The last thing I am is a show-off myself, and I am not a fan of drawing attention to myself in the least.

That's why, when I possess a talent I would like people to know about, I casually show them on a one-to-one basis.

For example, I type well over 100 words per minute. Two co-workers who sit near me got wind of it by hearing me type away at blazing speeds. (They didn't notice by actually watching me, as the cubicles are partitioned by walls.) Eventually, they each asked for an individual demonstration, and I was happy to provide it.

It isn't like I typed more slowly or quietly for fear of my talent being discovered. I just didn't want it to happen in a way that made me feel uncomfortable, e.g., the whole department congregating around me while I typed.

In high school, when my Business Applications teacher discovered how fast I could type, she immediately began preparing me for an annual competition that tests participants across the district in a given area of business, from finance to business law. She tried to persuade me into enrolling in the typing exam; however, at the behest of my accounting teacher, I wound up testing in accounting and winning fourth place, qualifying me for the state competition.

The bottom line is that while I didn't try to show off my skills in front of the teacher, I didn't necessarily try to hide them either. I still made my skills visible for all to see, hoping my teacher would eventually notice, and she did. Moreover, I had another business class that same year in which the teacher took notice of my typing skills and made a huge deal about them to the rest of the class, much more so than the first teacher I noted.

If you have an amazing talent and want people to know about it, you shouldn't try to keep it under wraps for fear of embarrassment or becoming the center of attention. Why not show it to people in private? Just be sure to tell them that you don't want them to go around spreading the word.

You never know. One of those people might know someone who knows someone who could really use your skills, potentially opening the door for job offers or other opportunities. Not only did my typing skills allow me to earn an aforementioned award -- something I noted proudly on my resume for years -- it has surely enhanced my job prospects.

Even if you decide to reserve those skills solely for hobbies, it's nice to receive compliments from other people ever once in a while.

Do you have any amazing talents? Has anyone discovered them, or do you keep them hidden?

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