This is the $64,000-dollar question of your life, isn’t it? If only someone could tell you upfront what would naturally come easy to you. Is there a sport that your body could pick up easily? In business, will you be more inclined to be “the artist” or “the operator”? Would you be happier as a “stay at home, homeschooling parent” or is having an outstanding career a part of what you want to share with your children? There is a science that can help you with such questions. Let’s get to it!
What Science Says about Your Natural Gifts
You are born with areas of your brain of greater and lesser organization. Your muscles have different percentages of “slow twitch fibers” (endurance) and “quick twitch fibers” (strength). Your bones offer your muscles differing areas of attachment and your joints come together in ways that will make a difference in the way you are able to move. Your endocrine system and your cardiovascular system will have capacities that differ significantly from others. So, there is a difference that makes a difference in the success you will likely enjoy in any relationship. A five-foot-tall young man with enough passion and skill may be able to become a professional basketball player one day, but I wouldn’t bet on it. And that is what you are asked to do. Every day you make decisions that you hope will provide happiness for you, your friends and your family. As far as we know, you have one life to live so let’s make the odds in your favor.
The finding that your brain has a rather dramatic ability to change over time came as a surprise to us. Now we know that certain areas of the brain, particularly the hippocampus, actually make new neurons as the need and desire arise. Don’t count on this to build new skills, though. They simply amplify the ones you already have. When the abilities of an area of greater organization is called on to create a desired outcome, particularly in a relationship, the neurons grow. They eventually extend their influence to all areas of the brain necessary for the desired change. This is not the case when you use one of your natural gifts in a way that doesn’t serve your relationships e.g. video games, even when played online with others. (Tournaments are another story!)
What’s more, the greater the area of the brain’s organization, the greater “the call” will be to your Conscious Mind to use it. A gifted student’s boredom in a typical classroom is a call from the student’s neurons that something is wrong and a change is needed. A prodigal child in math with Asperger’s Disease will fail to thrive if kept from enjoying math. When allowed to enjoy math with others they thrive and create more meaningful relationships. Many even develop a sense of the “greater good” through altruism. For your brain cells, the orders for your life are clear. Either grow, connect and become more relevant - or die. A ten-year-old has double the number of neurons as an adult so many of your nerve cells aren’t going to make it. Your strongest brain cells want to grow and help with compassionate connections with yourself, others and your world. In their own way, they are letting you know this every day!
When You aren't Using Your Gifts
Let’s go over the feelings that nerve cells provide when they are not being utilized correctly. There is a concept in Buddhism called “Dependent Origination” that refers to your natural gifts or strengths (Your areas of highest neuronal organization) calling to you when your Conscious and Subconscious Mind is not aligned. When you feel very anxious or angry, your neurons are asking you to stop the way you are presently thinking. They are asking that you take a deep breath and feel into all that is going on in and around you. They are letting you know that there is a better way, a more authentic way for you to consider your options. Alternatively, when you feel bored or are addicted to any situation, again your areas of highest organization are telling you to stop, “come home” to your natural resources and change the way you are thinking. Lastly, if you are feeling judgmental towards yourself or others e.g. “Someone is a dumb, ugly schmuck”, then you are completely out of alignment and are out of touch with the reality around you. Buddhist’s call this “Delusion” and one of the three poisons.
How to Discover Your Natural Gifts
The best way to discover your natural gifts is to carefully watch yourself throughout the day. This practice alone is associated with neuronal growth. In the beginning of each day look to make each of your relationships a little bit better that day. At the end of the day, think back, what is working for you and what isn’t. What strengths are revealing themselves in your relationships? Once you have this, now try to take this same strength to other relationships in your life. Add a new friend or activity to take this strength even further. The greater number of relationships that are using a natural strength, the greater this strength and the higher level of brain organization it represents will influence your entire brain, and life.
What about when you want something but the strength is simply not there. This often happens when we allow ourselves to be convinced that some career, some amount of money or some change in our personal style would work better for us. So many of my colleagues spend years studying to be doctors only to find that they don’t enjoy it. They are miserable! Many a manager has tried to make his sales people close like he or she does and it simply doesn’t work.
Allow yourself to be led by the natural joy you feel in relationships. Then, no matter what else happens, your brain’s nerve growth factors will rise and each of your little neurons will be happy and growing!
From your brain’s standpoint, there is only one path to sustained happiness - sustained growth. You can create this, a little each day, as you seek to inspire and be inspired by the relationships around you.
Try this yourself, then share it with your friends and family!
If you would like to learn more practical ways to discover your natural gifts and use them to build better relationships in a more fulfilling life, sign up for the Oneness Approach Grow membership today. It's a risk-free video course that will allow you to leverage your abilities and pursue your passions.