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How to Recognize and Foster Your Ability

“Ability and necessity dwell near each other.” – Pythagoras

What are you good at? If you must stop and think about it, that’s not a dreadful thing. In fact, it’s probably long overdue. The truth is that we get so busy living life and taking care of all the myriad tasks and responsibilities we need to tend to every day that we often don’t take the time to slow down and reflect. In this case, reflect on what we do very well, what really excites and interests us — because those are often intertwined — and what we can do to maximize those abilities.

Give everyday tasks credit — if you’re good at it, there’s a reason for it.

It isn’t always the case that just because you do something all the time that it’s boring, unfulfilling or not a reflection of your innate capabilities. It could very well be that you’ve begun to take such actions on your part as automatic, tending to dismiss their importance or significance in your life. That would be a mistake. There is often a pattern, a strength, underneath the everyday action or behavior that signifies competence and skill.

Determine your inner strengths so you can use them.

The key is to figure out what those hidden traits are, your core strengths — and then capitalize on them. How does this work? Here are a few examples.

Organizational skills

You juggle the often-conflicting demands of work, family and school. Sometimes this makes you feel overwhelmed or frazzled, but you manage to parcel out the various duties and responsibilities and somehow find the time to get them all done. While on the surface it could look like you’re in over your head, there is a hidden gem of ability here to shine a light on. You’re very good at organizational skills. This is an ability many people would dearly love to have — and you have lots of it. See how you can transition this ability into other parts of your life so that you enhance your enjoyment of experiences, enrich relationships and find peace and meaning of your own.

Identifying what’s important

Others compliment you on your ability to sort through complex details to find the essential facts. Often overlooked, this discerning ability is highly prized by employers, family, friends and others. Everyone has too much to do and too many distractions. It’s often difficult to see what’s right in front of you, like looking at a black and white picture and failing to see the obvious shapes. You, however, can quickly sort through the extraneous, the superfluous, and the unnecessary and get right at the heart of the matter. This is a terrific ability that can serve you well in all aspects of your life, from figuring out the most appropriate gift for a loved one to picking out upholstery or paint colors for a redecorating project to prioritizing work projects to make sure nothing gets dropped.

Physical strength

You have great physical strength. Why is physical strength an ability? Consider the fact that you can lift and move and endure physical exertion perhaps more than others you know. This doesn’t mean you’re a bodybuilder or vain about your appearance. It’s just a fact. You are strong, physically. What this means in everyday life is that you don’t tire as easily as someone with lesser strength. You’re able to consume and digest the appropriate nutrients to maintain your strength. You may be able to do things for loved ones and family members, or at work or school or in the neighborhood that require more physical strength than they’re capable of. How can you use your physical strength to further your goals? Figure out what interests you and how you can make use of your physical strength to your advantage.

Multiple talents

You’re good at puzzles, budgeting, carpentry, baking, writing, and so many other things. Maybe you need some of these abilities at work and they’re a necessity. Maybe you’ve relegated them to that other time when you have time — but never seem to get around to doing. The truth is that ability resides very close to necessity, but in a different sense. If you have an ability, it’s up to you to learn how you can translate that ability into an action and behavior that serves your purposes.

Creative skills

Many employers prize curiosity in their employees. They’ve found, for example, that curious people tend to come up with creative solutions to problems. They’re also motivating to be around, stimulate conversation and help generate ideas in brainstorming sessions. If you’re an intensely curious person, you’re always on the lookout for threads of seemingly extraneous ideas that you can pull together into a cohesive, logical and workable solution. Life is also so much more interesting when you have a drive to learn more, experience more, and be more. Embrace your creative skills. They are much valued.

How to Recognize and Foster Your Ability

Suzanne Kane

Suzanne Kane is a Los Angeles-based writer, blogger and editor. Passionate about helping others live a vibrant and purposeful life, she writes daily for her website, She is a regular contributor to Psych Central. You can reach her at

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APA Reference
Kane, S. (2018). How to Recognize and Foster Your Ability. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 14 Jun 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.