Even if you adore your job and have a fabulous social life, you still might feel like something’s missing. One way to grow, challenge yourself, and have a ton of fun is to find your hidden talents. If you need a little bit of a boost, you might be thinking about how to find and leverage your special talents.
I would bet that most people have some hidden or secret talents they haven't explored. Perhaps it’s due to a lack of time to explore all of our interests or because we’ve forgotten a past passion or skill.
That said, here’s a look at some hidden talent examples and how you might figure out your own hidden talents to improve your life! But first, let's go over what hidden talents are.
What are hidden talents?
Hidden talents are those skills and abilities that most of the world might not know you possess. They can range from bizarre to commonplace.
Hidden talents you’ve forgotten
When I think about hidden talents or secret talents, what comes to mind is those talents from long ago. For instance, I used to sing quite a bit as a teen.
Then while I was a high school teacher, I started singing the national anthem for our kids’ basketball games. It was so much fun to break out that old passion, and just enjoy singing even though it wasn’t my job,
Maybe you can think of a hidden talent that’s not really hidden. It could just be that with the crush of adult responsibilities with work, family, and volunteering, you’ve forgotten about something you used to love.
Hidden talents you gave up on in the past
Similarly, you may have a hidden talent that you actually tried before. I know there are plenty of things I probably tried as a kid or young adult but gave up because it didn’t come easily.
Do you perhaps have a secret talent that even you don’t know about? Perhaps you tried drawing, cooking, or public speaking at a younger age but haven’t pursued it since. Sometimes when we face what we perceive as failure, we get discouraged and don’t want to keep going.
I want to encourage you that if there’s something you did that didn’t go well, it doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Maybe a teacher or coach critiqued you, and you took their words to heart—but you can still learn new things and get better.
Hidden talents you might not use in everyday life
Another category of hidden talents to consider are those activities you love but simply don’t use every day.
Obviously, we’re all more complex human beings than the world sees. We have interests, skills, and passions that might surprise our friends and acquaintances.
It’s healthy to pursue a variety of interests, so even if your secret talents aren’t useful on a daily basis, it doesn’t mean they aren’t worthwhile.
You could still enjoy hobbies or hidden talents once a month or once every couple of months. They don’t have to be a facet of your job or your family life to be rewarding.
Does everyone have a secret talent?
While this question isn’t something I can really answer, I’ll try. I believe virtually everyone has a secret talent, no matter how small that talent might be.
You might not have a hidden talent for something major that would become a new career. But it seems likely that we all have some little ability we’ve hidden from others or not had time to explore.
That said, it’s a fun question to consider. Whenever you meet someone new, keep in mind that there might be more than meets the eye. It might help you to be kinder to yourself and to others when you think that everyone has a secret talent and in turn, something to offer the world!
Why you might want to find out your own hidden talents
Maybe you’re wondering why would you spend time thinking about your hidden talents. What would be the benefit? Well, here are some good reasons to pursue this concept.
Secret talents can be fun to explore
First of all, doesn’t it sound fun to look into your special talents? It can be so exciting to think about doing something different or new with your time!
A great motivation for finding out your hidden talents is that, quite simply, it’s fun. It’s a blast to mix it up, especially if you’re facing some boredom at work or in your relationships. So try something new (or an old forgotten talent).
It could give you a boost of energy and confidence. You can’t celebrate yourself and your talents if you never pursue them.
Hidden talents can challenge you
Another reason to explore your hidden talents is for a challenge. Whether you’re doing something for work or for fun, it’s beneficial to try something that doesn’t come easily for you.
Even if you have a bit of natural talent, it might still be hard to learn a new skill at first. After all, you might have an “ear” for languages, but it doesn’t mean you’ll instantly be able to speak a foreign language without some study and practice.
You may not need 10,000 hours to become an expert, as Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers suggested, but some work and effort will likely be necessary. Working through the challenges of your hidden skill will help build resilience and perseverance.
You might leverage secret talents into a side gig
Next up, let’s not forget about the monetizing potential of your secret talents! Of course, having fun and being challenged are great reasons to try your hidden talent of yodeling or cross-stitching, or gardening.
But there’s also the possibility that your hidden talent could be worth some money.
If you want to make more money, a great place to start is with a hidden talent that you turn into a side gig. Many people have launched successful side gigs by recognizing their own talents they had forgotten.
Look through these side hustle ideas for women, or just make a list of all the talents you can think of. Chances are, you’ll find at the very least one that others would pay you to do.
Using your “hidden” talents is a great plan for a side gig. It gives you a small break from your usual job and lets you increase your income by doing something you enjoy.
Your hidden talents can be of service to others
Finally, you can think of your hidden talents as a gift to give to the world. Your secret talents could be valuable in some form of service, whether by using your compassion to visit the elderly or using your technology skills to help a nonprofit go digital.
Of course, you should not feel pressured to fill up all your free time volunteering. Just because you’re good at something doesn’t obligate you to do it for everyone. But it’s wonderful to give back to your community when you can.
Maybe you’re an expert in student loans and college applications. You could give a free session or two at the public library on how to save money on college. Think about how your hidden talents could bring joy or serve others somehow.
Hidden talent examples in celebrities
Let’s take a look at just a few of the well-known individuals who have hidden talents.
These hidden talent examples are just abilities that these people might not be known for. Or, they're not their main job or claim to fame. (Google the topic “celebrity hidden talents,” and you’ll find out so many fun things!)
Farnoosh Torabi has practiced stand-up comedy
In the financial education world, Farnoosh Torabi provides one of the most fun hidden talent examples. Her podcast So Money is one of the best financial podcasts out there, with actionable tips and great interviews. Host Torabi has been a financial journalist and educator for decades.
Even though Torabi is best known publicly for her financial expertise, she’s also taken classes in stand-up comedy. Several years ago, she performed her original comedic routine in public, bringing out her unique voice and showing her hidden talent.
Jerry Seinfeld moved from comedy into TV
Of course, most of us know the story of Jerry Seinfeld and how his stand-up comedy routine led him to write and star in his own hit sitcom.
Seinfeld was a successful comedian, playing sold-out shows all over the country. But he’d never considered being an actor or creating a TV show until NBC approached him about the idea.
I’m sure there were plenty of slip-ups and moments when he wanted to throw in the towel. But Seinfeld became one of the longest-running sitcoms on television, thanks largely to his willingness to try it and see if he had a hidden, secret talent.
Several ‘Stranger Things’ actors are also musicians
If you’ve watched the thriller phenomenon on Netflix ‘Stranger Things,’ you likely love the array of talented actors. But did you know that a large amount of the actors featured in the show are also talented musicians?
Billboard reported on some of the hit Netflix show’s stars and their hidden musical talents. Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas) has released two singles, Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin) was a child star on Broadway, Charlie Heaton (Jonathan) has drummed in two rock bands, and Maya Hawke (Robin) has released her first album.
A hidden talents list to inspire you
Next, in case you’re still stumped about what your hidden talents might be, take a glance through these ideas. This special talents list is just a start, though—there are endless possibilities.
Consider these hidden talents examples that may apply to you!
Of course, music is a big one that people think of in any hidden talents list. Perhaps you have a hidden talent for singing or playing a musical instrument.
It’s never too late to explore this interest. You don’t have to join a band or perform in public, but maybe you should!
Music offers numerous benefits. It can calm your stressed mind, improve your mood, increase your heart health, and even ease pain. Whether by listening to it or creating it yourself, it’s a great activity for anyone.
Perhaps you’re fascinated by some kind of visual art medium. You could be interested in pottery, oil painting, or mixed-media artwork. There are so many types of art you could pursue.
If you’re intrigued by the thought of creating art, think back to art projects you loved as a student. Or maybe you can look at your local area for classes where you can take up a new or a formerly hidden talent.
I have to praise my mom here—she didn’t do any form of drawing until she was well into her sixties. Her sister-in-law introduced her to Zentangle drawing, and she became hooked and started drawing during her retirement. My mom is an awesome artist, and it’s been a blast to watch her develop that hidden talent for drawing!
I mention this one because so many of us struggle with fear or anxiety about public speaking. According to Verywellmind, up to 77% of us experience glossophobia or fear of public speaking. (I’m definitely in this statistic!)
The high prevalence of this fear might indicate that a lot of us would actually be very good public speakers if we tried.
I bet a lot of us avoid public speaking situations because of this anxiety. But oftentimes we are capable of performing as a speaker, even if we don’t realize it.
Many of us don’t see ourselves as financial experts, right? In fact, too many women believe themselves to be bad with money.
Why is this dangerous? Because it leads us to make bad choices, thinking that we “can’t help it” because we’re women.
The Washington Post reported that bias against women in the financial world exists “because of the pervasive myths the media perpetuates about women and their (in)ability to manage money.”
The fact is that tons of women are great with money, and we should own that skill! You can rewrite your money story, begin believing in your financial skills, and change your financial future. Who knows, it's possible you have a hidden talent for money management, and that definitely is worth exploring.
Hidden athletic talents
An exciting option on the list of hidden talents is athletics. Just think of all the fun you could have if you started learning a new sport or physical activity.
Of course, be safe about any new sport and make sure it fits what your body can do. But don’t be afraid to try a new sport on your own or join a recreational team. There are so many benefits to sports and athletic activities, not only in terms of fitness but also mental health.
While I don’t know if I’d call it a secret talent, I have grown so much by adding yoga to my physical activities. As I get older, running has become more stressful on my joints, and yoga really helps provide gentler activity and flexibility.
Maybe you’ll find a sporting activity of your own to expand your mind and improve your health.
While this is by no means the last of the possibilities, think about hidden cooking talents you possess. Most people can cook, but they don’t always choose to do it or have enough time to do it well.
Trying new cooking skills only requires opening up a cookbook (or typing in the type of recipe you want into Google). You could discover you have a real secret talent for cooking or baking.
This could add to your enjoyment of meals, enable you to cook for specific dietary needs, or save money.
Great ways to explore and discover your hidden talents
If you’re excited about pursuing your hidden talents but unsure of where to start, here are a few ideas. These are just some simple ways to learn and grow in everything on your “hidden talents list”.
Take a class to grow in your hidden talent
Your hidden talent doesn’t have to be something you’re an expert in already. Feel free to sign up for a community college course or a local class held at the library or a similar place.
The skill you want to develop is likely available in a class format. And if you can’t find an in-person option in your town, look online. Online personal trainers are one option, but on Outschool, you could learn just about anything.
Try an app
Another great way to explore an interest that may be your hidden talent is through apps. There are so many apps that provide instruction and practice in a wide range of skills—foreign language, financial planning, algebra, you name it.
Apps give you the chance to try learning something without too much pressure. There are plenty of ways to use them, whether you do a daily lesson or aim for a particular number of minutes per week.
Join a group
Maybe you’d like to join a group of people all learning or using the same hidden skill. This might be as simple as signing up for a rec volleyball league that meets in the summer. Or you could join the Toastmasters to develop your public speaking chops.
Check your Chamber of Commerce, park district, library, arts organizations, and other similar organizations to help you find the right group. Working with others can help you enjoy your secret talents even more.
Just do it!
One key to exploring your hidden talents is to not overthink them. Don’t worry about whether you’re the best at something or whether someone told you it wasn’t your forte long ago. Just try it and don’t stress about it!
Hidden talents don’t have to be exploited for monetary gain (although that’s possible, too). Above all, use your hidden talents to gain confidence and enjoy yourself.
Final thoughts: Finding your hidden talents could improve your life!
I hope you’re inspired to start looking for your own hidden talents and uncovering them. There are so many ways to improve your life, whether financially or simply for enjoyment or health.
One thing to watch out for is feeling envious of others and their talents. We all have unique gifts (maybe even secret talents), so try not to waste time worrying about what you’re not good at, and focus on your own hidden talents.