Sometimes, we confuse being humble about our abilities with believing we don’t have anything special about us at all. It’s true that God gave us our natural talents in the first place — therefore, we don’t have much to brag about. But what God didn’t intend was for us to ignore those gifts completely.

Your natural gifts are the clues to what kind of a mission God is calling you to do here on Earth. Instead of covering them up or sweeping them under the rug, it’s your job to see the array of gifts that God has given you and creatively imagine how it can add up to a heroic, adventurous life.

Talents Are Founded in Temperament

The discovery of your talents is fundamental to living out your calling. Should you be ignorant of them, it would be like training as an athlete without trying to understand your natural coordination and physiological and kinetic advantages that can propel you to win. Without knowing these gifts, your game is over even before it starts.

The first place to start when deciphering your natural talents is to look at your temperament.

We are each born into four general personalities. There are persons who are naturally phlegmatic (reflective, scientific, calm, peaceful), sanguine (relationship-oriented, fun-loving, compassionate, optimistic), melancholic (dreamers, contemplatives, creative geniuses, visionaries) and choleric (doers, planners, managers, entrepreneurs).

Our temperament (from temperamentum meaning “proper mix”) is linked directly to our distinctively balanced physiology: brain structure, hormonal levels, metabolism, level of eyesight, hearing, and other acute senses. Even our cardiovascular system can be disposed to be naturally higher or lower in energy — and both can be good.

Part of the difficulty in recognizing which of the four temperaments you are is that very often we are mostly one, yet a little of the other.

There are fundamentally phlegmatic scientists and engineers, like Elon Musk, who are also great melancholic dreamers and visionaries. Many primarily sanguine optimists, jokers, and communicators, can also be focused choleric doers. Phlegmatically rational and impartial observers like Albert Einstein have difficulty being the life of the party, but they can show some degree of compassion and people-skills as sanguine persons do.

Start with Self-Knowledge

In a nutshell, your temperament is your general charism and basic natural gift that defines the developmental path of your unique personality. As the French novelist Honoré de Balzac famously said, “Temperament is the thermometer of character.” It is the deep well water from which all your other natural talents are drawn.

Knowing your temperament will help you overcome your weaknesses quicker and with more ease. As a choleric, it will be up to you to figure out creative ways of tempering your impatience so that others can join you on the journey. As a melancholic, you must step outside your comfort zone to communicate your dreams to your family and colleagues on the path of life with you.

But most importantly of all, understanding your temperament will allow you to flourish in situations where your personality traits are most needed. God has placed you in this time and place for a reason. He has given you a treasure chest filled with gifts, powers, insights, and abilities. Once you know what you have inside, you’ll be more ready and willing to fling open your box of gifted treasures and put those gifts to good use when the opportunity arrives.

So, take notes, reflect, and ask others until you and they take both notice of your natural talents shining through character. Your unique vocation and supporting charism and gifts will begin here. Your natural gifts and charism will direct you to your heroic journey.

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