I have noticed that everyone has a talent, an innate ability in some field or activity. There are lots of talents in the world, such as artistic, athletic, or scientific. We can take some skills for granted. Whistling may come easy to many people, but not everyone can do it. Nonetheless, everyone has some ability, no matter how small, that they do naturally and well.
Whether they are ordinary or peculiar, talents will only take us so far in life. Today’s fortune, by philosopher Sir Bernard Arthur Owen Williams (1929 – 2003) reminds me that we need to grow our little talents into incredible accomplishments. We need to develop our abilities to take full advantage of the gifts given to us.
Talent is like the pilot light on a stove. It’s small and has potential, but it is just a pilot light. It isn’t efficient for cooking. It would take a long time for a low flame to bring a pot of water to a boil. But if we add a little more gas, we can have a fire that can boil, fry, saute, and sear. The energy we give our talents can transform the potential into the reality.
My son was born with the affinity for music and the ability to play by ear. Family and friends oohed and aahed when he played theme songs on the piano without sheet music. I admit that I envied him, but that talent would remain small if he didn’t take lessons, read sheet music, and learn the fundamentals of music theory. Only then would he be able to master his skill.
So how do we grow our talents? Well, like my son, learning all we can about our unique qualities can guide us in a direction toward success. We can research on the internet, read books, or join like-minded groups.
Another way to improve our talents is by practice. We shouldn’t just practice what we can do though. We should try to take it up a notch every time we practice. If music is our talent, we could play the music faster, try a different instrument, find a complex piece of music, or try our hand at composing.
No matter what our talent is, we can always do that little more. Runners can go farther. Artists can try new media. Scientists can solve new problems. Each person can push the boundaries of their comfort zone and cultivate that talent into something bigger. The only thing holding us back from genius is us.