What are our talents? For what sort of things do we possess that innate aptitude that easily convinces us and others what we are predestined for something? How many talents can we have? Or do we have any for that matter?
We live in a world that is changing and shifting under our feet. And the truth of the matter is that things that once were so important as education and degrees are worth almost nothing in some present situations.
Many economy experts predict dark times in the global economy, and unemployment is taking its turn. So in situations like this, people really question their choices, and after all their true value. They ask questions like: “What should I do? What should I pursue? What am I good for?”
And while you may think that these kinds of things can be answered very easily, the truth is- they cannot be. But how, may one ask, are we not capable of detecting our talents, after going through education, countless of seminars, making choices even from early on in our lives?
My contention is that prior to the whole educational process, being children, we all had the potential for something. Something that if cultivated would have made us develop in that direction, and find our true purpose.
But it isn’t like that, am I right? I read a book recently called “The Element”, by Sir Ken Robinson, and there he argues that we are actually growing out of creativity, out of our talents, or rather we are being educated out of it. And by that we lose our passion towards the things we were meant to do.
But wasn’t education meant for cultivating our talents? Wanting to believe this, it is somewhat logical to an extent. But on a second thought, that’s a no. If education was serving its purpose, why then we have so many people today not knowing what their talents are? Or even worst- believing that they don’t have any.
The book then elaborates more about the whole educational process, and how it is out of date. But that is a whole different thing that we are not going to talk about today.
The thing is- How do we actually find, or develop our talents, if that cannot be done through the conventional educational process?
Finding our talents
First of all we must address one erroneously established believe, and that is that some people simply do not have any talents whatsoever. And this is probably as wrong as it can be. We are all good for something. Maybe it’s not clear to us now because of many different circumstances, influences (I will explain that in a minute), restrains and suppressions.
Being motivated by financial security, many, if not all of us, try to pursue something that makes sense in the financial way. Something that is “good” for us, something that is being recommended, or in some cases pushed upon us by society or by our parents when we were younger.
And living in a world where we are interviewing three year olds for entering the right kindergarten, and in a world where the purpose of education is to get us into college, and then after finishing it we are still not aware of our true potential, it’s hard to find those talents within us, and give them the appropriate amount of attention in order to develop them further.
We are being rushed by the system, and the epilog to that are people who are in their mid-twenties unaware of their true potential, their purpose even.
The society acts even worse on this whole thing, and we are suppressed even more. We often see people with vision of their true potential and talents being ridiculed, being “reminded of the reality”. We are almost never left to dream, to search for more than it is to see at first glance.
The guys who play in their band gathered in the garage, are being told to abandon that and start looking for something “real”; the girl who is writing her fiction novels is being told to put her “hobby” on hold and start “doing something”. And the truth is that sometimes we manage to find our passion, our talent and innate aptitude for something. But then all society finds that to be just a hobby and it is being further marginalized into something trivial, something “not real”.
We have people working jobs they don’t like, the work related stress is being higher than ever, and looking more into it, we can see that people are not necessarily unhappy because of the bad economy, or lack of money, but because they are doing something they are not “born to do”.
Maybe it sounds funny to some, but let me ask you something: Will you be more happy doing the job you don’t like to do and getting paid better, or having less money, but going with smile on Mondays and dreading Friday because then you will have to stop doing what you like and wait until Monday again? I know what my answer is going to sound like. What about you? Have you ever asked yourself ?
Because, you see, we live as I said before, in a world where we are being led by fear of financial loss. Fear of being not accepted by society, being ridiculed. Therefore we enter the search for our talents halfheartedly. We have fears, doubts, mindset of scarcity.
On top of that all those years back we were given advices like: “don’t do music, you wouldn’t be a musician”, “don’t do art, you wouldn’t be an artist.”- Advices that are now profoundly mistaken.
Take for example Matt Groening, the creator of The Simpsons. His work was seen as just a hobby by many, and not taken that seriously. But he pursued his passion anyway. And what do we have now? Now, my friends, we have a series that is going for so many years on one of the best TV networks in the US, and a whole pop culture behind it.
Had he decided to stop pursuing his passion, and give up to all the disbelief that education and society have put in his work, we never would have had what we have now. He contributed for himself, his financial freedom, and what is more important for many other people. All that because he found his talent, his passion.
That’s the thing with finding your true talents. You do great things for you and for others as well. You find your purpose along the way.
What is a talent without work?
Ask any successful person, and he’ll swear by his work ethic. Nobody – and I mean nobody – swears by his or her talent. A bit strange, wouldn’t you think?
It turns out that talent alone is worth almost nothing. Regardless of the field of work, if you are relying solely upon your talent, you are in for a lousy surprise. Go ahead and read some of these motivational quotes for athletes by athletes. Nine out of ten, they focus on the work, on the sweat, on the struggle. You’ll rarely hear top performing athletes in any sport giving advice on how to believe in your talent and hope for the best.
Being talented, whether that is for a sport, art, writing, or math is great – but you have to invest much more than your genes.
What to do
So what should one do in order to, well, find his or her talent? The answer is not finite. As Sir Ken Robinson says, we should all look for it in our own way. We should diversify our lifestyle in order to find it.
We should have the courage for enduring the pressure from society and family, be persistent and keep looking. College is not for everybody, at least not at a given time- Sir Robinson says. Maybe later, maybe some other time.
And he is right. Today we have people going in one end of the whole system, coming out of it in the other where they work the 9 to 5 job they do not actually like. And being afraid to look for more, or look someplace else, they start living in a routine. Routine that is reflecting poorly upon their health, upon their life as a whole.
Start with you passion and try to develop it more. Invest time in it, even if everybody around you is telling you not to. People often can’t do something for themselves, so they tell you that you can’t do it either. But be like Matt, and keep going. Keep looking for your talent, and when you find it (or them, as we sometimes have more than one talent), then just keep investing in it.
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