Talented…or not?

My husband and I hosted a New Years party in which we played the game “What’s Yours Like?” The premise of the game is for one person to be the “guesser” of a noun on the piece of paper being passed around the group, and for the hinters to give one honest, accurate, yet obscure, clue to the “guesser” about the noun. Well, for this particular round, the subject was “talent.” Some individuals shared clues like “I have multiple,” “mine involves my feet,” etc. When it got to be my turn to share a clue, I had the greatest difficulty.

The first reason for my hesitancy was my initial low self-esteem and negative thought of “Well, I’m not good at anything.” But that didn’t quite resonate either. I am good at things, just not art, sports, croqueting or any other unique hobby-like activity that is typically thought of as a talent.

My second thought and hesitation was that I am “too busy” for having talents because I work two jobs, go to graduate school full-time, run my household, and do my very (yet unfortunately not always) best to be a good wife to my hard-working husband. How can I be talented at anything if I am 1. Stretched so thin and 2. At the very beginnings of making my own family and embarking on my career?

Thirdly, my preconceived notion trapped me into believing that talent is limited to activities you try at very lightly, don’t put a whole lot of work into, and that just come naturally. There is nothing, I concluded thereafter, that I could do so perfectly, beautifully, or skillfully that was also this type of “naturally.”

While I used to show promise in the art of ballet, I missed my window of training. While I have a “knack” for empathizing with my clients, I in no way am able to maintain a “talent” of providing empathy or therapy as I am only in my first year of experience. Then I thought how ironic that all of these examples contain excuses of lacking experience. How then could they possibly be talents if they have to be worked so hard at, trained for, and given such attention?

That’s when I began to form a conclusion. Talents, then, are not signs of prodigy or genius, but activities, callings, purposes for living, that we work toward, enjoy, value, and give detailed attention. Some things may come easier and quicker for some, but even they, if they do not cradle and fondle these talents, will be surpassed in greatness by one without such “talent” but with significant attention, discipline, focus, direction, and intention.

In this case, my talents change; they have changed and they will change again. In my past they included dancing, music, writing, and thinking. Now my talents are writing papers, scoring good grades, writing excellent notes, and managing a billion pressures and expectations. In the future, I hope my talents will be to love deeply, worship truly, run diligently, and reflect emotion, thoughts, dreams, life, and death, exceptionally.

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