Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Recognize Your Talent

I was watching The Voice on NBC last night (congratulations, Danielle Bradbery), which, by the way, was a spectacular event, and it got me to thinking about talent. All three of the finalists were exceptional. Each of them had something that can't be taught -- raw talent.

Anyone can learn lyrics. Anyone can stand in front of a microphone and sing a song. Singing that song well, however, takes talent. Sure, there are voice coaches who can help a person hone their singing skills, but there has to be something to hone first, right? There has to be an underlying talent.

You can't polish a turd. Well, you can, I suppose, but the end result would be not that unlike the original. The key to harnessing talent is in recognizing when you have it, or, just as importantly, when you don't.

When I was a kid I wanted to play guitar like Roy Clark, but it didn't take long for me to realize I have no ear for music. Perhaps that's why I've always paid more attention to song lyrics than the accompanying beat. Maybe that, and a profound awkward shyness in public, is why I never learned to dance.

We can't all be singers, or artists, but everyone has a talent. I believe that. Everyone. The trick is recognizing YOUR talent, then working hard to take advantage of it. It's easy to recognize talent in others, but not so much in ourselves. Could it be because talent makes that thing, whatever it is, seem easy to us? How can something that comes easy be worthy of a talent?

Talent comes in assorted forms. Maybe your talent is writing, or singing, or, maybe, it's fixing cars. Your talent may be in running a business, or understanding math. Talent doesn't guarantee success, but it gives you a leg up on the competition. Recognize it. Embrace it. Then work your tail off to cultivate it, because the only thing worse than not having a talent is having one and letting it go to seed.

What is your talent?

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