Talent is hardwired in you. You’ve got it whether or not you:
- Recognize it or have figured it out
- Know what to do about it
- Believe you can develop it into something
- Have the courage to accept or reject it
Your talents give you a hint into what you can get really good at if you:
- make the effort,
- face the challenges,
- accept the necessary sacrifices
Your talents are your foundation. On them you can build a shack, a skyscraper, or anything in between. The choice is yours.
In our search for success, a chance to make our mark, we search for ways to put our talents (skills, knowledge, abilities) to use, often in the context of our careers.
Some of us take our talents and bend them to fit the requirements of our jobs, the expectations of our bosses, and the company culture. That may push us to overdevelop some of our talents at the expense of others. We tend to accept that.
But sometimes we don’t, won’t or can’t compromise or dilute our talents, because we’re driven to be extraordinary, pulled by talents that won’t let us go.
There are signs, like when you know you’re driven to:
- Design new products or apps
- Start new businesses or restore failing ones
- Write, record, perform, and produce music
- Develop and champion certain charities/non-profits
- Advocate for causes to make the world better
This is when your talents have become your driving force.
Not everyone takes this path. It’s not because they don’t want to or can’t. It just not part of their consciousness or their life view at the moment. But it may in fact be unlocked at another time.
But for those who sense the call, who have the courage, and who are willing to take the risk, there is ultimately the discovery of genius.
The term “genius” sounds a bit snooty or overblown to some. It’s not a word we associate with “regular” people like us. It’s only for larger than life figures like Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs, right? Not so. And it’s not just a term about IQ.
By definition, a genius is “a person of extraordinary intellectual and natural talent…aptitude, or inclination.” (American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language–4th edition)
Everything in life is relative. Your idea of extraordinary is different from mine. But generally speaking, we can tell when we or someone we know has taken their talents to an extraordinary place.
Take the guy you knew from high school who struggled to get passing grades but had a talent for music. For years, he gives music lessons and plays gigs to earn a modest living, immersing himself many music genres, learning how to play multiple instruments and to sing.
He turns to songwriting and records a couple of CDs of original music, professionally records and produces with other accomplished musicians. Some of his songs are discovered and become themes in TV shows and movies. After three decades into his craft, he’s still working to “make it” his way. There’s no selling out, no capitulating, and no desire to do anything but to make and honor good music.
Genius emerges from the unrelenting effort dedicated to one’s talents.
Now consider that gal in junior high school who made the best brownies for the bake sale who is now the owner of a high-end cupcake company in a big city and who ships her renowned treat worldwide.
Or the geeky adolescent computer gamer who now designs programs that enable unmanned submarines to scan the ocean floor for wreckage or new marine species.
Following the pull of your talents can lead you to extraordinary places.
Check out this piece about Ra Paulette, (CBS Sunday Morning May 19, 2014), who for the past 25 years has been creating sandstone caves of art in New Mexico. He has no degree in sculpting and is neither a structural engineer nor architect. He simply turned passion and talent into genius.
Genius is in you, ready to see the light, if you have the will and courage to embrace it, to be different, and to risk what’s unknown
Famed French writer and existential philosopher, Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1946) writes:
One is not born a genius, one becomes a genius.
Your forever challenge is to own your evolving genius and protect it from those who may want to derail you. Please don’t be afraid to become extraordinary.