I decided if I’m going to write a talent blog, I probably should take a stab at defining talent. In my mind, talent is the ability to do something better than most people are able to do that very same thing. But that definition alone does not take into account someone’s training in a specific activity. If a person is trained to do something, of course they are going to do it better than the average person, but is that actually “talent?” Is talent simply ability alone? Can talent be taught or obtained in some way?
A dictionary definition of talent is “a special natural ability or aptitude.” As I see it, and some may disagree, true, raw talent is very innate. It is something that people come pre-packaged with, so to speak. A series of fine or gross motor skills, mental aptitudes, etc. that one is born with. It all results in an ability to do something right out of the gate, that other struggle to do on that same level.
Bear with me for a moment as I make a crude analogy. Let’s say I organize a 100 yard dash and invite three runners to the race. I am going to have one runner start at the starting line, but I am going to have another runner start ten yards past the starting line, and another runner start twenty-five yards past the starting line. The race begins. Who do you think will win?
Would it be impossible for the runner who begins his race at the starting line to pass the other two runners? Well, undoubtedly he would have to work much harder than the other two. I would say it would be highly improbable, however, not impossible. I think you can see where I am going with this.
Let’s look at our runner who has the twenty-five yard advantage. Suppose he has a huge case of apathy toward the entire race. In fact, he hasn’t even bothered to train for several months. In that case, the picture could change drastically. Then let’s say our ten yard line starter possesses a huge desire to win this race and has trained rigorously for months. In that case, I’d likely put my money on the our middle starter to win our race.
However, if that runner starting twenty-five yards in, has all the drive and dedication in the world, I don’t think there’s any way the other two would outrun him. In many ways this is how I see talent. Some people just get a head start on the rest of us. Is it fair? Absolutely not. Is life ever fair? That may be a topic for someone else’s blog, not mine.
Talented people are not unstoppable, but they sure do have a wonderful advantage over the rest of us if they learn to use their talent wisely. So, how do you define talent? Leave a comment and take a stab at it. I did!