We had a special program in my school for people who were considered ‘Gifted and Talented’. The chosen few who were selected to be in this group enjoyed the pleasure of attending classes that were designed to push them further and give them inside knowledge on good opportunities.
For those of us ‘regular folk’ who weren’t deemed ‘Gifted and Talented’ we just had to make do with the mediocre teaching and insight that not being part of this particular set had to offer.
I was reminded of this today after a discussion my family and I had about discovering and using our ‘gifts and talents’.
“What are your gifts and talents?”
We each took time to think about this question and my dad, mum and Sibling One named theirs and I (finally, after three years of soul-searching) could now name some but Sibling Two came up stumped. I could identify with him.
What does it even mean? What are your gifts and talents? Does everyone have a gift and/or talent or, as it seemed in my school, was it the reserve of a select few?
The first place to start is to completely rethink the notion of ‘Gifted and Talented’ as a single entity. A gift is, in actual fact, different from a talent. Your ‘gift’ is the seed and basic ability you have to do something well and when that seed is nurtured and grown it becomes your ‘talent’. Everyone has gifts but not everyone is talented in the area of their gifts because they haven’t taken the time to nurture the seed and develop it.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I used to think that I didn’t have any special gifts or talents as there wasn’t that one thing I thought I was exceptionally good at and in a way this was true. I had quite a few gifts but because I was comparing my seed/basic ability with the fully fledge talents of other people I was getting frustrated. I didn’t realise that the reason I was frustrated was that I hadn’t really taken the time to develop any of my gifts to a point where I would say I was talented.
Everyone is ‘gifted’ and can become ‘talented’ if they develop their gifts. The only problem is in figuring out what those gifts are.
Over the past couple of years I have discovered that the best way to identify a gift is to acknowledge the things you have a natural liking for, pick one or two and start to develop it. The more you develop it the better you will become and if it really is a gift the easier it should become.
I questioned Sibling Two along these lines and asked him whether he had even explored the areas he was interested in, to which he said “No”. He stated that he was waiting until he went to University and had the freedom to explore, to find out what he was good at (an excuse for continually playing X-box I think – he’s always had the freedom!) but why wait? Try as many things as you can, get writing, drawing, singing, debating, helping, planning, crafting, brainstorming now. I’ve realised that your talent could be the most obscure thing to you, like planning things or storytelling but if you don’t take time to asses and identify it, you will never know.
Sometimes the things you are good at, are hidden in your worst qualities. Sibling Two is great at arguing. He is able to refute a point emphatically and do so without getting worked up (but usually working the other person up to my annoyance) and is also able to quickly find holes in an argument. If used in the right setting this would make him a great debater which could be used for law, politics, even negotiating business deals. He would obviously have to develop it and train himself in a way that ensures he doesn’t antagonise people but this, however crude, is a talent. He is also good at baking, drawing, writing and but if he doesn’t take the time to explore and develop in these areas he would never know just how talented he is.
If you can’t see it, a great way to discover the things you’re good at is to ask other people what they think your best/strongest skills are – they see you from a different perspective so this might help. I would never had said I was a great storyteller but according to my friends the way I relate events that have happened to me is engaging, they feel like they were actually there with me, experiencing everything through my expressions and gestures and I just thought I was recounting a moment! So ask people – they might know and it’s a great place to start! (Admittedly this ‘gift’ of mine also has its pitfalls as I like to describe everything so take a long time to get to the point, but this is something I can work on).
A gift and talent is something you’re good at AND you enjoy doing/want to do. We can all develop skills but that doesn’t mean they are our talents. I have skills in analysing data and mathematical problem solving but they are not things I enjoy – they are just useful things I know how to do. Writing, however is a gift I want to develop, as is communicating, singing and working with children. The basis for a talent is always there but it has to be developed. The people we see expressing their talents well, have usually taken time to develop their gift behind the scenes.
What are your gifts and talents? Have you discovered them yet? If not, what one thing can you do today to identify your gifts and turn them into talents?
Good thing of the day: Good to surround yourself with creative people, good NWTV creative session.