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The question from which this title is derived might seem ludicrous at first. That is until you ask people around you what their talents are and you begin to realize the seriousness of the question. 

To many people, talent is that ‘invisible stuff ‘in sportsmen, singers, actors, writers, artists, dancers etc. that makes them do what they do very well. Truth is they are not wrong, only that they are not entirely correct. The problem with their view is that it confines talent to the box of ‘creative arts’ and sports, leaving individuals outside this box with no choice but to see themselves as ‘having no talent’. This probably explains why you hear people say things like ‘I don’t have any talent’ or ‘I am yet to discover my talent’.

Nevertheless, some people without obvious ‘creative arts’ or sporting talents still end up being called ‘talented’. Their redeeming feature is none other than their intellectual prowess. It is therefore not surprising that ‘academic intelligence’ is also regarded as a talent. This belief is hinged on the premise that their great intellectual capabilities would enable them survive in the highly brain-tasking disciplines like Medicine, Engineering, Mathematics etc

To help us see what talent truly is, we must first define it. Talent is defined as ‘the (unusual) natural ability to do something well that can be developed by training’.  From the definition, we can deduce that:

1. Talent is a natural ability that enables its possessor to carry out an activity in such a way that surpasses the average performance of other individuals lacking the ability in question. Its natural features mean that the carrier of the talent does the activity almost effortlessly.
Therefore, we can see that talent is not limited to the creative realm and can be just about anything ranging from the ability to observe detail to the knack for remembering numbers. It just might be the ability to organize things or the unusual ease of relating with people. Your natural ability could be analytical thinking or the ability to sell anything, likewise it could be the ability to make people laugh or see how people could be better dressed to enhance their beauty. It could be something as unnoticeable as having a large heart and the unusual desire to care for people. I am sure you are beginning to catch on.

2. Talent can be harnessed for a particular purpose through training. This is where ‘talented people’ miss it. Assuming that these people have somehow managed to peep outside the society’s myopic view of talents and discover what their talents truly are, they then fall headlong into the next pitfall – the thought that their talent is all that is needed to take them to the future they so desire. This thought itself is just another version of myopia.
For talent to become useful for a/its purpose, it must be refined by the process of training and consistent practice. This requires a high level of discipline on the part of the talented individual. The problem is that many talented individuals lack the required discipline or are too arrogant to undergo the required training. The reality however, is that there is no place at the top for unrefined talents. 

Irrespective of the type of talent possessed, everyone requires the assistance of a teacher or mentor in the process of training his or her talents. This is to ensure that you do not spend years trying to learn what could have been imparted to you in hours and avoid making the same mistakes they already made.

Summing it all up: 

- Everyone has at least one talent. The only problem is that we are either looking for the wrong thing or are looking in the wrong direction.


·         - Every talent needs training if it is to achieve maximum potential in the individual bearing it.

·         - To ensure timely and adequate training, the individual needs a teacher or mentor. 

·         - Find mentors and training opportunities that enhance the development of your talent(s).



Ifeoluwapo Odedere
 ©2011

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