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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The gift of our talents

We all have talents. We use some, and remain unaware of others for a long time. Some talents only surface when special circumstances occur. We may, for instance, find out in crisis situations, how well we can help others stay calm and do the right thing. We may find out from a friend's response to our email that we have a knack for anecdotal writing.

A friend of mine, who used to think that he had no talents at all, turned out to be a great listener. He was aware that people liked to discuss their troubles with him, but never understood why. The fact of the matter is, that he doesn't judge, interrupt, or get caught in other things while talking to you: he gives you his full attention. When I told him this, he became aware of this talent and felt much better about himself. I know a lady who always dreads working in teams, because she is so meticulous and always ends up doing more than anyone else. She also used to question herself until I pointed out to her that her talent was to be well-organized and detail-oriented: she was an over-achiever.

Not all talents flourish in all circumstances. Sometimes they may even be considered problematic, especially if we overdo them. Too much detail focus can lead to analysis paralysis, which leads to nothing being delivered. Too much perseverance becomes stubbornness and pushiness. We should therefore monitor our talents, but if we use them at the right time to the right degree, we may be surprised how far they can get us.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The gift of choice

How often haven't you heard someone say: "I have no choice! I have to do this!" I often think about the radical stance behind this statement, how limited it really sounds, and how much it says about the person saying it. In fact, we almost always have a choice. We may not always consider the options attractive, but a choice is usually available.

Some people live in towns where they can't find a job, feel trapped and complain endlessly about their plight, but still don't consider the option of moving even if they can. Some people stay in bad relationships or unfulfilling jobs, and don't make a serious effort to step out. Most of this happens because of two factors: fear and attachment. They may be afraid of failure, or they dread leaving their comfort zone, no matter how dreadful.

Using the gift of choice takes courage, because it often represents the start of something new. But it's a precious choice, which we often underutilize.

The gift of connection

How beautiful is it to be able to reach out to others if we choose to. We have been granted so many ways to connect: through a smile, through a touch, through the use of our voice, with gestures, with a look in our eyes… and thanks to technology at an increasingly larger scale through telephone, email, and social networks...

We can connect with others when we are down or when they need someone to help them through difficult times. We can connect when we are happy or when we are sad. We connect through the things that happen through us. We connect when we least think of connecting. We connect, most importantly, through the air that we breathe: our common gift – the one that is the most overlooked gift of our connection to life and to all beings…

Sunday, May 29, 2011

In Awe of All the Gifts We Have...

We have many gifts we take for granted. There are so many reasons we have to be grateful: so many skills, talents, and qualities we often overlook in the daily rush of life. There is the gift of life: we go through life and rarely think about our existence in the here and now as a gift. Many of us even consider it a challenge, a curse, a bitter pill, or worse. Most of us only contemplate on the gift of life when we are confronted with illness or death.

Yet, there are so many other gifts we take for granted: the gift of our family and friends, the gift of our education, the gift of our culture, the gift to communicate with one another, and the gift to change our perspective on things we encounter. We, human beings, can shift our paradigm and transform setbacks into advantages, if we care to exercise some of our many gifts such as perseverance, creative thinking, and patience.

Reading this blog post, you are enjoying the gift of reading. Responding to it will tap on your gift of reasoning, typing, and communicating.

Which gifts do you overlook? Feel free to share, so we can all remember again how great it is to be here now.