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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.

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