Charity should begin at home, but should not stay there. ~ Philip Brooks
You have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you. ~ Anonymous
A good laugh is sunshine in the house. ~ William Makepeace Thackeray
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WHERE DOES TALENT COME FROM?
“She’s so talented, does she get that from you or your wife?” she asked me when discussing my daughter. I thanked her for the compliment, but silently I felt guilt for doing so. Yes, in my younger days, I dabbled as a musician. My son is also very musical. But genetics is not the reason they possess the talents they have. Their mother and I may have shared our personal love of music with them, and indirectly, that may have influenced them to become musicians. And yes, when they were young, we paid our fair share for music lessons for each of them. Anytime they needed encouragement, we certainly offered it. But we can’t take credit for the talents they possess.
The only person who can fully take credit for a talent, is the person who possesses the talent. They will certainly have others to thank for enabling them to acquire that talent. They may pay homage to a mentor or teacher. They may have honed their talent with influence from others possessing similar talents. But in the end, they earned the talent they possess. It wasn’t a right of birth bestowed upon them. They own it because, just as a car may be bought with money earned at a job, they worked hard for the talent they possess. Logically, anyone can possess a desired talent if they are willing to put in the effort. They can practice, make mistakes, practice even more, and give unlimited dedication and time towards the possession of a desired level of talent. It can be done.
Yet, how often do we marginalize a celebrated musician as ‘being fortunate enough to get a big break’? We assume they were in the right place at the right time, without recognizing the effort it took to get them in the right place at the right time. Not only did they have to be in the right place, but they had to impress at the right time. We fail to credit the years of hard work that went unrewarded until that point.
The same can be said for a painter, a sculptor, a dancer, a chef, an architect, or anything else a creative person might endeavour. They had to be terrible for a long period of time until they acquired enough skills to become tolerable. Then they had to build on that for many years to become talented. Then further practice and learning beyond that if they want to reach a level that the rest of the world will admire.
I, too, admire talents I see in other individuals. But I don’t admire the talents themselves. I admire the hard work and dedication it took to acquire those talents. And when I envy someone for talents I wish I possessed myself, I recognize that it is only lack of self will that prevents me from having those same talents.
Perhaps, in the future, when someone gives me an accolade for something my children, or a member of my staff, or a colleague has achieved, instead of thanking them and feeling guilty for accepting those accolades, I should probably say, “I can’t take credit as it was their hard work and dedication that made them so talented. But I will certainly pass on your kind words of appreciation to them.”
We admire those who know what it takes to succeed because we recognize what it takes to overcome many failures. It is the persistence and passion in an individual to pursue through hardship that leads to eventual success, and it is the recognition of that persistence and hardship that leads us to admire their accomplishments.