I hope this message finds you off to a great start this morning. We're moving into our favorite time of year here... harvest season, when we get to start reaping from what we've sown and been tending to. Animals are fattening, fruits and vegetables are ripening, and the fall colors, crisp air, and first puffs of woodsmoke from the wood stove are nostalgic and almost intoxicating. Harsh winter is on the horizon, but for now, Autumn is gracing us with her silky beauty and sweet aroma.
In my mental meanderings this past week, I've been thinking about talent. Back in my high school days, I was a pretty talented athlete. I wanted it as bad or more than most, which definitely played a role in my success, but I was good at most sports I played without a whole lot of practice. Back then, my perspective on natural talent was that I didn't have to practice as much. Fast forward almost 2 decades, I see mytalent curse much differently now, and I see it everywhere. Not only in sports, but in business, volunteering, teaching, learning... it's everywhere. My minor sports success was merely measured against those around me. When we have talent in a particular area we compare ourselves to others and determine how hard we should work to accomplish our relative goals based on the benchmark set by their level of commitment or performance. I look around and see many extraordinary examples of talented people that didn't look to others for their "measurement", but rather looked within, and measured themselves against their own capacity, within their own purpose. These people are ones that have done the "impossible". A famous quote from Nelson Mandela goes; "Everything is impossible until someone does it."What if more of us started measuring ourselves against ourselves? What is interesting is those who are deemed the most talented quite humbly will tell you they are not. Michael Angelo once said; "You wouldn't call me genius if you saw how much time it took."
Talent is a doubled edged sword. Talent x tenacity can achieve almost incomprehensible things. On the flip side, the curse of talent that most of us unknowingly struggle with is that we can achieve praise-worthy levels of success without developing the grit and fortitude it takes to press on through hardship to achieve truly great, even "impossible" things we may be entirely capable of and actually purposed for. I often wonder what would have happened if I'd put in the work to maximize the talent I had but even more than what could have been, I have an even greater opportunity now to apply what I have learned to build something much more valuable than talent; character.
To those of us who feel less talented lies the opportunity to develop unshakable tenacity which can take us to far greater heights than talent alone ever could.