I’m a writer. I didn’t always know I was. I didn’t grow up thinking one day I’ll be a writer, it just kind of happened. That’s the way life is. We never know when the opportunities will come and what life will demand of us. Some of us never realize our true talent inside. Writing is one of those things that comes naturally to me. I never realized how much of a storyteller I was by comparison, until one day in my early twenties while working in an office I met this young lady who was an aspiring writer herself. For her it was different. Although she was exceptional at it, she never seemed to have the courage to show her work to the people who needed to see it most. She lacked confidence in herself. Not overall, because she was successful and had a good life, but just when it came to her passion. Her fear of not being accepted or approved was greater than her desire to commit herself to her craft.
She fell into a trap that is often felt especially in the field of arts. Whether it’s legitimate or not, it’s easy to find favor in someone else’s work and doubt your own talent by comparison. But that’s a huge mistake; just because we feel someone else has a flair for our shared field doesn’t mean that our ability is not worthy in its own right. The beauty is in the sharing of the collective gifts that make the world a more interesting place to live. There’s no room for jealousy or doubt if you really want to succeed. The best way is to learn what you can from others to develop your own voice and skills. Then remember to help others along the way in their journey to be the best they can be. By helping others succeed, we increase our own self-worth by default.
My boys are getting older now, and, as expected, they are grappling with what they want to do with their lives, and how or even if they can incorporate their own interests and talents into a career that feeds and nourishes that ability.
To that end, it’s not just a New Year, it’s a new opportunity, and the mere fact that it’s 2020 is symbolic in nature. My challenge to you, the reader, along with my boys, for this year in particular, is that you take the time to look inside yourself and find your individual talent. It’s been suggested you can think about what you did and enjoyed when you were younger. Or perhaps, something you do now without getting paid, simply because you like doing it. Then ask yourself, how can the world use this talent? When you can merge your talent with the needs of the community around you, it provides a source of fulfillment beyond anything you would have ever imagined.
I realize we live in a world where talent is measured by the value society places on the end product or service. When it comes to the arts, that value is based on an individual’s own perspective and therefore, can vary from one extreme to the other. The true value in many cases may never be realized, especially if the work is not seen by just the right individual who can make a difference. As the old saying goes, “One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure.”
Therefore, you may want to avoid looking at this initially from the perspective of making a profit. Doing so could sabotage your efforts in the beginning. Instead, just let it play out on its own. In the words of Werner Erhard, “Ride the horse in the direction it’s going.” If the reward is to be monetary, it will happen. If the reward is to be on a more personal level, then let that happen. And if you’re most fortunate, it occurs both ways.
What talent do you have that you’ve taken for granted? A skill that comes naturally to you, but hasn’t been recognized yet at the level it could rise to. Think about it in the New Year, nurture it, and just see where it takes you. Don’t give up your day job before you know for sure—that’s just playing it safe. But unlike that young lady, don’t push it into the corner and forget about it, either. You just might make a difference in the world in a positive fashion that you never anticipated. And that’s something the world needs a little more of.
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