“If you have a talent, use it in every way possible. Don’t hoard it. Don’t dole it out like a miser. Spend it lavishly like a millionaire intent on going broke” (Brendan Francis).

HENRI-FRÉDÉRIC AMIEL APTLY DEFINED TALENT AS THE ABILITY TO “DO EASILY WHAT IS DIFFICULT FOR OTHERS.” If, for example, your mind processes mathematical information easily, or you find it easy to do woodwork, or you have a knack for empathizing with others, then those are talents you have. All of us have a unique set of such natural abilities and aptitudes, and we need to be using them. As Emerson put it, “Each man has his vocation. Talent is the call.”

It’s important for us to identify the things we can do more easily than we can do other things. We can’t use our talents productively if we aren’t sure what they are. So I advise you to think about your strengths and weaknesses, talk with others who know you, and explore the things you have a personal flair for. An excellent book to help you in that investigation is StrengthsFinder by Tom Rath.

Having identified our talents, we then need to pursue work that uses those abilities to their maximum advantage. Grateful for our talents, we need to devote ourselves to their use. “Whatever you are by nature, keep to it; never desert your own line of talent. Be what nature intended you for, and you will succeed; be anything else and you will be ten thousand times worse than nothing” (Sydney Smith).

No matter what our talents may be, we won’t be effective in their use without discipline and hard work. “Discipline,” as Roy L. Smith said, “is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability.” Talent alone doesn’t guarantee success in any endeavor. That takes hard work!

Lastly, remember this: with every talent comes responsibility. If there is something you can do more easily than somebody else could do it, you have more responsibility in that area than they do. That is the main reason why we need to find our talents — and also help others to find their talents. Right now, it may seem far in the future, but eventually there’s going to be an accounting in which we’ll face the question, “What have you done with what you were given?”

“The real tragedy of life is not in being limited to one talent, but in the failure to use the one talent” (Edgar W. Work).

Gary Henry — WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com

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