From a young age I have wondered what it means to be talented. Like most people I know, I went to school in a system that appreciated talent, but an extremely limited variety. It made me wonder, were only some of us at school worthy?After all, not everyone had 'good' grades, the primary measure of success. To me, the message was, not everyone is talented. The question is, whether you were or you were not 'gifted' at school, are you now? Assuming talent is defined by the things that you enjoy and do well, the answer is a resounding YES, you have always had talents, and you always will.
What could your talents be? Do you have a knack for persuasion, fascination, making someone feel welcome? Are you funny, analytical, or good at marrying seemingly unrelated ideas? I would love to make a list of talents, but where would it end? There are books, personality tests and career programs aimed at defining talent, and while they are helpful, there is a ton of nuance left unexplored. The words talent and intelligence are often characterized differently, but are they really different? Do intelligence and talent come from different places? Of course not. If you have a brain and you've ever solved a problem, you have talent.
Talents are honed through hard work and practice. You love something, so you do it a lot. You make mistakes. Then you figure out how to do it better. Somewhere along the line we got mixed up about what practice is, but this is it. Let's say you love to cook and you make meals for your family every day. You can't tell me you haven't been practicing. Do you to try new recipes, make mistakes, figure out how to do it better and take note of what works? Then you are an intelligent or talented cook. Choose anything- arranging flowers, 'reading' a room, connecting through conversation, etc. Every time you do those things you enjoy, you are succeeding, failing, taking notes, and refining your talents.
The purpose of this article wasn't really to answer the question in the title. The purpose was to remind you of what you already know. Of course you are talented. Don't worry about for how long or at what institution you were educated. Don't be concerned about your age or the status of your profession against the next guy's. These things can be talent illusions because they are labels and accolades and not necessarily abilities. What makes you feel joy? What makes you so curious you just have to know? Maybe that thing is something very highly regarded culturally or socially, but it might be even more important if it isn’t! Think about your talents and those of the people around you. Endeavour to uncover more of these and to cherish the ones you already recognize. The best thing we can do is live out our passions and develop our talents- they are gifts to ourselves and to one another.