Monday, August 16, 2010

How to Find Your Talent, Develop It, and Use It?

Therefore take the talent from him and give it to the one who has ten. For the one who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough. But the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless slave into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’” Matthew 25:28~30

Do you know what your talents are?

All of us have at least one talent. Some people are good in sports while there are some who are good in singing or dancing, just to name a few.

On my part, let just say that I can write. I am not like Roald Dahl, Stephen King, Dan Brown, Bo Sanchez or something like that. However, I won’t say either that I don’t dream about it.

How will you know your talents?

You showed flashes of your talent as a young kid.
As a young boy I was so frustrated with myself. I was not strong and athletic like my big brother, Dhadz. I was not a good storyteller like my cousin Florenillo. In arts, I was just a little above average. I can’t sing or dance like my brother (again…I am now fuming with envy). I was only average in school during my elementary years. And I was painfully shy, and terribly lacking of self-confidence.

It seemed that nothing was going my way as a young boy. However, I just realized now the two manifestations of my talent as a kid. First, I could sit for down literally for hours just staring at our wall. My mother called me lazy and wasteful. What really happened was that my mind was busy churning out stories upon stories where I am the main protagonist. And I really enjoyed doing this.

Another sign was the fact that I felt nostalgic or I felt like crying every time I hear certain songs or music. I don't know why, but I could be emotional at times.

You are good at it and people admire you for your works.
I didn’t know how to write…until I was infatuated with a sophisticatedly beautiful girl in high school. From there, my world brightened with colors. Analogies and metaphors came out my mind like water from a spring. However, when she refused my heart I thought it withered and died. Instead, my heart burnt with deep emotion I didn’t know before. Though it was suffering (at least temporarily), but that experience pushed my writing to a higher level that people like my english teacher, Ms. Erna Yuson, began to notice.

You feel deep satisfaction in your work.
Some of you might be wondering when will this blog ends? A month for now? In two months time? In three? Honestly, I can’t tell you. However, this I can tell you – I enjoy writing the Daily Snacks for the Soul. I feel deep satisfaction just writing it. Where people see labor, I feel joy.

You feel a unique connection to your work
I am tempted to say that if your talented in something you will find it ‘always’ easy to do. In my case it’s not like that. There were many times when I experienced writer’s block. However, this again I can tell you – when I write I don’t rely much on my thinking ability; I rely more on my feeling or instinct. I only use my head to deal with technicalities in writing. I used my feeling to write the story.

In summary, God gifted us with at least one obivous talent, and normally we show flashes of this as a young kid. People admire the product of your talent, and you feel deep joy and satisfaction using your talent. Finally, since your talent in innate you don't think a lot when doing it, instead you rely more on your feeling and instinct.

How to develop your talent?

Once you find your sling (the word Bo Sanchez coined for talent), you must develop it. It’s a sin not to. Now here are my suggestions, which worked for me, how to develop your talent.

Read books about your talent
We may have the natural raw material to sing, dance, cook, talk, etc. but if you don’t study to improve your talent, your development will be slow. In my home library I have 4 books about writing.

Be yourself
I like Bo Sanchez’s writings because they are easy to read, and it's packed with simple wisdoms. In fact, I have several of his books autographed by the man himself. But I don’t attempt to write like Bo, not that I don’t like his style. Each and every one of us is unique, and it is this uniqueness that makes us valuable. Instead of trying to be like someone you are not, celebrate your uniqueness instead.

Believe that you can contribute
You may not believe in yourself, but at least believe that you can help others. And what better way you can help others than using your talent to contribute. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you have to be outstanding to start making a contribution. There will always be people who are higher or lesser than you in terms of talent, but that is not the point. The point is God give you a measure of talent, so use it.

Apply your talent in real situation
At first practice with people whom you know can possibly give you helpful feedback. However, sooner or later you will have to face the real world. Don’t wait for 30 years before you will come out of your shell.

In summary, once you find your talent develop it by applying it. Start with people whom you know can encourage and help you. Read literatures and asked the right people to help you improve your talent faster. When you doubt yourself, remember that there will always people out there that will need your talent no matter how insignificant you think your gift is, and you do not have to wait to perfect your talent before you start using it to help others; learn as you go. Finally, be yourself.

How to use your talent?

Use your talent to help others, not just yourself
Use your talent to give value, and to give joy to other people. A well develop talent can really help improve the lives of other people, a well develop talent can really captivate the hearts of any one.

If you use your talent with the emphasizes on what's in it for you, then your effort will be short-lived. Your legacy will be tainted. Of course, it is OK to profit from your talent, but in the context of giving value and joy to others. It's a win-win situation.

What's in it for me in writing this blog? The joy of knowing that God use me to touch the lives of other people. The satisfaction of knowing that I use God's gift, no matter how little it is, to live out my purpose in life.

Use your talent to give glory to God, not yourself
You are not the source of your talent. I am not the source of my talent. Stamp this in your head and you will never get lost amidst the praise and admiration this world will bestow upon you. God is the only source of our talent.

January of last year I asked myself how I can contribute to God’s work. The only thing I felt natural at is writing, so I decided to write about God’s words. At first I was afraid because I will have to expose myself to other people. What made me do it anyway is this very simple yet powerful belief, “I am not doing this for myself, I am doing this for God.” At first I sent e-mails to my friends and officemates, and this year it evolved into a blog. And that was how the Daily Snacks for the Soul got started.

I don’t look at myself as the source of the wisdoms, and knowledge that I sprinkled here and there over my articles. I am not kidding. Instead, I look at myself as a delivery boy. Before writing I pray to God for wisdom and understanding, and then I read the Bible. From there I begin writing my thoughts and reflections. (I do read articles from other writers, and listen to preachings in between.) So when somebody tells me – “Your article is good! I like it!” - I can honestly say, “Thanks! But thank God more for He is the source of the message.”

In summary, use your talent to serve your purpose in life: (1) To love God above all things (2) To love others as much as yourself. Enjoy your talent, but don't fool yourself into thinking that you are the source of your talent. Praises are good when taken with the right frame of mind -- keeping in mind that the glory belongs to the Creator.

PS: Honestly, I still feel happy when somebody finds my article helpful, and I feel inspired to continue my chosen task everytime I see the people who followed the Daily Snacks for the Soul. Many thanks to all of you for your support!

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