Those who teach in colleges and universities will probably wonder what seeing and hitting has to do with teaching. A lot, let me add here, because good education is all about first learning to see what others cannot even see and then learning to hit what no one else can hit. You may also club this under talent.
Talent, lets admit, is not the domain of a privileged few. It is there for anyone to reach out, understand, grasp, and then use… and there is no secret formula for developing talent. All one needs is plain hard work. Even Emile Zola has written: ‘The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.’ But then, even a mule slogs his entire life and yet does not get to win any national award for being the most hard-working animal. This is because there is a lot more to nurturing talent than plain hard work.
Is it necessary to identify talent at an early age? Well, not really… and I say this because though an early discovery of your talent helps, it is never too late to find what you do best. By the way, when I talk about discovering talent I do not mean just music, art, photography, writing, cooking, athletics, or any of the other sports but nearly every other thing that you can think of. For instance, one can have a knack for calming people down and helping them with their anxieties or one can even find making the elderly and the not-so-tech-savvy people around feel comfortable with using gadgets. Believe me, every time you are able to do something better than the way others do you’ll be seeing ways that no one else sees and you’ll be knowing who and where and when to take actions that make life easier for someone.
Never even once must any of us assume that we have not been sent here without something exceptional… so yes, we all have talent, though many of us spend our entire life without bothering to identify it. I’d say, it is far better to discover your talent late in life than resigning to the fact that you have nothing to contribute other than the mundane activities of earning a living. We all know of doctors who embraced acting, engineers who wrote best-sellers, architects who entered social activism, and a number of those living an ordinary life who began their journey into the world of leadership trainers.
Identifying your talent and then harnessing it to earn more money or become powerful or win awards may not always be possible… but then even one smile of someone who has benefitted because of you and your attention is enough, isn’t it?
Thos who have understood the significance of talent know that the path begins with passion. I believe if one does whatever one is doing, with passion, the probability of one passionate encounter with another will finally lead one to that point where one will be able to identify that one passion out of many that is one’s life calling. It is only once this stage has been reached that the more difficult stages reveal themselves. Talent is not something that one can simply pick and pursue. Talent is a fussy one and reveals itself only once a person displays a consistent love for passionately doing even mundane chores.
One can start in this search for talent any time. This, I believe, is what our educational institutes must aim for… making students believe in themselves. Belief that some talent is lurking within waiting to be discovered is a great motivation and awakening this fire is what can and must start at the school and college level. Well, even at home, because parents can also lead by example. It is good to remember Pablo Neruda’s line: ‘As if you were on fire from within. / The moon lives in the lining of your skin.’ So yes, one does not need to travel far to unearth talent.
Note: First published as the editorial in Education Post of September 2020
Written on 27 August 2020