Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Developing Talents

This post may contain affiliate links.
image source

Last month, a lesson I taught in church was on developing talents. Most of the time, lessons I give are on subjects I am by no means adept at. This one, however, is my thing. This is something I have experience with and feel like I can speak on with a certain amount of authority. I don't say it in a boastful way; I just know that I have a lot of talents that I have developed in the last 10 years. I know these are talents I worked hard for, and I know my abilities to do them have been a blessing.

We are all parents here who are trying to be the best parents we can. I think most of us have talents we wish we had, so I figured a discussion on developing talents would be beneficial here.

First, let's start off by pointing out that we all have talents. Each of us has at least one thing we are good at. Not all talents are things that can be displayed at a talent show or on a table. Some have a talent with patience or cheerfulness.

Of course, we also all have things we would like to have as talents. So how to we do that? And why bother?

Why We Develop Talents
You know I like to break things down into why and how.

If you are religious, you simply need to read the parable of the talents found in Matthew to know that we have a responsibility to develop our talents. We sometimes are afraid (of failure, of people rejecting us, of the effort involved, etc.) to use and grow our talents, but fear is not a viable excuse.

When you do not use the talents you have, they eventually wither and die. You share and utilize your talents so that they might grow and flourish.

Removing Excuses
Guess what? Nobody is perfect. No one is good at everything. We all have weaknesses. The manual I taught from had some great examples of people who developed talents despite great obstacles.

Beethoven--great composer correct? He also composed some of his greatest work after he became deaf.  Don't you think he could have thrown his arms up in the air and given up on composing? I don't think anyone would have blamed him for it. Look at what he accomplished through his efforts in face of his weakness.

Shelly Man--Olympic gold medalist for the butterfly stroke. The butterfly stroke is one of the most difficult in swimming. Guess what happened to Shelly at age five? She had polio. She started in a pool just for the help in lifting her arms. She made small goal after small goal until she won that gold medal.She also won a silver medal in freestyle.

Remember a quote I shared with you last month: That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the thing is changed, but that our power to do is increased" (Heber J. Grant).

You can do it if you want to.

How We Develop Talents
Then the question becomes how? Here is a list (as you go through each step, remember prayer--pray for help):

  1. Discover your talents: ask friends and family as well as ponder to discover what you are good at. You can of course also pray to know.
  2. Be willing to work: to develop a talent takes time and effort. You must be willing to give these things to grow your talent.
  3. Have faith: have faith in you and have faith in the Lord that He will help you.
  4. Learn: you might need to take a class, ask someone you know who has a talent in the subject, read a book, read a blog, watch a youtube video...we are so fortunate in our day. We have so many infinite resources to help us learn new things. Don't be afraid to ask people. I ask people to teach me things all the time. I have learned to crochet, preserve food, and garden from asking people. Also, classes are invaluable. I have taken sewing classes, baking classes, dance classes, vocal lessons--classes help you learn. Finally, don't be afraid to just try it. I make jewelry and basically just fiddled around until I figured it out. 
  5. Practice: this is where the work and effort comes in. Back at step two you decided you were willing to do this. You are going to have to accept in your mind that when you first start your talent, say it is making bread, you will not be as good as the nice woman who taught you. You have been making bread for a day. She has been making bread for over 30 years. You will need to put in the effort to get to be good at this talent. 
  6. Share: share your talents with others. Remember the parable of the talents (Matthew 20)? The servants who used their talents got more. The one who buried it got nothing. Help others learn and serve others using your talent.
Use It or Lose it
I was contemplating my life and the course of my developing talents so far. I think I was born with three innate talents: singing, organization, and intelligence. Like the profitable servants in the parable of the talents, I put a lot of effort into cultivating my talents and increasing in my ability within those. Because of that, I could be trusted with more. 

I still have talents I want to develop. I want to learn to play the piano. I also want to learn to be a photographer. I know from past experience that if I put effort into learning these things, I can do it. 

So readers, what talents do you want to develop? And what resources have you found valuable as you strive to develop talents?


Rachel said...

Wow- I was just talking to my husband the other day about this. I have had this longing for awhile now to develop some talents I have for things like writing, teaching dance, improving my French speaking and keeping a more organized home. the problem is I don't have much time to devote to these things. We just made the decision to let go of some other things that make me feel pressured and bogged down so I can have more time for these things. I'm so excited about feeling freedom to develop my abilities in areas of passion for me!

Ashlee said...

Hi Valerie,

I grew up with a self concept that I had no creative ability and was often told things like "we just aren't artistic in our house" and "too bad the artistic gene skipped us". I was literally discouraged from any interest in any kind of Artistic expression.Turns out that's far from true. I've been a photographer for nearly 10 years now and have kinda felt a bit flukish about it and even a bit like a fraud because this was so ingrained in me. Finally this year I've decided to shake it off! I've discovered that not only am I creative and artistic person, I'm a dominant right brain person and when I allow myself I am actually hyper creative. I have several inventions that I'm actively working on and I'm doing my first photo shoot for a book I've been wanting to do for 4 years! Wow! I've wasted a lot of time believing that the photography talent was some kind of fluke. I still need to work more on accepting my creativity as a strength and talent. I feel so much more alive since allowing myself to pursue these endeavors, because I'm finally allowing myself to progress towards my potential for the first time. I hope your blogpost inspires many to pursue their talents and discover more about themselves. One thing I've kept in mind is, 'what would I tell my kids, then that's what I should be doing'. I wouldn't tell them not to reach for their goals, not to live life to the fullest, not to discover and cultivate their talents. I would tell them they meed to follow what is on their hearts and minds, develop their strengths and strengthen their weaknesses and LIVE life to it's fullest. I think developing talents is so key in that. So I need to show them. Thanks, as always Val, for everything you do. You have incredible talents and you're so gracious to share :) Sorry for the novel!

Plowmanators said...

You are welcome! Thanks to both of you for your comments!


Related Posts with Thumbnails