Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Talent is Never Enough

I picked up a new book last week - Talent Is Never Enough by John C. Maxwell. For those of you who haven't heard of Maxwell, he writes absolutely fantastic leadership/motivational books like The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership and tons of others. So I saw the title when I was in the store the other day and figured I had to pick it up.

I've barely gotten started but have come across a couple of gems of quotes that I wanted to share with you. The first is by French poet and dramatist Edouard Pilleron who said, "Have success and there will always be fools to say that you have talent."

To which Maxwell says - when people achieve great things, other often explain that as accomplished by talent. But if talent was enough, then why do you know so many highly talented people who are not successful?

Hmmmmmm. Kind of makes you think, right?

Well, in the next section, Maxwell hits on what I think the main reason is for the lack of success in talented people. Maxwell says the following:

"Develop the talent you have, not the one you want."

Wow. A real eye-opener, huh.

He goes on to say that people spend too much time working on their weaknesses ( not referring to attitude or character issues which must be worked on). It is his observation that people can increase their ability in an area by only 2 points on a scale of 1 to 10. So if you natural talent in an area is a 4, with hard work you might rise to a 6, thereby going from below average to just above. But if you natural talent is a 7 and you push it to a 9, it's your greatest area of strength and puts you miles above the crowd.

How many times have you heard someone who is naturally talented at "x" bemoan how they can't do "y"? I hear/see this in writers quite often. People who write sweet romances want to write gritty suspense. People who write dark thrillers want to write comedy. People who write category want to write Single Title.

And maybe they can do it all - I don't know. But wouldn't everyone be served better if they followed Maxwell's advice and developed the biggest talent they have as far as they can push it?


Tori Lennox said...

Ah! Sort of like how while I'd occasionally like to write dark and dangerous, I usually end up with light and funny. Even if the danger is thrown in for good measure. I really can't do "dark" to save my life. :)

Sassy Sistah said...

Great advice. I'll be giving this one some thought! Thanks, Jana!

Jana DeLeon said...

tori - I hold out hopes for time one day to write a d&d too! I have a really twisted, evil sort of mind, so I think I could stretch it to that. I just need to right setting to start with and I think I could do it.

Hi sassy - Maxwell is smart, right? His books always make me think. Now if only I could remember all the advice he gives.....

An Austin DesignWorks Production