The Significance of Talents

The NBC TV show Americas Got Talent just started its 7th season. Americas Got Talent is a contest to find the most talented people in America. It features some interesting people who showcase their unique talents or lack of talents in hopes of winning the million dollar prize and moving on to fame.

The individuals or teams who make it to the finals have found, developed, and focused on their talents. They have maximized their talents while the people who are quickly eliminated often have an unrealistic image of their true talents. This TV show can show and teach us that everyone has talents, however not everyone has fully discovered them.

Mark Twain wrote a wonderful story illustrating this point in The Greatest General:

A man died and met Saint Peter at the gates of heaven. Recognizing the saint’s knowledge and wisdom, he wanted to ask him a question. “Saint Peter’, he said, “I have been interested in the military history for many years. Tell me, who was the greatest general of all times?” Peter quickly responded, “O that is a simple question. It’s that man right over there.” The man looked where Peter was pointing and answered, “You must be mistaken. I knew that man on earth, and he was just a common laborer.” “That’s right,” Peter remarked, “but he would have been the greatest general of all time-if he had been a general.”

This is a powerful story showing the importance of finding your personal talents then to start use them.  It allows you to be reaching for your potential and be moving toward your purpose. This is because no one else has your unique talents or can become the person you where intended to become. Former NBA basketball player and coach Larry Bird said, “A winner is someone who recognizes his (or her) God-given talents, works his (or her) tail off to develop them into skills, and uses those skills to accomplish his (or her) goals.” 

Questions: Have you watched Americas got Talent? How important are your talents in your life and leadership?  

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • That’s a powerful story, Dan! And that goes perfect with your point.

    As you pointed out well, our talents will become skills only when we begin applying them consistently. And these skills empower us accomplish our great goals.

    Today, I happen to read several posts with a ‘consistency’ flavor. Interestingly, my today’s post is on change! :)

    • Joe,

      Glad you enjoyed the story and post. developing our talents is all about changing, looking forward to reading your post. Thanks for reading.

  • Dan, I don’t watch the show but I have heard and seen clips every now and then. However, you hit the nail on the head bro. Finding your true talent and fostering it. Remember the story of the talents in the bible and how each was asked to build upon his talents. Its true, so many people are ignoring their talents because they don’t know how to discover them. How would you advise someone to discover their talent?

    • Lincoln Parks,

      The story of the talents in the Bible is one of my favorite story’s. Two of the servants where faithful in multiplying their talents while the third person hid his talents.

      Simple ways: take a strengths/talent survey, ask a trusted friend or family member, find areas you like and are passionate about, ask God. Can you think about any other ways?

      Thank you for adding to the conversation.

      • Dan, great suggestions those are very warranted. I think I would also ask the closest human to me which is my wife. She knows everything there is to know about me besides God. I’ve heard of the strengths/talent survey’s. I need to do one.

        • I totally agree, a spouse is a great person to ask.

          Have you heard of Marcus Buckingham? He has some great books on strengths, his newest book Stand Out also has a survey within it. It might help.

          • Yes, I saw him speak for the first time at Leadercast, and I wanted to follow up and connect with him. Thanks for the reminder, I definitely will check out that strength finder.

            • Your welcome. I know you will not regret it.

  • Wow, I really like that comment by Larry Bird. Because school was always easy for me growing up and through college, I never really learned how to work hard. Because of that, I didn’t want to do all the hard work of writing. In fact, I thought I couldn’t write because it didn’t come easily and that even if I could, I shouldn’t have to work that hard. (Yes, I realize this is a bad attitude.) Anyway, suffice it to say, God is teaching me to work and helping me get rid of my selfish entitlement attitude.

    • Barb,

      Great to hear your learning the importance of working hard. It sounds like God is stretching you with your talent of writing. Though it might be hard keep it up:)

      Thank you for reading and sharing what your going through.

  • I haven’t followed that show very closely, but it seems like the majority (maybe even all) of the winners have been singers. For whatever reason, singing is the talent that people love to vote for (thus the success of shows like American Idol, X Factor, and the Voice). Back to the metaphor, I wonder if there are some talents that people idolize, but they are just wasting their time pursuing them.

    • Rob,

      I have not watched all of the seasons but that’s very interesting. I agree with you singing is a big deal in the TV arena.

      I think a lot of people idolize talents they don’t really have. Like people who really can’t sing but are determined to become famous. They waist years or their entire life going after something they have no change of getting. Watching American Idol clearly shows this(Though I have only seen the show a few times).

      Thanks for adding to the discussion. I appreciate it.

  • I’ve never watched that show, but I’ve heard some of the people that were discovered there. I think one of the talents we can possess is the talent to spot talent in others. I believe that is something I might have a little bit of. To know someones strengths and talents and put them in a position to advance at that level is gratifying all in itself.

    One of the talents I have I’ve not used in moderation and has become an economic liability. God has shined the light into that area of my life and I’m trying to put things back into perspective.

    Interestingly enough, one of the talents I have is to coach… something that won’t ever fill the pockets, but it fills the part of my soul that God knew I’d need to fill it with.

    • Floyd,

      You have some great talents, keep focusing on them and becoming better in them. Thank you for reading and sharing about your personal talents. Its great hearing about them.

  • Never seen it, but I don’t watch much TV.

    Knowing our talents is important, just as knowing our limitations. Both help us achieve more than we could if we were unaware of these qualities about ourselves.

    As for my own talents…trying to develop them now :)

    • TC Avey,

      It’s one of the only shows my wife and I watch together (or at all).

      Great point a person need to know their areas of weaknesses and “limitations.” Both are important to know and understand. Keep focusing and developing on your talents.

      Thanks you for reading and sharing.

  • I’ve seen the show a couple of times…never been that impressed by it. The gifts,talents, abilities God has given me are a tremendous blessing. They show up in everyday-ness and He uses them to bless other people…something that always amazes me.

    • Jay,

      I don’t know what to say about you not liking the show, your still a good man in my mind:) My wife and I love the show. Do you have a favorite show?

      Great attitude about talents, they are a “blessing” to us and others. Thank you so much for mentioning that.

  • I have watched the show..and brother! i think its one of the biggest gathering of be’s and wanna-be’s :).

    Talents are a tool to help discover and accomplish my purpose. I excel in areas of leadership where i am most talented in.

    • Ngina,

      I totally agree with you, you see some crazy and interesting stuff on the show.

      Great point about our “talents being a tool to help discover and accomplish our purpose.” I agree with you 100 percent! Thank you for sharing that aspect.

  • FreddieTeague

    Great post, Dan!

    • glad you liked it. Thank you for stopping by and reading.

  • Great post Dan and we all need to maximize our talents for success!

    • Thank you for reading and sharing Kimanzi.

  • I have never seen AGT. I tend not to watch much TV at all. I think it is good to know one’s talents but to rely on them too much. People tend to do that if they are not gifted in leadership. Does that make sense?

  • Dan, excellent post. I especially liked the Mark Twain story. It not only illustrates that we all have talent and should develop them. But also what a tragedy it would be if we don’t exercise our talents for the greater good.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post. It’s a powerful story and example. Thank you for reading and adding to the conversation.

  • I think who we are is something we have to assess well if we’re to lead effectively. It’s more than simply just talents too – it’s personality, drive, and a host of other traits we have.

    • Great point Loren. It’s also about the things you mentioned to become successful and be moving toward our purposes. Thank you for sharing.

  • Dan,

    I believe that everyone is given a gift. Whether spiritual or not, we all have something to “bring to the table.” The greatest thing we can do in this life is to develop the gifts we have been given and use them. Key though is to recognize what our gifts are first and then pray for God for leading so we can utilize them.

    I work in two different working environments and work with a diverse group of people. I, currently serve on two committees and we bounce ideas off each other in every meeting and I think it’s awesome. We each have our own gift and talent and being able to work collectively brings our best work to the group.

    I believe community is important in refining and utilizing the gifts we’ve been given. Otherwise they go to waste.

    • Julie,

      I really liked your statement, ” recognize what our gifts first and then pray for God for leading so we can utilize them.” Such a great additional point.

      I like how you guys work off each others gifts and talents, such a great way to maximize what your doing.

      Thank you for reading and sharing, I appreciate it.

  • Hi Dan,
    I love this topic, and really like that Mark Twain quote. I hadn’t heard it before, so I’ll definitely be sharing that with my peeps. When I thing of the importance of our talents, I always think of the parable of talents, which among other messages, show us that God expects use to cultivate the gifts he’s given us. I think it’s part of our spiritual growth and duty to realize our full God-given potential as much as possible. That said, although I feel talent is extremely significant in living out the life God calls us to, I think developing a Godly character to support that talent is even more important. If you can’t keep perspective on your talent (where it comes from, how to use it rightly, it’s place of priority in your life) it can become the very thing that keeps you from God’s intended purpose. I don’t think you can fully develop talent in a Godly way, without character to boot. :)

    • Marlee,

      I love the parable of the talents. It’s another great story and example of the importance of finding and focusing on personal talents.

      What a great point about “developing Godly character.” a persons skills and talents are not enough, it also requires “Godly character.” I consider character the foundation that everything else stands on. If we have Godly character then our foundation will be strong while if we have weak character no amount of skills or talents will allow us to be strong, eventually the person will fall. Thank you for bring this aspect up.

  • Great post, Dan. And I absolutely love that Larry Bird quote. Used it in an email to my swim team just yesterday.

    Keep them coming, my friend!

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the post and quotes Kent. It’s great to hear your sharing it with your swim team, its a great quote to know and remember.

  • Bradley J. Moore

    I don’t know why that’s such a hard thing, to just be ourselves and dig into what’s already there. Some of us spend so much time wandering around, looking at other people or things that have nothing to do with our own gifts and talents. I think it’s important what Larry Bird says there at the end of your post — working your tail off… Even when we discover what we’re good at, using it to build a long-term career is going to take a focused determination.

    • Bradley,

      I think society and media is trying to show a unrealistic image of how everyone should and needs to be like. So a lot of people chase after that and not their true gifts and talents. The key is to find our talents then to work hard in those areas.

      Thank you for stopping by and reading.