No. 1147



The noted American newspaper executive William P. Steven (1908-1991) once said of talent, “You cannot define talent. All you can do is build a greenhouse and see if it grows.” For me personally, it is truly sad to know and observe people who have a tremendous amount of talent but somehow they have never been motivated to develop and use it. They are missing the boat, because we each have a reservoir of talent when we are born.
Do you know people who have a lot of talent but never develop it? Now here is a personal question that gets a little closer to home -- by chance, are YOU one of these people? Do you have talent to burn, but somehow you’ve just never developed or used it to become the successful human being that God intended for you to be? If you are, I hope you will mentally join me for the rest of this column, because I may have some insights along those lines that could help you.
I have a good friend who is a radio announcer, and he has more talent than he knows what to do with. For years he worked for a station that ran my “How to Plan Your Life” radio program and used to do spots for me. However, he’s apparently content to just bump along with a “Ho-hum” attitude. I have pointed this out to him a number of times, but so far I’ve been unable to inspire him to any greater heights.
Of course, you know that what he does with his talent has to be his own choice. As is often the case, other people can see our talent, but we ourselves often overlook it because we are so close to it. Most of us tend to take ourselves for granted, at least where our talent is concerned. There is also the problem of the Psychology of Success. Many people who have talent are afraid of what success might do to them and they are not sure they could handle it. Rather than taking a chance, they just go on hiding their talents under a bushel and letting their creditors wait another month.
Now, please allow me to ask my question again: Do you know people like this? And once again, are YOU one of them? If what I am saying has any bearing on your life and your future, I would like to give you a mental picture to think about for a moment. At one time or another, most people in this country have seen a large dam that has been constructed to hold back water. We know that water is released from this dam by using gates to control the volume and the flow. Water has tremendous power when it’s released and channeled like the sound of a mighty rushing river.
Believe it or not, our talent is somewhat like that. When we release and channel it in the right direction -- namely being of service to other people -- we have an unlimited source of power. What a lot of people do not realize is that it is much easier to be a success than it is to be a failure. But there is something we must understand if we are to use our talents, developed or otherwise, for personal gain, and that is the economic side of the issue. We can develop our talents and use them for our own satisfaction, or we can develop and use them for others to pay us money to perform them.
Here is the secret for using our talent to the maximum, whatever our talent may be and in whatever field of endeavor. It’s a simple principle but it’s true - we must develop our talent so well that other people will pay to see us do it. Just think about it.
(Editor’s Note: THE DEAL OF THE CENTURY – Begin your day on a positive note – 365 days for $12. This will benefit the Bookcase for Every Child project. Go to to subscribe.)