Talent vs. Skill

“Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates. There’s plenty of movement, but you never know if it’s going to be forward, backwards, or sideways.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

There is a big difference between talent and skill. Anyone can develop a skill, but not everyone is blessed with talent. Often we confuse the two.

Talent is a gift. It’s a natural ability to do something that most others are unable to accomplish. We are blessed with talent. Someone who has talent has the ability to exercise it to enhance their work. Talent can take you places – sometimes scary places. In fact, talent can take us to places our character may not be ready to experience. Talent is a wonderful thing when it’s used properly, not abused, and maximized by the person who is lucky enough to own this special gift. Skill, however, is a learned ability. It can be improved with practice, work, and effort.

Skill comes from our knowledge and effort. It’s something attainable for anyone committed enough to put in the time and the reps to get better.

We are not all blessed with the same talents. In fact, some of us are forced to rely on our skill and hustle to get us through because we do not have as much talent as the next guy. I have been blessed to work with some amazingly talented people over the course of my life. All too often, really talented people drift off, losing sight of their goals and solely relying on the talents they have. They stop preparing as much and don’t do the work that others – who are not blessed with the same talents – have to do in order to succeed, simply because they know that their talent can cover their sins.

But, what if we committed to being a creative community that refused to take our talents for granted and were committed to refining them everyday? What if we committed to treating our talents like gifts and put in the extra work to increase our knowledge and develop these gifts? What if we committed to continuously develop and refine our gifts so that we could not only be talented, but also skilled.

What if we choose today to be our absolute best so that we can regain our position in culture as the leaders in creativity? Not because we could, but because we are called.

  • Have you ever taken advantage of your talent?
  • How do you fight that temptation?
  • What do you do to refine your skills?

Stephen Brewster is the Creative Arts Pastor at @crosspoint_tv in Nashville, TN. Read more of Stephen’s work at stephenbrewster.me

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