I’ve noticed something strange.
I have several friends who have special talents, but they don’t seem to pursue them. Some not at all, and others half-heartedly. Or they these skills and abilities as just hobbies and don’t take them seriously.
I see these people as successful — if they would only develop those talents.
I don’t know why I’m surprised, though. I myself have done exactly the same thing at times, and this is a theme that I’ve explored in this blog in different ways, and also in my book. It seems to be a pretty common phenomenon.
On occasion I’ve talked to some of these folks and tried to convince them that they could do something really worthwhile with their talents. Sometimes they’ve said, “Yes, you’re right,” but then have done nothing. As Ben Franklin said, “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”
But what on earth would make anyone just shove their talents under the rug and not want to pursue and develop them? Writer Steve Pressfield calls it “Resistance.” (See his book, The War of Art). I know in my own life that there seemed to be a million distractions, some of them legitimate (like raising my daughters), that kept me from devoting myself to my music as much as I could have, but check out what Pressfield has to say about that: “Tolstoy had thirteen kids and wrote War and Peace. Lance Armstrong had cancer and won the Tour de France three years and counting.”
Apparently there really are no excuses. So I figure the best I can do to help my friends see what a precious thing they’ve got in their hands is to develop my own talents and abilities the best I can and not be a slacker. If you’re familiar with the story in the Bible about the man who buried his talent in the ground, you’ll know what I mean. (Matthew 25:14-30)