The 14 Focal Points of Personal Growth: #13 Talents
edited: Friday, January 25, 2008
By Jeff Brown
Rated "PG" by the Author.
Posted: Friday, January 25, 2008
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If you work on developing your talent you'll find other talents, talents upon talents to multiply you to success.
A man was going on a long journey. He summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.
The one who had received five talents went off right away and put his money to work and gained five more. In the same way, the one who had two gained two more. But the one who had received one talent went out and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money in it.
After a long time, the master of those slaves came and settled his accounts with them. The one who had received the five talents came and brought five more, saying, ‘Sir, you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.' His master answered, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You have been faithful in a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master.'
The one with the two talents also came and said, ‘Sir, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more.' His master answered, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You have been faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master.'
Then the one who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Sir, I knew that you were a hard man, harvesting where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.' But his master answered, ‘Evil and lazy slave! So you knew that I harvest where I didn't sow and gather where I didn't scatter? Then you should have deposited my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received my money back with interest! Therefore take the talent from him and give it to the one who has ten. For the one who has will be given more and he will have more than enough. But the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless slave into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Of course this is the parable of the talents found in Mathew in the New Testament. In this parable, part of the message is that we are given a certain number of talents. The emphasis here is on spiritual talents, but this can be carried over to any talent: administrative, management, artistic, athletic, sales, and so on. We all received a certain number of and proficiency with our talents. I know of a person who is talented in math, engineering, music, and song writing. His name is Tom Sholz form the band Boston. He attended MIT and became an electrical engineer, and while working his day job he put together the band Boston. He also engineered special effects for guitar amplifiers. They are technically well made and sound great. I bought one years ago when I was in a band. Nevertheless, here was a man who used his talents to their utmost effect.
Why is it that there are some who have a resume of talents and accomplishments as long as their arm while others are as long as their little pinkie? There is one immutable truth that if we work and continue to do so on a regular basis we will increase our talents. Think of that old adage, if you don't use it you loose it. Another person who has used his talents is Gene Simons of the rock band Kiss. Why do I pick rock bands? Well, I'm a musician and growing up I spent a greater portion of my life learning how to play guitar and idolized many 70's and 80's rock stars. Personally, I am not a fan of Kiss; however, I am impressed how Gene Simons has worked at building an empire using his many talents (maybe even some he never knew he had until he stretched) and intelligence to provide for himself and his family.
I'll get back to Simons in a moment. But I'd like to talk about accountability which is of the utmost importance to the successful--working at finding ways to not only ensure wealth but that which lasts longer than a few years. The road is littered with the temporarily wealthy in entertainment (and those in other fields, of course) because of a lack of foresight and discipline. Consider the following statistics. Only 1% of the current population will not rely on others financially when retired. The other 99% will rely on family, social security and Medicare (which is like relying on paper mache to keep your house from getting blown away in a storm), and work for income. And with the changing and unstable economy and labor environment just a job is not going to cut it, so people must work hard and be creative in finding ways for themselves to survive economically into retirement. One to follow in this regard is Gene Simons.
He and his band members began by using what's called in the business field "positioning." His band was unique from the outset, being one of the only bands to us makeup to the extent they did, creating unique characters in the process: a cat, a fire breathing monster, a star, and a space man. From there he was the only rock and roller to include in each album a catalog of Kiss items for fans to buy. Since then he has marketed Kiss through comic books, movies, and continued to market Kiss and himself through magazines, reality shows, and other business ventures. Here is a man who decided that he wanted to last, that he didn't want to be dependant on the government, family, or a company for his wealth, health, and welfare. And in the process, he developed and has continued to develop his talents.
The general universal law appears to be that if you do have talents that they only improve or multiply if you use them. The universe reciprocates because you are not only stretching yourself but positioning yourself to create greater wealth, to be more self-reliant, happy, and to create more free time to be with your family and bless a greater number of people. Bill Gates is a great example here. He is using what Andrew Carnegie in his article "Wealth" calls the "proper administration of wealth." He believed that those who generate wealth have a certain talent to do so. Some may disagree with this. Some business gurus like Dan Kennedy would tell us that it's simply a matter of learning proper marketing techniques, those that run outside the norm. And of course economic conditions have changed since the late 19th century when Carnegie wrote the article. But the more important point Carnegie touches upon is that those who generate great wealth should be responsible in how they use it. He believed that there were three things to do with a great fortune (he defines this as great sums of money obtained through business not simply money put away by the common man): to give it to one's family as an inheritance, to give it to charities or for "public use," or to administer that wealth before one dies using one's superior money generating and management skills.
Carnegie felt that in the first scenario would fail because wealth may be passed on but the skill to manage and generate it may not be. It is also to the betterment to the few not the many. In the second scenario, the money may do well to go to charity but those who run the institutions do not, once again, have the skills to manage it. The last scenario is the one Carnegie suggests that the wealthy use, using one's superior money management skills to train those in public institutions how to manage the money before passing on. This is exactly what Bill Gates is doing, the last scenario. Here is Bill Gates who will "give away" 90% of his fortune before he dies.
Now some detractors, those who are anti free-enterprise, may say that there is no "free" enterprise, that it comes with a cost, that we live in the age of monopoly capitalism and that Bill Gates is a part of the class that oppresses the workers of the world. Well, there are few Bill Gates' and I'm not writing about him to argue this point. What I am writing about is obtaining wealth or a surplus that we can use to the advantage of others without taking advantage of workers through monopolies. Through creating wealth (wealth here meaning having enough money to retire at an early age and not have to work again) we can have a surplus, a surplus that comes from expanding our talents, stretching, acting upon the world rather than merely letting it act upon us. Meaning that you don't have an employer who may fire you at any moment because of profit loss, tell you when to come to work and leave, and how much you're worth. By stretching yourself, by diversifying your income through multiple streams, you are less likely to rely on others--family and government--to provide for your basic lifelong needs.
If you are a great writer but get away from writing the talent diminishes, as well as others. If you are musically inclined and you don't use or develop your talent it is lost as well. The same goes for any talent.
The reason we lose our talent(s) if we don't use it (them) is that we are given them for a reason. We are to use them to benefit ourselves and others. If we don't use them, develop them, work on them then we lose them and the chance to discover or develop other talents. And if we do use them and develop them, then we will find greater purpose, joy, excitement and reward in our lives.