How to measure talent? Money is the only measure scale of talent today

America's got talent. One of the many talent platforms for budding artists and talented individuals.
America's got talent. One of the many talent platforms for budding artists and talented individuals.

Do you consider yourself to have a talent? Do you consider yourself to be a talented individual? Do you know someone who is talented? If you've been nodding through even one of these questions, I have another question for you. How do you measure talent? What is it that you use to define the amount or quantity of talent that you or any other person has? Monetization or commercial gain seems to be the only valid and generally accepted measure of talent today. Here's why.

What is talent?

"A special natural ability or aptitude"

"A capacity for achievement or success"

These are meanings of talent straight from the dictionary. In true form, these definitions of talent are valid. They answer the question of What. But what about the question of How much?

How to measure talent?

Here is a pitiful analysis of how talent is being measured in the 21st century. Point after point, much similar to needle after needle poked into the artist's heart.

It is unfortunate that the feeling that we get when we hear a talented violinist make our souls weep from within, cannot be described in words. Nor can the feeling be measured.

So if someone actually came and asked you "How talented are you?", you'd probably reply "I can play the guitar very well" or "I can paint" or "I can sing". "Oh really" they'd probably exclaim and go on to ask "So what makes you special from the other millions of people across the globe who too, can sing, paint and play the guitar? Isn't talent supposed to be special?"

Talent and Success

In the 21st century, the amount of talent that an individual has is compared to the amount of success they got by putting their talents of display.

What is the measure of the amount of success a person has got from his or her talents? Not by the number of smiles, not by the number of awes, not by the number of humbled souls, not by the teary eyes and definitely not by the number of artists who've taken inspiration from the talented individual. You know where we're heading, don't you. The amount of success that a person gets by putting his talents on display is by the amount of money earned by him or her. Simple.

Talent and Money

That makes money, or monetization, or the commercial gain derived from talent as the ultimate measure of talent.

It's like saying that the most talented singer is the person who has sold the most number of albums, or the most talented painter is the individual whose painting sells for the highest bid, or the dancer who charges the most for a single dance routine.

So there you go, folks. Forget the dictionary meanings and forget the beauty of the word talent. We now have an answer to our question of how to measure talent.

Talent measured

Talent is measured by how well an individual monetizes his or her abilities. Talent is measured by how much money a person can earn from his or her abilities. Talent is measured by the level of commercial success an individual can attain from his or her abilities.

In other words, talent is measured by money.

If you asked me, I'd say talent is one of the most beautiful things in the world. A talented individual can use his or her ability to create a visual, auditory, sensory or any other form of experience that is special and can move someone's heart and soul. Unfortunately, my definition does not earn me or you, any money.

Talent: Buy Susan Boyle CD and DVD on Amazon

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Comments 15 comments

Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

You have made very interesting points here. In our consumerist society it is often thought money evaluates our talent. But before we evaluate out talent we must know what is talent. Our skill, knowledge, wisdom all can build up our talent. If we know something better than other we can say we are talented compared to that person. But out talent withers compared to the person who knows better than us.I think talent is a relative phenomena. I don't consider myself talented but I see lost of talented people.

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Husky1970 5 years ago

Wow, you made me really think about this one, princesswithapen. I never thought that much about how we measure talent. Just like beauty, I just figured talent was in the eyes of the beholder. But you are right. In sports, the more talented athletes are generally paid the most money. And I'm sure you can make the same argument for entertainers. Very interesting and thought provoking hub. That is why I always check out your hubs.

FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

Then how do you measure people who practice art as their passion away from the stresses of their job that pays the bills in this century? I sing for free. Lots of people I know who belong to my choirs or the local symphony perform for free, whether they are professionals donating their time, or artists in their free time. For those people, you do still measure talent in how people respond to them. Of course, you need an audience. I just happen to live in a community rich with the arts and people who appreciate the arts. Others are not so lucky.

princesswithapen profile image

princesswithapen 5 years ago Author

Hi Vinaya Ghimire

Your very apt point about the relativity or the aspect of comparison of talent seems to be killing the very idea of talent itself. Unfortunately the concept of talent takes a massive beating the minute we immerse ourselves in the questions "Who is better" or "Who is more talented"

As you can see, consumerism and real talent go the opposite ways.


princesswithapen profile image

princesswithapen 5 years ago Author

That's exactly what I mean, Husky. I'm sure you've experienced this aspect of talent vs. money while coaching and being involved in sports in general. No matter how talented an athlete may be, his or her talent will probably boil down to "How much did he or she get signed up for this year?"

Here's a simple thought. Let's imagine you were coaching the best basketball team in the country. Would you pay more to an athlete who has more talent, than an athlete who is not as good? I don't think I'd be incorrect in saying that the answer is probably and obvious Yes, am I?


princesswithapen profile image

princesswithapen 5 years ago Author


You're one of the lucky few in this world who are surrounded by like minded people and in a community of artists.

Its warming to know that people in your choir sing and perform for free. And, its warming to know that passion for art and talent still exists in its true form. To answer your question on how would you measure talent or people who practice art for free, I'd say that the expression on an artist's face after witnessing a performance is all you need to measure talent of the individual who has performed.


tlmcgaa70 profile image

tlmcgaa70 5 years ago from south dakota, usa

very interesting hub. from a personal point of view, i don't measure talent by how much an individual gets paid...there are quite a few actors that i think stink and some painters who paint stuff that i don't call art. in the acting industry someone has talent if they can make me forget they are acting. painters have talent when they capture life almost perfectly...i have seen paintings i thought were photographs at first. some people think they can sing...some people truly can. there are some people who play music so beautifully you ache inside. that is talent. they may never make a penny...but they have true talent.

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Husky1970 5 years ago

You are absolutely correct, princesswithapen. With professional athletes, those who are perceived to have the most talent get the highest pay. An interesting area to look at might be coaches. While there are many great high school and Division 2 and 3 college coaches, the big money goes to the high profile Division 1 coaches. And we all know that coaches need talented players to win and be successful. So, although the talent of a h.s. or Division 3 coach might be as great or even greater than that of a Division 1 coach in terms of X's and O's, the high profile D-1 coach makes way, way more oney. So he/she must be more talented at recruiting, marketing, and all the other aspects necessary to generate the big money that these schools are seeking with their athletic program. Those footing the bill of the big salary, therefore, believe their coaches have more talent. Proves the point of your hub, doesn't it, princesswithapen?

princesswithapen profile image

princesswithapen 5 years ago Author

Wow your comment hits this hub like a meteor and drives the point home, Husky.

I believe you must have faced similar situations in evaluating your very own players.


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Husky1970 5 years ago

If you want to know how I view coaching talent, check out my hub on Mike Krzyzewski, the greatest college coach of all time. And, by the way, he is very well compensated for his talent. You were right on with this one, princesswithapen.

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 5 years ago from USA

If you are measuring talent in the entertainment world, to be successful, beauty plays a big part. Here at Hubpages SEO plays a big part. Even though talent is measured by money by the world, many talent people are unknowns.

I can think of many Hubpage authors that are talented that don't make any money, because they write fiction, poetry or others that write humor. It's too bad.

The super talented in many fields like sports etc, do make big money though.

princesswithapen profile image

princesswithapen 5 years ago Author

Barbara you're right. Many talented writers may not make money on HubPages because of the genre of their writing. However the lay person out on the street is still going to rank a higher earning writer, as a "better writer". Irony, I know.

Call it consumerism or call it the 21st century, but the be all and end of measuring talent ultimately seems to boil down to the money. Thanks for stopping by on this hub!


princesswithapen profile image

princesswithapen 5 years ago Author

Hi tlmcgaa70

Personally, I'd have to say that that there is much more to talent, much like what you've said. However in this day and age of media and technology, amount of talent seems to be equated with the money or revenue it can generate. That's why there are talent managers and an entire support system just to promote and develop talent.

I'm glad you found this hub interesting!


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

I remember the Parable of Talents from the Holy Bible. The first man hid it, the second and third used it for business for profit.

Talents abound these days in many fields of endeavor. Reality shows often feature talents in singing, acting, cooking, even magic. Talent will be honed because of skills and education.

Geniuses have enormous talents that should be developed properly.

I've read about persons who wasted their talents because of personal vices (drugs, for example).

The bottom line is talent will be rewarded if used properly.

princesswithapen profile image

princesswithapen 5 years ago Author

"..talent will be rewarded if used properly.." you've made a good point here, travel_man1971. The fact that talent needs to be used properly to be rewarded has fueled the growth of talent management agencies in the last decade.


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