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Things That Don't Require Talent

Updated on April 25, 2013

Talented people always cause me to marvel at their giftedness. We all know that person that seems to be good at everything. And then there's that one particular person that doesn't even seem to have to work at what they do! It's usually not hard to realize talented people's contribution to society. But if you're not careful, you'll start to perceive a gap between yourself and more gifted people - as if they were more valuable than yourself.

In a sense, there is value in talent. This is called the High Jump Principle: "To do a high jump, you need one person who can jump seven feet - not seven people who can jump one foot. Some jobs won't get done by throwing more people at them. These tasks require talent more than numbers."

Pearl Bailey said this about talent, "There are two kinds of talent, man-made and God-given. With man-made talent you have to work very hard. With God-given talent, you just touch it up once in a while."

"No matter the size of the bottle, the cream always comes to the top." - Charles Wilson

Talent is definitely important - but don't attach people's success to their talents! There are many things that bring success that don't necessarily require talent. Let's look at twelve of them:

1. Teachability

This is the desire to listen, learn and apply. Henry Brook Adams once said, "They know enough who know how to learn."

Here are some thoughts on teachability:

1 - Nothing is interesting unless you're interested

2 - Your best friends can be your teachers.
"Make your friends your teachers and mingle the pleasures of conversation with the advantages of instruction." -Baltasar Gracian

3 - Successful people view learning differently than those who are less successful.
"A winner knows how much he still has to learn, even when he is considered an expert by others. A loser wants to be considered an expert by others before he has learned enough to know how little he knows." -Sydney Harris

4 - Look for and plan your teachable moments.
"Empty the coins of your purse into your mind and your mind will fill your purse with coins" -Benjamin Franklin

5 - Make your teachable moments count.
"Live to learn and you will really learn to live."

3. Passion

"Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must first set yourself on fire." -Reggie Leach

Points On Passion:

1 - Beware of firefighters.

When it comes to passion, there are two kinds of people: fire lighters and fire fighters. You need to stay away from fire fighters. These are the kind of people that focus on what's wrong with an idea rather than what's right. They are those with a doubting spirit that work behind the scenes to cause dissension. Fire fighters hate change and love the words "yes, but". If you're not careful, fire fighters will keep you from going to the top - no matter how much potential you may possess!

2 - Prioritize your life according to your passion.

"There are many things that will catch my eye, but there are only a few that catch my heart...it is those I consider to pursue." -Tim Redmond

3 - Passion is the first step to achievement

"Find your passion and follow it. That is all the career advice you will ever need. The first thing is to love your sport. Never do it to please someone else. It has to be yours." -Peggy Flemming

"If you love what you do, you will never work another day in your life." -Confucius

4 - Passion is the fuel for vision.

"Vision does not ignite growth, passion does. Passion fuels vision, and vision is the focus of the power of passion. Leaders who are passionate about their call create vision." -Ken Hemphill

Have you ever noticed the difference passion makes? How many passive successes have you met? How many high achievers lack enthusiasm? How many great leaders have there been who were indifferent? Passion opens the doors for achievement. You see, when you're passionate about what you're doing, commitment naturally follows. You don't have to try to produce perseverance - it sweeps over you like an ocean wave.

Passion turns your "have tos" into "want tos". It creates a fire of motivation that never goes out. People with passion enjoy the climb as much as they enjoy reaching the summit. If you have passion, you'll never need a jump-start. In fact, you never have to push yourself to start. If anything, you must force yourself to stop! Passion will keep you going when the chips are down, the odds are high, the obstacles are many, and the resources are few.

2. Initiative

"To succeed, jump as quickly at opportunities as you do at conclusions." -Benjamin Franklin

"The world bestows its prizes, both its money an honors, on one thing and that's initiative. What is initiative? I will tell you. It is doing the right thing without being told. But next to doing the right thing without being told, is doing it when you have been told once...Those who can carry a message get high honors, but their pay is not always in proportion. Next, there are those who never do a thing until they are told twice. Such get no honors an small thanks. Next, there are those who do the right thing only when an executive kicks them from behind, and these get indifference instead of honors and a pittance for their pay. This kind spends most of his time polishing the bench with a hard luck story. Then, still lower down the scale than this, we have the dullard who will not do the right thing even when someone goes along to show him how and stays to see he does it. He is always out of a job and receives the contempt he deserves - unless he happens to have a rich Pa. In which case, destiny patiently awaits around the corner with an iron club. To which class do you belong?" - Elbert Hubbard

Here are some insights on initiative:

1 - Accept responsibility for your own life.

A lack of responsibility equals a lack of initiative.

"The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, make them." -George Benard Shaw

2 - Discover your dream and pursue it.

"American, in the eyes of the world, typifies above all else this quality of initiative. The great successes are nearly all the fruit of initiative." -B.C. Forbes

3 - Divide your dream into manageable parts.

Overwhelmed people seldom initiate. Here's how you break down big goals and grand projects. First divide it by categories. Then prioritize it by importance. After that, timeline it by sequence and assign it by abilities. Lastly, accomplish it by teamwork.

4 - Understand the downside of no initiative.

"Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle." -Abraham Lincoln

"Cause something to happen." -Bear Bryant

4. Courage

"Greatness, in the last analysis, is largely bravery. Courage is escaping from old ideas and old standards and 'respectable' ways of doing things." -James Harvey Robinson

Courage is an every day test. We often think of courage as a quality required only in times of great danger or stress. But courage is an everyday virtue, needed to live a life without regrets.

Why do we need courage?

1 - We need courage to seek the truth when we know it may be painful.

"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at its testing point." -C.S. Lewis

2 - We need courage to change when it's easier to remain comfortable.

Courage is often nothing more than the power to let go of the familiar

3 - We need courage to express our convictions when others challenge us.

"One man with courage is a majority" -Thomas Jefforson

4 - We need courage to overcome obstacles when progress will come no other way.

"It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult." -Seneca

5 - We need courage to learn and grow when it will display our weakness.

"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear." -Mark Twain

6 - We need courage to take the high road when others treat us badly.

"He who loses wealth loses much: he who loses friends loses more: but he who loses his courage loses all." -Miguel de Cervantes

7 - We need courage to lead when being in front makes us an easy target.

"There is an agonizing loneliness that characterizes the life of the pioneer." -Martin Luther King Jr.

One of the best authors on Leadership - John Maxwell

5. Encouragement

"Encouragement is the oxygen to the soul." -George M. Adams

In every relationship, remember the Elevator Principle: "You are either lifting your friends up or taking them down." This is true for you, as well as the friends that you keep.

Why do people need encouragement?

1 - Most people don't believe in themselves.

In life, it's not what you are that holds you back - it's what you think you're not.

"A great manager has a knack for making ballplayers think they are better than they think they are. He forces you to have a good opinion of yourself. He lets you know he believes in you. He makes you get more out of yourself. And once you learn how good you really are, you never settle for playing anything less than your very best." -Reggie Jackson

2 - Most people have few, if any people who believe in them

When nobody is there to cheer you on every day, you are likely to feel isolated and discouraged.

"Keep away from people who try to belittle you ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great." -Mark Twain

3 - Most people know when someone believe in them.

Most leaders spend time trying to get others to think highly of them, when instead they should try to get their people to think more highly of themselves. It's wonderful when the people believe in their leader. But it's more wonderful when the leader believes in his people!

"You can't hold a man down without staying down with him." -Booker T. Washington

4 - Most people will do anything within their power to embrace a leader's belief in them.

If others look up to you, then reach down and lift them up. It will change their lives!

"Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you." -William A. Ward

6. Attitude

"I may not be able to change the world I see around me, but I can change the way I see the world within me."

"Your attitude determines your action. Your action determines your accomplishments." -John Maxwell

"We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails."

"A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the blocks others have thrown at him." -David Brinkley

"If things go wrong, don't go with them." Roger Babson

7. Character

"People who stand for nothing will believe in nothing, fight for nothing, fall for anything and eventually fall for something that amounts to nothing." -Stephen Arterburn

"Nothing is more pathetic than having a small character in a big assignment. Many of us don't want to give attention to our character. We just want the big assignment from God. God develops our character to match our assignment." -Henry T. Blackaby

"Always tell the truth and you never have to remember what you said." -T.L. Osborne

Where True Values Come From

9. Self-Discipline

"There's the temporary sting of discipline or the eternal pain of regret"

"An ounce of discipline early on outweighs a ton of punishment later"


8. Values

"Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make a man a more clever devil." -C.S. Lewis

"It is not our affluence, or our plumbing, or our clogged freeways that grip the imagination of others. Rather, it is the values upon which our system is built. These values imply our adherence not only to liberty and individual freedom, but also to international peace, law and order, and constructive social purpose. When we depart from these value, we do so at our peril." -J. William Fullbright

"If we keep treating our most important values as meaningless relics, that's exactly what they'll become." -Michael Josephson

10. Commitment

"Ordinary people with commitment can make an extraordinary impact on their world." -John Maxwell

"If there's one thing I'm good at, it's showing up!" -Matt Wagner

"The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issue from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would come his way." -William Murray

Commitment is usually discovered in the midst of adversity. What are you going to do? Are you going to stand by the decisions you've made? Are you going to change your mind when your emotions fail you? Just how much weight do you place behind your choices?

"The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender." -Vince Lombardi

Commitment doesn't depend on gifts or abilities. It comes as the result of choice, not conditions. Think of the humble salmon. As long as the current is slow, the river is deep and there are no bears in sight - it's commitment to return to its place of birth isn't tested. But when the waters rage, the predators line up and it's belly is dragging on the ground - this is when emotions fades and commitment kicks in!

"Most people look back over the years and identify a time and place at which their lives changed significantly. Whether by accident or design, these are the moments when, because of a readiness within us, we are forced to seriously reappraise ourselves and the conditions under which we live and to make certain choices that will affect the rest of our lives." -Frederic F. Flach

Commitment lasts when it rests on values. Anytime you make choices based on solid life values, then you are in a better position to sustain your level of commitment. How do you define commitment? Let me tell you how Hernan Cortes defined it:

When his exploration of Mexico was about to be cut short by discontented and uncommitted soldiers who wanted to return home - Cortes demonstrated the extent of his commitment to his mission. He set his ships on fire! No going back, no more hesitation - we have only one thing left to do! That's commitment!

How dedicated are you to your choices? Do you reserve a way out for yourself, just in case things didn't go according to plan? If so, then you may only be half-hearted in your commitment. It may be time to burn some ships in your life!

T.D. Jakes On Commitment

11. Responsibility

"The price of greatness is responsibility." -Winston Churchill

"You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today." -Abraham Lincoln

Listen to me...the only person that is accountable for your life is you! The world is full of winners from harsh beginnings and losers from easy childhoods. Don't blame your economic status, your race, your sex, your parents, your schools, or your friends for your problems!

If you want to come out on top, then take responsibility and work for it! Do you want to be a nobody? Then sit back and do the bare minimum to survive! But if you insist on doing nothing and blaming everything for your problems - you will never amount to anything. Indeed, the only good things that come from the millions of people who refused the responsibility for their own lives is the occasional child that rejects the road that their parents took...

12. Servanthood

Servanthood isn't about the lack of talent or skill. Servanthood isn't about being more or less important. Servanthood is all about being willing to help someone else get what they want. This is what it means to be a leader.

True Servant Leaders:

1 - Put others ahead of their own agenda

2 - Posses the confidence to serve

3 - Initiate service to others

4 - Aren't position conscious

5 - Serves out of love.

Did you know that this is what truly defines a leader? Don't believe me? Just look at the biggest example of servant leadership - Jesus Himself!

"For the Son of Man didn't come to be served, but to serve - and to give His life as a ransom for all." - Jesus

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