Talent vs. Skill

Posted on February 9, 2017 by

Quick question for you: Are you talented? Or do you have skills? THAT is the question of the day.

And before you answer that, let me define what they each mean, because it’s vitally important to know the difference between the two. :)

Then after we define the difference, we’re going to help you leverage one in order to maximize the other so that you’ll be able to get whatever you want with minimal effort.  Sound good? Let’s get started…

What is TALENT? Simply put, it’s what you’re born with. Your God-given gifts. Your natural tools. For example, the ability to run really fast or sing extremely well. Other examples would include being mathematically-inclined, naturally charismatic, graceful & coordinated, or naturally artistic. 

SKILL, on the other hand, is something that you can LEARN or acquire. Anyone can learn math or English. Anyone can learn how to dance, use a computer, give a speech, or make a presentation.

So this begs the next question: Which one is more important – talent or skill?

The answer is: Neither – They’re BOTH important!

Let’s look at it this way… You could have all the talent in the world at something, but have NO skill or training in it. For example, you could be a natural Mozart but have never taken a music lesson because your parents wanted you to be an accountant. Or maybe you have a natural gift for writing, but the environment, family, or culture you grew up in emphasized something like sports or music instead.

On the other hand, you could have little to no natural talent in something, but be highly trained (skilled) and educated in it. An example of this could include boxing, music theory, or accounting. Show me a great boxing trainer, and I’ll show you a frustrated boxer inside. Scratch the surface of any record company executive, and you’ll find a closet performer. Read that again if you don’t understand.

I believe that real problems can occur when people who have natural gifts and talents in something are either never properly recognized for these talents or are not sufficiently encouraged to develop them. Most people are led to believe that happiness lies in another, often unrelated area, and they get too much education and pursue career paths in those other areas for which they have very little to no talent, let alone interest. 

In other words: When people develop skills for things they have little to no talent for or interest in, and they base their career path on it, it can be a challenging and often unrewarding road for them to travel. That’s why Thoreau famously stated that “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” But it beats being a bum.

Let’s not confuse talent with desire. Many people desire to have talent, but have to settle for acquiring skills instead. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, just as long as we’re honest with ourselves. For example, I wish I could sing like Andrea Bocelli or Marc Anthony, but I can only sing well. And while they can sell out stadiums, I’d be lucky to have someone shut up long enough to listen to me sing one lousy song!  But it’s ok and I accept that, because it doesn’t take away from the joy I get by singing.

It’s never too late to recognize and accept our talents. In fact, sometimes it’s even better to recognize these things later on in life, when we have the maturity and wisdom to understand them better. The main thing, though, is to be able to recognize what our own individual talents are, and accept them. I’ve seen a lot of people fight against themselves and deny their own talents, and that only leads to more frustration.

New, hidden talents can be discovered, just as existing skills can be upgraded. Simply by trying something new, you might accidentally discover that you’ve had a latent, unknown talent for something. How cool is that? It will be your choice on what to do with it. And if you’ve already acquired skills, guess what? There’s always new ideas or approaches to take with them. For example, if you’ve mastered Jiu-Jitsu, you can learn Judo! Or – if you’re a good negotiator of buying all-cash deals, you might want to learn how to negotiate a Terms deal!

The Ideal Combination we all crave is when TALENT, SKILL, AND DESIRE all are combined together and then recognized, nurtured, and happily utilized for good.

No matter what, there are some skills you simply MUST have.  If you are going to have any success in the business world (especially real estate investing), there’s a few skills you pretty much HAVE TO acquire and master.
These essential skills include Communication, Negotiation, and Sales.  Good luck trying to survive out there without ‘em! Your lunch will get eaten on a daily basis by others who have superior skills in those areas.

But don’t worry, because remember – YOU CAN LEARN A SKILL. How hard it is for you to learn and master that skill comes right back to (yep, you guessed it!) TALENT and DESIRE (and maybe a little experience sprinkled in). Generally, the more talent you have at something, the easier the skill is to learn. Makes sense, right?

And there we have it! You now know the difference between having natural talent and learning a skill. If you are to survive and thrive in the business world, you’re going to need to have the desire to understand and apply your God-given talents to learn and master the right skills. Then just go out there and apply them as needed.  When you do that, you’ll be unstoppable!

So let me rephrase the original question I asked you at the beginning of this article: “What TALENTS do you have, and what SKILLS do you desire to acquire?” Now THERE’S a question for you! What’s your answer?

Until Next Time,
Tony Pearl

Tony PearlTony Pearl is an entrepreneur, copywriter, proud father, mentor, marketing consultant and talented teacher who resides in the Washington, DC area. He has traveled to over 26 countries, speaks 4 languages, and continues to travel extensively. He has been a professional Ballroom and Latin dance instructor, competitor, and exhibitor for over 19 years. As a Real Estate Investor, Tony has bought and sold over Ten Million dollars worth of real estate, and has been educated by and associates with the best.

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