The Talent Tragedy

The Talent Tragedy

It’s a shame – no, it’s worse than that – it’s a tragedy.  I know so many people who are willing to endure thirty or forty years in a stultifying career just to get to the point where they can retire and do something that really engages them.

Now, to be clear, I’m not taking about post-career hobbies; they’re the activities we love to do.  Golf, tennis, travel.  I’m talking about a career without the expression of our talent – that magical intersection of what we love to do AND do best.

We all are endowed with talent, but sadly, many – maybe even most of us – never discover it or center our career on it.  Instead, we either turn work into a four-letter word – a hateful experience – or we acquire some expertise in one field or another that we can tolerate or even like and think that is the best we can achieve.

When you work with your talent, in contrast, you have access to genuine happiness.  You may be frustrated or tired out from time-to-time, but you also feel stretched to your limit in a worthwhile endeavor that brings out the best in you.  The result is an endorphin-like euphoria that is one of the essential elements of self-actualization.

Life can go on without experiencing such a state, of course, but it is so much less than it could or should be.  We can earn enough to care for our family, we can rise through the ranks and achieve great seniority, we can be asked to speak at conferences and be quoted in professional journals, but we won’t be deeply, entrancingly happy.

So, before you dive into that pile on your desk this morning, before the phone calls and emails start, ask yourself this: are you working at your talent or are you enduring a tragedy?

Thanks for reading,
Peter