What is Talent?

Steve Williamson, VP Digital Marketing and Content Creation, eRep, Inc.
Monday, November 28, 2022
What is Talent?

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Are you talented? What separates talent from ability? Can talent be learned or is it something you're born with? How do you find out where your talents lie?

Are you talented?

What is talent? When you look up the word in the dictionary, the very first word of the definition is a big clue: "natural aptitude or skill."

Talent is natural. It is something you have naturally, which implies that it is not something you can obtain. Talent is likely something that can be developed, however.

Talent is something you're good at, or at the very least something you have the likelihood of being good at should you choose to develop that skill.

The definition mentions both aptitude and skill, and there are some noteworthy differences.

Aptitude is a natural ability to do something. It's not something you can obtain if you don't already have it.

What separates talent from ability?

A skill is something you can learn. You might have a natural aptitude for a particular skill, which gives you an advantage in your effort to learn it. If you don't have a natural aptitude for that skill, you can still learn it but will have a longer or more difficult time obtaining that skill.

It is important to remember that your natural talents don't just help you toward developing or learning certain skills, they may actually be contradictory to some skills, thus making them harder to learn. Here's an example.

Let's say you have a natural talent for discerning hidden meaning and nuance in body language and other communication cues when interacting with others. This is a very useful talent to have if you work in sales, but might actually get in the way if you are a circuit court judge. Why? You run the risk of letting your intuition about plaintiffs and defendants obscure your objectivity and ability to focus on the facts of the case.

Can talent be learned?

Not really, but you can discover a talent within yourself that you never knew was there. This can sometimes feel as if you learned that new talent, but in reality you found it rather than fostered it.

Is it possible for you to learn a skill or develop an aptitude for something that you know is not within you from birth? Can hard work and dedication enable you to obtain a skill, even to the point of calling it a talent?

This is debatable, as some people can become quite adept at certain skills through rigorous long-term training. However, this is a far cry from someone who is naturally talented at that skill and reached that same level of ability with much less work and effort.

The dichotomy between ability and talent lies in the effort required to reach it. It's not what you can do, it's the amount of effort required to get there that counts.

How do you find out where your talents lie? Can talent be measured?

Talent cannot directly be measured, but it can be identified and it can be observed.

There really is no yard stick that says, "If you can perform X activity in Y seconds, you are talented." In many ways, talent is a bit like art: you know it when you see it in yourself and in others.

There is somewhat of an exception regarding the measurement or empirical identification of talent, however. There is a way to learn what your emotional hardwiring is and by extension learn how it can affect the kind of career and hobbies and even relationships that will suit you.

By taking the Core Values Index psychometric assessment, you can discover how much of four key personality types, or core values, exist within you. Everyone has a particular ratio of these core values within them, and it is their ratio of core values coupled with their life experiences that makes each of us unique.

The CVI does not measure aptitude, though. You can't take the CVI and read your report to discover you're a budding classical violinist waiting for the symphony director to call. What the CVI does tell you, however, is how your brain is hardwired. Are you creative or analytical? Would you be happiest working independently, or would you shine motivating others to pull together toward a common goal?

In essence, the CVI tells you the kind of activities and pursuits that will make you happiest and which ones won't. Through that insight you can discover the best skills and aptitudes to pursue.

In this way, the CVI reveals your potential. Is that the same as talent? It might be. All you need to do is take the CVI to find out.

Core Values Index™ and CVI™ are trademarks of Taylor Protocols, Inc.

Go to eRep.com/core-values-index/ to learn more about the CVI or to take the Core Values Index assessment.

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Steve Williamson

Steve Williamson

Innovator/Banker - VP Digital Marketing and Content Creation, eRep, Inc.

Steve has a career in project management, software development and technical team leadership spanning three decades. He is the author of a series of fantasy novels called The Taesian Chronicles (ruckerworks.com), and when he isn't writing, he enjoys cycling, old-school table-top role-playing games, and buzzing around the virtual skies in his home-built flight simulator.

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