s already explained, the world operates on the principle of seeds. All around us, there are seeds that we can use in order to gain the fruits that we are always looking for. The world works in such a way that we have to use raw materials that are available around us to produce. The produce that we get is supposed to not only sustain us, but also impact and influence others.
From A Speech to A University
You have probably read the book, "Acres of Diamonds" by Russ Conwell. He tells of a story of someone who sold his land and traversed the globe looking for diamonds. Whoever bought the piece of land found diamonds lying on the surface. Russel started delivering that talk over and over again. From that seed of that concept of Acres of Diamonds, he built Temple University. Perhaps no story espouses the message of seeds as the story of Temple University.
Producers or Consumers?
Over the past several articles, we have talked about the critical importance of changing our mentality about the seeds around us. Much as we are looking for fruits, life solves our biggest itch by not providing the fruit, but by providing the seeds. Life provides a tapestry of tools, environments, connections and everything that is needed in order that the seeds would flourish. For some reason, life looks at us not as consumers first, but as producers who consume only after producing. Isn't that interesting?
The Types of Seeds
I dare say that if we approached life from a producer mentality, we will recognize the abundance of options that we have around us. However, for as long as we look at life from the angle of what can we eat from it immediately, we tend to overlook our "Acres of Diamonds", lying on the surface all along.
Over the past several articles we have talked about the following types of seeds that exist in our environments:
4. Your Gifts and Talents
Perhaps the most overlooked "Acres of Diamonds" in the world today is people's gifts and talents. I have been there before. I knew that I could write and work with words when I was in Primary School. What did I do with that gift or talent? I put it on the back burner, perhaps with the inherent knowledge that had been hammered into me that I must "finish" school. School can be a great disservice if all it does is stifle someones gifts or talents or fails to recognize them or even cultivate them. I am here to submit that our gifts and talents ought to be the raw materials that school uses to build us and educate us.
Schools are Seeds Too
Well, it seems like we are more interested in the completion of the curriculum, covering "subjects" and all. Do not get me wrong. I will not be one of those people that shout about the atrocities of school while at the same time using the knowledge and tools that school provided me with. My point is simple and straightforward. School itself is a seed. The problem is that we are treating school and it's by product as if it is a fruit.
- That is why we think our academic papers mean the world.
- That is why we think that schooling is a burden.
- That is why we burn our academic books after school.
- That is why we do not pick up a book to learn anything especially because no one is setting an examination out of it.
The Power of Gifts and Talents as Seeds
Did you know that there is a very large percentage of people that do not know that they are gifted? Did you know that a natural or spiritual gift or talent is the primary indicator that you are a person of purpose? Let me illustrate. If I wanted you to be an excellent communicator, I would probably gift you with the garb of the speech. I will make you an Obama or an Martin Luther King Jnr or a John F Kennedy or a Thomas Mboya. If I wanted you to be a musician, I would give you the gift of music. It goes without saying.
Passion vs Gifts and Talents
That gifts and talents are seeds is something that I am totally convinced about. I am not talking about things we like or are "passionate" about. For example, I am passionate about singing but can I sing like Donnie McClurckin? Condoleeza Rice realized that she was passionate about music because her parents were musicians. However, it was not her gift. Pitted against other kids, she realized that what she toiled to do was pathetic in the wake of what other kids did naturally.
Four Misconceptions about Gifts and Talents
- The first misconception about gifts and talents is that they are what we are passionate about. Nothing can be further from the truth. Passion is there but it is as a result of ability. Gifts and talents are a function of capacity, ability and natural inclination.
- The second misconception about gifts and talents is that they are for the selected few such as Lebron James and George Weah. I am willing to be that everyone has a gift or a talent.
- The third misconception about gifts and talents is that they are only a reserve of particular fields. These are academics, sports, and arts. Well, nothing can be further from the truth. There are myriads of fields of talents that I do not have time to go into right now.
- The last (surely not the very last) misconception about gifts and talents is that they were not meant to be the central themes of our pursuit of purpose and success. The misconception is that we should pursue academics first and then gifts and talents later
Where We Miss it
For as long as you have any of these misconceptions, you will fail to see that gifts and talent are seeds to your greatness. Today, the bulk of my time is spent working with words. I read, I write, I speak. I communicate. That is what I am naturally gifted with. Never mind that I have a Higher Diploma in Management Information Systems...and I learnt how to program using Visusal Basic For Applications...that just increased my head knowledge and my capacity to think. My seeds though are in crafting words. Working with words. Inspiration. Motivation. Intrigue. Solutions. Education.
What gifts do you reckon you have been bequeathed with?