Talent. What is the first thing you think of when you hear this word? Skill? Physical ability? A well-developed trait? Can one be born with raw talent or is it only something that we acquire from practice? According to the Oxford dictionary, talent is a natural aptitude or skill. The Oxford English Dictionary approaches this word as something that innately comes to a person, a natural ability to do something. But does talent wholly stem from one’s unique and inborn abilities? Albert Einstein tends to disagree.
Albert Einstein once said, “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” This quote shares a sibling relationship with another like it. Einstein said, “I am quite certain that I myself have no special talent; curiosity, obsession, and dogged endurance, combined with self-criticism, have brought me to my ideas.” We can now evaluate and analyze the first quote on a deeper level because of our new insight into Einstein’s worldview. He believes that we don’t have any “special talents”. This may sound degrading, but it’s leading to the point that our acquired abilities originated from curiosity. One of the smartest men in all of history greatly credits his ideas to his inquisitiveness towards the vast expanse of knowledge that this universe has to offer. Along with working diligently and learning from his previous mistakes, Albert’s curiosity brought new and revolutionary ideas into the world.
Curiosity conducts a train of knowledge and success, but does it work alone? Bill Gates says: “If you give people tools, and they use their natural abilities and their curiosity, they will develop things in ways that will surprise you very much beyond what you might have expected.” For example, Walt Disney climbed the ladder of success after founding the exceedingly creative Walt Disney Studios, a company now worth 250 billion dollars. He said “The secret of making dreams come true can be summarized in 4 C’s. They are curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy; and the greatest of these if confidence.” Einstein, Gates, and Disney share the view that revolutionary ideas arise from curiosity.
To see the bigger picture, we can look at the different factors in their quotes that aid in innovation and success. “…obsession, and dogged endurance, combined with self-criticism, have brought me to my ideas,” “…confidence, courage, and constancy; and the greatest of these is confidence,” and “If you give people tools, and they use their natural abilities…” These excerpts bring to light the other important keys to success, which can be summarized as passion, endurance, self-criticism, confidence, courage, constancy, tools, and natural abilities. Along with the punch that keeps us learning, these qualities pave the path to ideas that can change the world.
The topic of talent now reoccurs. Bill Gates mentions that there is such a thing as natural talent, inferring that talent does not entirely root from curiosity. Remember Oxford’s definition! Talent is a natural aptitude or skill.“I have no special talent, I am only passionately curious.” Neither of these positions is entirely wrong. There is a lot of truth in both of them. Curiosity is very important and we should always be striving to learn, otherwise, we’d get nowhere in life. Talent gives a lot of credit to curiosity but there is truth in natural aptitudes and skills. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. The skills we thrive in help us succeed if we continue to be curious and learn more. The keys to success are in your hands and head. Use your talent and tools wisely! Be persistent, be passionate, and don’t forget to be curious! “The most successful people in life are the ones who ask questions. They’re always learning. They’re always growing. They’re always pushing.” -Robert Kiyosaki.