Skills vs. Talents
My First Palm Reading
The lines on my hands always intrigued me. My maternal Aunty, who is my Mom’s cousin, offered to read my hands for me one day. She picked up this skill from her Dad. He is known to foreshadow some of the most harrowing family future events. Then, he suddenly stopped reading hands. He foreshadowed Mamu’s (my Mom’s brother) divorce just by looking at his hands. Unfortunately, Mamu divorced in the same year of having his hands read. No one knows if that was a coincidence or a push that Mamu needed to finally get a divorce or perhaps a real prediction. All I know is that this stopped the reading of hands and after this incident, all my Mom’s Uncle ever did was just look at a person’s hand lines and then stay silent. This created a great deal of urgency to know what prediction was brooding in his mind. Does he know something that might happen? Something good? Something bad? Why can’t he just tell me?
The Great Revelation
Aunty saw how aggravated I was and offered to read my hands. I placed out my hands for her, eager to know what was in store. She carefully examined each nook and cranny and traced the lines with her eyes. Aunty finally gave me her verdict after a good never-ending seven minutes. “Sana, you have very interesting hands. I see a great many things in store for you.” My heart jumped for joy and awaited her predictions. “Let me tell you. Your lines are very intertwined with one another. Whatever happens in the future. Whatever accomplishments you attain. How you get there will not be because of your talents or your good luck. It will all be because of your hard work. You will have to work very hard for every single thing in your life. You are not a happy go lucky kind of person. So, just work hard and you will get there”. My eight-year-old self was deeply disappointed. I kept asking if she saw anything else but she declined to answer. Aunty had blown up a balloon of wonder, anticipation, and excitement. Instead of tying it up in a nice little knot, she let it go. The balloon of wonder thwarted in the air going willy nilly into oblivion while making rude sounds of flatulence and finally coming to its demise. Insert various fart sounds here.
Lessons I Learned
Looking back on it now, I realize my Aunty had given a very generic one size fits all prediction. However, I internalized the message and it really paved the way for how I viewed certain things in life. It was my first foray into skills vs. talents. Whenever I happened to meet someone with an impressive caliber, I attributed it to them having “God-given talents” or “naturally talented”. It was a wall I conveniently made between myself and the person as if I could never reach the status of that person I had placed upon a pedestal. On the other side, I continued to work hard because I knew goodness would not come to me by way of sheer luck. Surprisingly, it wasn’t until I self-taught myself how to cook from scratch that I came to realize I can learn skills. This notion was further solidified when I joined Seth Godin’s “The Creative’s Workshop” where creatives from all walks of life came together to commit to and practice their creative art for 100 plus days. Drip by drip, I realized I can hone my skill of writing. I don’t need to be talented. The only talent I need is to be curious and be willing to show up for myself. Everything else is a skill that I can choose to learn.
How About You?
How do you view people you admire? Whatever you admire about them, do you attribute it to her being innately talented or highly skilled? If you think of it as a skill rather than a talent, does it open up doors for you to learn it? What will you learn next? Let me know in the comments.
photo credit: Boyce Duprey <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/9229426@N05/32646574467″>Be Positive. It’s not too late.</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/“>(license)</a>