Zhang Sanjian is back 2022-07-23 03:00 Posted on Hunan

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Talent refers to a person’s innate ability to excel in a certain area, surpassing the norm. It is a special gift from heaven, a precious present bestowed upon us. Everyone wishes to possess this gift, to have a one-in-a-million, outstanding talent.

Our parents often project the expectation of possessing talent onto their children. For example, they might say, ‘My child has a talent for academics and consistently ranks at the top of their class,’ or ‘My child has a talent for sports, running swiftly and triumphing in competitions,’ or ‘My child is gifted in social interactions, speaking eloquently and often representing the school in speech contests,’ or ‘My child has a talent for drawing, creating lifelike artworks and achieving success in art competitions.’

In general, those with talent have a higher chance of success in life’s endeavors. But there are also those who feel pessimistic about not possessing any notable talents. In my view, everyone has their unique talents to varying degrees. Even being able to sleep anywhere, anytime is a talent, considering many people struggle with insomnia. Confucius said, ‘Among any three people walking, I will find something to learn from.’ Everyone has something that we can learn from. Talent doesn’t always jump out and announce itself; it is often like a shy, introverted child hiding in a corner of your heart.

Talent doesn’t just appear out of nowhere, nor is it easy to recognize and acknowledge. Take a child with a talent for painting who becomes a world-famous artist. People would say they indeed have a gift. But what if the same child doesn’t become a famous artist and pursues a different career, leading an ordinary life? Did they waste their talent, or did they simply not have enough of it?

You might ask me, ‘What is Sanjian’s talent?’ I honestly couldn’t tell you. People often measure one’s talent based on their success in a particular field. So here, I want to discuss how to find and seize your own talent.

I believe a closely related term to ‘talent’ is ‘passion.’ If you love something, you’ll have the motivation to overcome obstacles for it. I can’t imagine that your talent is not something you’re passionate about. As I’ve said before, love is the driving force of everything. Can you imagine Beethoven not loving music and piano? Can you imagine Van Gogh not loving painting? Can you imagine Einstein not enjoying physics? I naively believe that talent shows when you love something enough. Imagine if your talent were not in a direction you loved; what a sad story that would be.

Another possibility is that you are unaware of or don’t acknowledge your own talent. You need a guide to help you find it. As the saying goes, ‘Good horses are common, but Bole [a legendary horse-tamer] is rare.’ You need a perceptive mentor to support and guide you.

Usually, the task of helping us find our talents falls to our parents. The education we receive during our childhood and adolescence is crucial. Parents should give their children more freedom to choose rather than forcing them to learn something they are not interested in. It’s hard to find ways to showcase a child’s talents this way. It’s more about observing what the child likes, what interests them, and what they are willing to spend time on. Even if you don’t have much talent in that area, the willingness to spend time on it is already half the battle.

Next, this responsibility often shifts to teachers, whose role in education is to broaden the paths for young people. We’ve heard many stories about this sacred profession. Teachers are like guides who lead us through dark caves with lanterns. So, seeking that burning passion is the first step in finding your talent.

The 10,000-Hour Rule is a concept introduced by writer Malcolm Gladwell in his book ‘Outliers.’ ‘The reason that genius appears exceptional isn’t because of innate talent, but because of continuous effort. Ten thousand hours of practice is a necessary condition for anyone to transform from ordinary to world-class mastery,’ he called this the ‘10,000-Hour Rule.’ To become an expert in a field requires 10,000 hours (or about 1.1415525 years). If you work eight hours a day, five days a week, it takes at least five years to become an expert in a field.

The most talented sprinter in the world wouldn’t be able to win an Olympic gold medal without daily, rigorous training. Just like a flower won’t bloom without being watered. Nurture your talent with sweat, and it will surely blossom.

When we find our talent, it’s important to cherish it. Some might argue, ‘I’ve spent 10,000 hours and put in 99% effort, why don’t I see my talent, or why haven’t I succeeded?’ Well, 10,000 hours is just a base. More important are learning, thinking, and improving. Effort doesn’t guarantee success, but it gives you a chance at success. Without effort, failure is certain. If you’re just complaining about not reaching your goals after 10,000 hours, then go back to the first question: do you love it? If I could spend 10,000 hours doing something I love, I think I’d be happier, and I’d find ways to do it even better. Like my current commitment to writing. I don’t mean to become a writer or novelist, but writing gives me comfort, helps me understand the meaning of life and living. When I express emotions and thoughts through words, I experience a wonderful feeling and sense of achievement. Here, I hope everyone can find a corner in your work that you love and feel comfortable with.

Have you ever read Wang Anshi’s ‘Lament over the Oblivion of Zhong Yong’? A child prodigy becomes an ordinary person. We often hear stories of child geniuses admitted to top universities like Tsinghua and Peking University at a young age, but we rarely see the miracles continue. Wasting talent is regrettable and disheartening, which is why people often measure talent by success. Talent requires relentless pursuit.

“Finding one’s talent is essentially about finding one’s passion and persevering in it until it flourishes.

Finally, I want to discuss with you all, what will you do with your talents? Just like how writing this article might inspire the talents in readers, which would be a great deed. I hope that while I reflect, I also lead everyone to think along, considering it a form of relaxation. Take, for example, Olympic athletes who bring glory to their country, or violinists who deliver an unparalleled concert experience, just as I am now writing while listening to Beethoven’s piano compositions.

Ancient and modern sages have used their talents to change our living environment and enrich us with art. Similarly, in modern times, we strive for the welfare of future generations, using our talents to give back to society and our nation.

Here, I’m reminded of a saying, ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’ The more prominent one’s talent, the greater the burden they bear. As we often say, ‘Heaven envies the talented.’ Extraordinary talent brings with it immense expectations and astonishing creations might emerge from unimaginable hardships. Remember, when Heaven bestows upon you such a significant gift, you must be able to receive and bear its weight. I hope all those blessed with exceptional talents can withstand the weight of life, using their abilities and gifts to contribute to our country and society, igniting our youth, and realizing the value of our lives.

(Source of images: Internet)


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