I recently read an article about a particular college in which the author highlighted everything the school was doing wrong and the one thing that it could be doing right. In a nutshell, the author of the article gave the advice, “Be the Apple of colleges.” What does this mean? He went on to explain that Apple became the giant it is by finding something that it could do better than anyone else – that was the iPod. Taking the MP3 player to a level never before imagined, Apple won over buyers looking for something new, something better, and then held onto those buyers and increased their number exponentially by continuing to improve the iPod. Those advances led to the iPhone (don’t believe everything you read or hear today – experts are saying that the drop in sales have less to do with Apple and more to do with people’s satisfaction with their existing phones). The iPhone led to the iPad, and others have been copying those products and trying to outdo them from day one. Even if you aren’t an Apple fan, you must see the logic in the author’s advice. Simply said, discover what you do well, and show it to the world.
In a previous blog, I talked about happiness and the studies that show that happier people are healthier, live longer, and get more out of life. A sure way to be happy is to figure out what you’re good at, and show it to the world. Everyone is born with a gift. The key is discovering what that gift is. Some people are born writers, others are born musicians, some are born actors. But those are truly only a small part of the world’s population. Does that mean that only those in Hollywood, those on the NYT bestseller list, or those filling stadiums to capacity every night are the only ones with talent? Of course not! I repeat, everyone is born with a gift.
My best friend is a quiet, introspective soul. She doesn’t share much about her personal life with anyone, including me. She keeps it to herself and doesn’t complain whether she’s home alone on a Friday night or tackling a major project or life-changing event. But she will sit and listen for hours. And I mean listen. She actually hears, absorbs, ponders, and then offers advice or encouragement. To me, that is truly a gift. The world could use a lot more people like her.
My mother is the most selfless person I’ve ever known. She is organized, a good problem solver, and a true leader. Every organization she has ever belonged to has, at some point, elevated her to its head. Not everyone has the skill to be a real leader who has the ability to make changes and touch people in an unforgettable way. That is a real talent. Current political candidates in both parties could learn a lot from Mom (and yes, she has worked as a political advisor as well).
Whether you’re skilled at a sport, an art, an educational subject, you have a talent that you have the ability, and the choice, to offer to the world. Do you sew? Kudos to all of those moms and Girl Scout Leaders. Can you do calligraphy? Few people can these days. Do you have a great speaking voice? Can you knit? Are you a good tutor? I could go on and on. There are even tests and books that help you find your hidden talent. Whoever came up with those must have a talent for discovering talent.
Whatever it is that you do, do it well. Never lose sight of it. Pursue it with passion. My Rebecca is a gifted leader, Katie is a phenomenal photographer, and Morgan is a beautiful swimmer (both Katie and Morgan’s talents are displayed above). Are any of them ever going to win Nobel prizes or Olympic medals? The chances are slim to none, but that shouldn’t inhibit the sharing of their talents with the world. St. Paul tells us that “each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that” (1 Corinthians 7:7). We all have a talent. And God wants us to do just what Apple did – find the talent, be the best you can be at that talent, and show it to the world.
Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her latest book, Picture Me, is the recipient of an Illumination Award, placing it among the top three eBooks of 2015. Her next book, Whispering Vines, is now available for pre-order.
You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschisler and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com.
Crabbing With Granddad (2013)
A Place to Call Home (2014)
Picture Me (2015)