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On Talents

I have never had a career as such – not the sort that gives you stability and a steady climb to a comfortable retirement; but I have used my talents and I’m still using them and the experiences that both developed them and developed from them, still growing them; and that is better.
Talents must be used. They must also be grown. Their growing never really ends until we ourselves ‘end’. After that is another state of being, in real time, not this transitional one, when all that we become now becomes more in what we will truly be.
Too often the talents shown in childhood become lost in the process of ‘growing up’. The child who painted with remarkable imagination turns into a successful replica of what is expected or perhaps chooses things of the moment, never succeeding at anything and leaves the gift behind, a loss that never returns. The inventive youngster whose curiosity was never encouraged, grows up bound in submission to the Concept of Can’t.
Does success (as the world deems success) really matter? It does not. Give me an Audrey Hepburn over all the Kardashians together any time! Let success be that which makes us more real, more unique, more creative and just more – more that is good and true, not more that is merely acceptable in our so very limited social orders. Which memories stick with us long after the accolades given for performance are gone? Some will be wonderful, some inspiring, some will be bittersweet, and some will be heart-breaking but they will all be real. As we must be real.
Our world is Orwellian. We are told what to think and what to say and are given endless instruction on every aspect of our lives by people who do not even know us. This happens whether we bow to the pressures of society or street gangs, or politics, media or militias. Et cetera. Yet those that endure, those who are remembered beyond their particular time and space are not built on a marketing strategy or extruded from some boring, repetitive mould nor promoted by the movers and shakers of their time, but are products of their own uniqueness and their belief in something greater than themselves, something beyond mere want, something of worth. And some may be evil, true, but we can choose good over evil – a good which lasts forever while evil fades and dies in time, becoming little more than a tattered, muddy banner fallen in the wrong path.
Let nothing – particularly ‘fashion’ – dictate the way we use our talents, our gifts. They were given to us to benefit the world. They are like a downpayment on our future – our real future. Do not squander them, binding others to narrow ways of seeing but encourage everyone to see their own uniqueness and wonder, releasing them from the bondage of commonality.
Why should anyone suffer humiliation and pain for the privilege of admission to a coterie of clowns? What club, or gang, is worth that abasement? Make friends through giving and good friends will come to you. On January 26, 2016, most of us celebrated Australia Day in this country. The honours list was lengthy and filled with many high achievers, but the ones that will stay in my memory are the two young men named as ‘Young Australian of the Year’ – Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett. They have been helping the homeless since 2014 with a free laundry service, a world-first innovation that has grown into a much larger voluntary effort to become far more than simply washing clothes.
Talent is not just a skill. Talent is a gift with empathy. Talent takes strength of character.