Friday, April 5, 2013

No Substitute for Talent

   An aptitude is a component of a competency to do a certain kind of work at a certain level, which can also be considered "talent". Aptitudes may be physical or mental. Aptitude is not knowledge, understanding, learned or acquired abilities (skills) or attitude. The innate nature of aptitude is in contrast to achievement, which represents knowledge or ability that is gained.1

      Talent may be an innate natural aptitude in regard to a certain type of work; however, it is something which must be supported and sustained on a regular basis.  There are many people who can play various keys on a piano and many of the these people are even quite capable to playing various musical compositions, but not everyone can sit down and begin to compose music like Ludwig van Beethoven or Sergei Rachmaninoff.   These men had an innate ability which only improved with use.

    However, there are some people who believe that if they wear the proper clothing or know the right people then somehow their “talent” will be discovered, regardless of whether or not such talent actually exists.  This is quite evident on television shows such as “America’s Got Talent” or “Ukraine’s Got Talent”.  Some of the people who appear on these shows have innate talent which is acknowledged by professionals in a given field; however, there are other people who are living in a fantasy world where they believe that they possess a talent in singing, dancing, or some other area.  Many of these people are astonished when they are told that they do not possess such a talent and often become angry at the judges for saying that they do not have such a talent.  The truth can be a very painful thing to accept; however, there is no virtue in lying to someone and encouraging them to ‘work harder’ when this person does not possess the basis of any real talent.

   Ivan Andreyevich Krylov (1769-1844) was an extremely talented fabulist and he would have been able to see if others possessed talent also.  In “The Quartet” 2, Krylov addresses whether or not playing “musical chairs” actually increases talent.  In fact, it is quite possible that the concept of “playing musical chairs” originated in this fable.

   Simply sitting down at a desk with a pen and paper does not help to inspire the next Edgar Allan Poe in the same way that simply sitting down at a piano would not inspire the next Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  However, it would appear that Monkey, Donkey, Goat, and Bear have convinced themselves that they have some hidden talent that no one else can see.

     We often see this in government work also.  Many people are promoted or reassigned 
to new jobs not because of their talent, but because their supervisor wants to remove this person from his or her department and having this person transferred is easier than having this person removed from their job.  While it might not be easy, sometimes it is both necessary and charitable to say, as the nightingale said,

      “"For making music, you must have the knack

        And ears more musical than yours,"

        The nightingale comes back,

      "And you, my friends, no matter your positions,

        Will never be musicians!"

                                                     End Notes

2)    “Квартет/Quartet”   

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