You Must Use Your Talents Wisely

 Vijai P. Sharma, Ph.D

A story comes to my mind of a man in the l9th century who was caught for counterfeiting a twenty dollar bill. As he gave the twenty dollar bill to the cashier, she felt there was something sticky on her fingers which lead her to inform the police that the twenty dollar bill may not be genuine. 

The police caught the man in the very act of counterfeiting another twenty dollar bill in his attic, right in front of an easel. He counterfeited his twenty dollar bills, not through printing by machine but by painting it with a brush. The man was so talented in the art of painting that he could paint a bill so real that it was indistinguishable from the real currency. 

He had been counterfeiting in this way for some time. The reason he got caught that day was that he became impatient and didn't wait long enough to let the paint dry. 

In that attic, police also found three gorgeous paintings that he had painted. The man was a class artist. The proof of how talented an artist he was in lies in the fact that each of the three paintings fetched five hundred dollars. 

Five hundred dollars was a lot of money in those days. One might shrug one's shoulders and say, "Oh, well! The man was lazy. He wanted easy money. This is what he did for a fast buck." Hear this one. It took him the same amount of time in painting a twenty dollar bill as it took him to paint a five hundred dollar painting! The man had a talent, he worked hard, but he did not know how best to utilize his talent.

TALENT! Isn't it interesting that talent means an ability, a gift, and it also means money. Remember the parable of the talents. One can make as much money, as one cares to, by using one's talent appropriately, without waste or delay. It is imperative on us that we do use our talent and not just ignore it. 

Generally, people see their talent as something they can enjoy in their leisure time, as a hobby, or something with which they can entertain themselves and others. On the other hand, to make a living, they assume that one has to sweat and toil with dull and dreary tasks. 

A lady took up painting at the age of eighty-five. Did she think of painting for the first time? No! In her younger days, she did want to dabble with oil painting.  Friends and family discouraged her, "Oil paints are very expensive. You can't afford to have such an expensive hobby and you can never make a living off it. " 

She never thought of it again. She worked as a cashier or a secretary all her life supplementing family's income. At the age of 85 she finally bought the oil paints and picked up the brush to paint.. In one year, she made more money from selling her paintings than what she had earned in her entire working life. 

This is what can happen if one goes ahead with one's talent. This lady was told earlier that no one can make a living from painting. She worked hard to make a living all her life. She barely made a living by doing things that neither she was talented for, nor did she have her heart in them. Her heart was in painting. It took her so long to recognize her talent and then to have the courage to follow it.

The big breakthrough in the search of success comes when one recognizes one's talent. We look at other people and marvel at their success. We are impressed with their talent and their ability. We think they are different from us; that, somehow they belong to another species which we are not a member of. We look everywhere else outside, rather than looking inside ourselves and identifying the assets hiding within us. 

There may be acres of diamonds in our own backyard and we may be hunting for diamonds all over the desert. The irony of this misguided search is told in the story of "Acres of Diamond. " 

A well to do farmer in South Africa sold his farm and bought a piece of land in an area with legends galore of people striking diamond mines in the barren land and becoming rich overnight.. Alas! he did not find diamonds in this piece of land for which he had sold his entire property and moved to a strange and unknown territory. 

The tale of his misfortune is contrasted with the fortunes of the man who bought this unfortunate farmer's land. The new owner hired a geological engineer to survey the land. They found diamonds strewn all over the place, in the "backyard," just behind the lake. Our unfortunate farmer never went deeper in to his own land, beyond the side of the lake. However, he went everywhere else looking for diamonds.

Make sure you know the diamonds you possess. This is a good time to take the inventory.

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Copyright 1996, Mind Publications 


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