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Monday, March 23, 2015

The Real Reason We Shouldn't Hide Our Talents

I had a realization last year that totally changed my perspective. Ready for it?

You always do more good in the world by sharing your talents.

Do you know why? Because the people who don't like your talents, the people who disagree with you, who don't think you're very good at what you do, who think your talent is stupid--they're just going to shrug their shoulders, maybe say a few things about it, and then be on their way.

But the people you do touch with your talent, the people you connect with, will be blessed because of you. You might inspire them to do something more, to be a better person. If nothing else, you've given them a moment of happiness and awe and enjoyment. You've made their life better, if only for a second, by sharing your talent.

Did you hurt anyone by sharing your talent? Probably not. Did you hurt the people who disliked it? Probably not. They're just going to move on and forget about it.

But the people you do touch--those are the people who make it worth being vulnerable.

We can do so much more good in the world by sharing our talents--so that those who benefit from them can benefit from them--than we can hiding our talents, because we're afraid of bothering a select few.

You always do more good by sharing your talents.

Think about those you admire and how your life would be a little less bright if they hadn't shared their talents. I'm so glad writers like J.K. Rowling shared theirs, because they've made my life better.

But our talents don't have to be as amazing as J.K. Rowling's writing skills to have an impact. I like to draw and do art, but I'm definitely not a professional, not at all. It's just like a hobby. I don't plan on taking it very seriously in my life. I have friends who have gone to college to study art. I used to catch myself thinking, I shouldn't share this picture I did. It's not as good as my friend's. She's a real artist. But so what if my picture isn't as good as my friend's? It doesn't need to be perfect to share and make someone happy. So I post them anyway. And there might by some professional artist out there who sees all the mistakes I made and all the ways it could have been better, and that's okay; it's not going to hurt them. They'll just move on. But there might be someone out there who's inspired by my artwork.

Worthless Talents

A few months ago, I found this youtube video of this girl imitating what she thought other languages sounded like. Some of them were pretty accurate. I of course laughed at the American English one. Sure, there might have been better ways for her to spend her time, and I talked to someone who thought that was kind of a useless talent. Yeah, it might not be that versatile, but the video had a ton of views. I looked at all those views and doubted her talent's uselessness. This girl had made thousands of people laugh and smile with her "worthless talent."

So while I believe some talents might benefit us and our society more than others . . . I'm not sure if I believe talents like imitating other languages are completely worthless. She made people happy. And the people who thought it was dumb probably left a critical comment, if that, and then went back to their life. She didn't do anything to ruin them.

Author William Zinsser wrote in a book called On Writing Well that "Nothing is stupid to someone who takes it seriously."

He is so right.

I know a lot of fans make fan music videos of whatever show, movie, band, or whatever that they like. There are people who learn how to edit videos just so they can make fan music videos. Most of them probably aren't planning on getting a job that uses those skills. Most of them will never make money at it. But they are able to touch other people with their talent at making fan videos. Is it a "waste of time"? Watch this amazing Harry Potter video a fan made and be the judge. 

That video made me and over a million others feel something deep in the gut. If that person hadn't shared her talent, we wouldn't have gotten to experience that.

We live in a world that has the perspective that if you don't make money with a skill, it has no value. That's not true.

If it makes you happy and blesses the lives of others, it has value.

Sharing our talents helps us connect with others, sometimes on a higher and deeper and more powerful level than face-to-face conversations.

With the internet especially, it shouldn't be hard to find a way to share your talents. If you are worried or afraid of criticism, then hop online and find the right people to share it with. Maybe your family thinks your hobby of making comics is stupid, but I promise you there are loads of people online who don't think that. They take it seriously. And nothing is stupid to someone who takes it seriously.

So whatever your talent is, and however good or bad you are at it, if you want to share it, do humankind a favor and just share it.


  1. I think you make a good point. When I read what you wrote, I was reminded of the Fremen in Frank Herbert's Dune collecting water one precious drop at a time, with the goal being an eventual transformation of the world.

  2. I was just talking with Bob about this and how scary it is to share something you've made. I appreciate what you've said. It helps me to have courage to share what I make as well. Thanks for the inspiration Kami!


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