Monday, October 06, 2008

On Talent

Each of us has an internal ranking list of talent, where we, whether consciously or unconsciously, judge others and rank them on basis of their talent. This list determines much of our attitudes to others, of whether we are deferring or condescending, or of whether we are to admire or to hold in contempt.

Sometimes, we will encounter individuals who are of vastly inferior talent, and yet hold stations or possess achievements far beyond their innate capabilities. Such individuals draw out our negativities, especially if their innate talents are lesser than that of ours, and yet their accomplishments are greater than that which we have achieved. We would deny, of course, that such negativities are merely green envy, and that which is "mistaken" as envy is merely a natural distaste for the unfairness of the world.

It is indeed true that unfairness is ever present in this world. Those born into families of great wealth and power have a paved path to success. Some have the fair hand of lady fate to thank, being blessed with a series of fortunate events that were in no part a result of their own actions. We all know of such individuals, who we might rightly judge to be sorely unworthy.

Then, there are a select few that have little talent to speak of, nor do they possess any inherent or unfair advantage. And yet, through sheer perseverance and hard work, they achieve what is thought to be impossible. These individuals, far more than those examples stated earlier, incite our hate and envy, for they possess what we lack the most.

If we ask anyone to choose between being talented or hardworking, most would choose the former. This seems odd. We decry of familial wealth as being an unfair advantage, and deem those with supreme luck as being undeserving. And yet, would talent, which comes from the womb and is not a result of our actions, possess any higher moral ground to stand upon? None, I would think.

It is only perseverance and hard work that is worth anything. The actions that we take in pursuit of our goals, the overcoming of the limitations that we are all born into, the blind and dogged determination to do what is thought to be beyond us - all these are, far more than any innate and unfair advantage which we often use to justify our superiority over others, the true hallmarks of the worth of any human being.

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