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Talent is so overrated!

Mark Twain once described a man who died and met Saint Peter at the pearly gates...

Knowing that Saint Peter was very wise, the man asked a question that he had wondered about for most of his life. He said, “Saint Peter, I have been interested in military history for many years. Who was the greatest general of all time?” Saint Peter quickly responded, “Oh, that’s a simple question. It’s that man right over there.” “You must be mistaken,” responded the man, now very perplexed. “I knew that man on earth, and he was just a common labourer.” “That’s right my friend,” assured Saint Peter. “He would have been the greatest general of all time, if he had been a general.”

We all have talents; the question is not if we have them, but rather if we can identify our talents and what we do with the talents that we have been given. What is your talent? Have you found it? If you have, are you turning your talent into high performance? Have you become a high performer?

Many definitions of high performance exist and they often cause debate and confusion, so let us start by dismantling a couple of myths. Many people intuitively believe that high performers possess God-given and special abilities that differentiate them from the average person. Based on contemporary research and our experience—this is not the case (Colvin, 2008; Carter, 2013). It is talent that is God-given, meaning that every person is capable of doing something better than the next thousand or more people. However, talent itself is not enough, if you want to become a high performer, talent is not going to get you there. Have you ever heard someone say, “He really wasted his talent!” Well, it is a fact that a passionate, dedicated and hardworking person with limited talent is more likely to become a high performer and reach the stars than a passive person who possesses greater talent.

….and now to the good news….anyone—and I mean anyone—can become a high performer. You do not have to be particularly intelligent or possess a unique God-given talent to become a valuable high performer. We can all get there but it will require us to make some conscious choices and lots and lots of hard work!


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