Of talents and their use

Yesterday Bea and me went to the movies with a couple of our friends. The movie was the cop mall movie, and I would probably not pay for it at the theater but think it might be an ok rental for some. During the previews a new movie about someone reliving their youth is coming out. The guy is down on the dumps, being divorced and having his kids totally ignore him and pass him off as irrelevant. Looks like an excellent comedy with all the jokes of an older guy trying to be hip. The feel good movie part is that the guy realizes that the chance he gets to relive his youth is not about not making the same mistakes as before but rather help his kids navigate through high school as a buddy since he could not do it as a parent.

The preview made me think about a lot of things, some I chose not to discuss because I am currently not a parent. The most interesting one is something I had discussed earlier with someone else about talents. Some people take longer than others to discover what their talents are. Some people think that they don’t have any talents, I disagree with that thought and think that they just simply have not discovered them.

My best friend from high school help me discover my talent. He is way more talented than I am when it comes to music and has had a very successful career back in Colombia. I never really explored my acting even though I had enjoyed it when I did it back in high school and have considered doing local theater, but he also has done theater back there with a pretty cool group. For one of our school assignments we had to record a speech on a tape that lasted more than 2 minutes. We had worked on the assignment together and he had possession of the tape that had both of our speeches.

When the day came to turn the assignment in my friends first words when I saw him in the morning were, I left the tape at home. Our school was a very strict Catholic institution. Some teachers that would have probably let us turn the assignment in late, that was not the case with this teacher. That is when my talent came into play.

I started thinking of what alternatives we had. The class was not until the second hour, so I knew we had an hour to play with. I also saw that some people had actually brought hand held tape recorders. I told him, you get a tape we can record on I will get us a tape recorder. I looked around and spoke with some people and in record time I had a blank tape, a recorder and was ready to redo the assignment. We were walking away from the classroom to skip class, when he pulled the tape from his jacket. He then told me something I would never forget, “I just wanted to see how resourceful you really are.”

Call it a practical joke, but that day it hit me. I do not panic under pressure, I start to think of solutions or alternatives to the issue at hand. I did not get mad at him or made it his responsibility to solve the issue, I made us work together to solve the problem at hand. I have used that talent in some extreme situations also, one of them actually having to do with life or death situations… but I am not sure I want to tell that story just yet.

I use that talent at my job all the time. I believe from that talent comes the ability to troubleshoot and find bugs. I also think that my business analysis and process improvement benefit greatly from that resourcefulness and being able to see other avenues to get to the same place. So can you remember when you first discovered one of your talents? Do you use your talents on what you do every day? If you could be 17 again, would you work to develop one of those talents into a career?