Let’s try this formula: find the right place where to apply your talents.
We generally associate “talent” to an extraordinary birth gift and with something related to sports, art, and music.
Talent means “natural aptitude or skill”. It seems kind of funny, but it’s hard to realize what skill we have, in what we excel when we do it naturally. We don’t feel it like something “special”. People around us can recognize our talents better than us.
We could be “talented listeners” (it’s a rare talent if you think about it), talented speakers, maybe we are great in dealing with people, make them laugh, make them comfortable or we could have great organizational skills.
We are constantly focusing on our weakness.
When we are great at something, we don’t give it much attention or value.
We are playing a game without knowing our strengths, but we are constantly focusing on our weakness.
Most of us are struggling with finding their talents. I’ve realized that we don’t need to “find” our talent, we have it already. We just need to “identify” it and grow it. A big achiever is the one who identifies his talents and combines it with discipline and hard work. This is where the mastery comes from. Environment is the missing part of this equation.
A “wasted talent”
Recently I’ve seen a captivating series on Netflix, called “Losers”.
I’d suggest you check it out if you have the chance. One of the episodes is about Blackjack Ryan.
Jack Ryan, who is presently 57, was a white young boy with a special talent in basketball. He loved to be the king of the court and entertained people with his brilliant world-class basketball skills. He was so good that he received many offers from different colleges in the United States.
He was too eccentric (they called him a “clown”), he was a showman who played basketball. This kind of attitude wasn’t allowed in a professional sports team.
This is what we usually call “wasted talent”.
He missed all the opportunities (included a chance to play in the NBA.), due to his indisciplined personality. He had a very rough childhood and this could easily be one of the main reasons why he sabotaged himself every single time.
The right place to be
In the darkest period of his life, while he was thinking to take his own life off, the “final” chance knocked his door.
The Harlem Wizard called him. Unlike most basketball teams, the Harlem Wizards are not primarily focused on winning games. Instead, they aim to entertain the crowd using a variety of basketball tricks and alley-oops. They perform fundraisers at local schools for the students and the rest of the community, displaying their fancy trickery through dribbling, passing, shooting, and dunking.
He didn’t sabotage himself this time and he became the first white Harlem Wizard Showman in 1999. This environment actually empowered him.
He finally found his place to be.
He enjoyed so much to be part of the Harlem Wizard, to make kids smile and to participate in charity events that it became his mission.
Apply your talents in the right place and change everything
I guess we can say that he found his Ikigai.
Finally, his talents and passions (great basketball player and being a showman) match his mission and contribution to the world (as motivational speakers in charity events for kids).
It was easy to say “you are a great basketball player. You should play in an NBA team”, but this wasn’t good for him. Probably he sabotaged himself because he wasn’t happy there. That kind of places didn’t fit his personality.
He applied his personality and all of his talents, basketball AND entertainment, with the Harlem Wizard, and he found happiness too.
Now, he is a legend and he has his own company HoopWizard
Talent and passion + discipline and hard work + the right place = mission and vocation
I don’t know if this is the magic formula, but I found this so inspiring.
“Wasted talent” doesn’t exist. We just need to find the right place where to apply it.
Our path can be different, something unique. Something never explored before. Something tailor-made.
Let’s go find our Ikigai and the right place where to make our talents blossom.