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Raw talent is much more dangerous and visible than weakness. I used to find that statement provocative. Now that I understand what talents are, I agree with that message. It's against common beliefs and assumptions, yet I’ve found a lot of examples that confirm it. In this post, I describe why raw talents are dangerous and how to mature your talent.
What is talent?
Let's start with a reminder of what talent is. The definition I use (and which I took from Gallup) is:
Talents are naturally recurring patterns of thought, feeling, or behavior that can be productively applied.
In short, talents are visible in your actions, reactions, and feelings. They will be similar in similar circumstances. If you are an Analytic, your natural impulse will be to analyze before acting. In most cases, it won't be your decision. It will just happen, like a reflex. When you have the Empathy talent, you will recognize emotions without even thinking, won't you? Again, you don't decide to you recognize emotions. You just do it.
Raw vs mature talent
In the introduction, I used the term "raw talent." You are probably wondering what a raw talent is, and by analogy, what a mature talent is. In short, you can define them as:
Raw talent is talent that is uninformed, inexperienced, tends to be more self-oriented, and is often unproductive.
Mature talent is talent that is well-informed, more practiced, tends to be more others-oriented, and is highly productive.
Let's use some examples to shed more light on the definitions:
- Raw: Feels bad after a loss.
- Mature: Remembers feeling bad after a loss and uses it as a source of motivation to do better.
- Raw: Sensitive to the scary, risky nature of the world.
- Mature: Has careful vigilance that protects and prevents.
- Raw: Constantly questions and is seldom satisfied with answers.
- Mature: Makes meaningful sense of complex realities.
- Raw: Feels external pressure to do the right thing.
- Mature: Feels internal pleasure when doing the right thing.
- Raw: Has an urge to keep busy doing anything.
- Mature: Wants to produce needed results.
Can you see the difference between raw and mature talents? Look at your talents and think about them in that context. Are your talents mature? Are some of them still raw?
Raw talent vs weakness
Earlier, I pointed out that I find raw talents to be more dangerous than weaknesses. I see confirmation of this statement when I observe the influence of raw talents in the lives of the people I work with during coaching sessions. I can also observe the influence of raw talents in my own life.
In the context of the methodology of strength-based development, weakness is a lack of something.
For example, my 34th theme (i.e., the last one) is Strategic. This means that it's not natural for me to create alternative ways to proceed. I don't have the ability to think about all the possibilities available on the spot. I need time to do this. And that’s ok. I just need to find another way to make decisions (or someone who can help me with that). In contrast, I have Activator in my dominant themes. This themes in the most raw form of all of my dominant themes. And I feel its impact all the time. The raw Activator pushes impulsively, impatiently, and indiscriminately. I observe this in my behavior very often. It pushes me to buy stuff on impulse (that’s why I implement techniques like in this post). This is something that makes me act before thinking about the consequences. And it’s also one of the reasons why I’m often impatient in meetings that involve more talking than action.
In my life, I find that my raw talents have a much bigger impact than my weaknesses. And I observe the same in many of my customers.
How to mature your talent?
Very good question! How can you mature your talent? There are a number of things you can do to achieve the mature form of your talent.
- Read the book "StrengthsFinder 2.0." It describes all 34 themes and gives a number of ideas for actions in the context of each theme.
- Read the "Action-Planning Tool" report you have available in your profile on your Dashboard.
- Hire a coach who can help you spot your raw talents and determine how to develop them.
- Watch movies on Gallup's YouTube channel. Each episode covers the raw and mature forms of a particular theme.
- Read this blog :)
I strongly encourage you to observe your talents. Ask people around you if they can spot any signs of raw talents in you. If you notice that you have a talent in its raw form, work on it! You'll see a tremendous difference, I promise you that!