Talent and skill are oftentimes mistaken and confused in perceptions and conversations. They are used interchangeably while there is a considerable difference in their meanings.
Talent refers to the innate ability to do something in an extraordinary manner. A talented person does not have to put extra effort as it comes to him naturally. The word is used in the context of various fields like – singing, painting, dancing, etc. Due to these abilities, they are distinguished from other people. When this concept is applied practically, then some people also term it as “nepotism“.
While skill is acquired and mastered over a period of time, most abilities in humans are acquired. Language skills, many psycho-motor abilities, social etiquette, interpersonal skills etc. are all acquired. All acquired skills become proficient only through practice over months and years. Skill expands with practice, matures. It becomes reliable when used over and over again in different contexts.
Talent forms bedrock of any expertise. Skills can grow old but it is the talent that makes the skill sustainable. Being engaged in a management role where I am using my skill. One would more likely to retire early in comparison with being a singer or writer in which he is talented. Talent drives a person to work with passion. When a talent is practised and nurtured with hard work then only it can become a reliable and credible source of success.
Though a person with talent certainly has an edge but having talent alone is a no guarantee of success. A talent without efforts could be even dangerous. As it is often seen that talent, if not cultivated through effort, do not manifest achievements. Talents are often hard to recognize. There are people who spend a substantial part of their life identifying the talent they have. While skills, on the other hand, could be developed and acquired at any time. Skills give the chance to at least compete in an arena. By acquiring complementary skills, the effect of talent could be raised to a multi-fold level. Example being writing using two hands!
It’s not talent vs skill, it’s talent and skill
The debate should not be on skill vs talent, rather it should be on skill and talent. Anyone can run, but not every runner will make it to the Olympics. Likewise sometimes without talent, skills become meaningless. Without talent, skills can become obsolete since it is the talent that keeps the spark alive!
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