Talent is considered an innate, natural ability. You’re born with it or without it, and supposedly you can neither gain it nor lose it. Talent isn’t learned or developed; it’s discovered by the lucky owner or by the observant talent scout.
Skills, however, are developed. Skill is acquired through training, so unlike talent, we do have some general control over how skillful we are. You can gain skill as quickly as you can learn, and you lose it as quickly as you forget.
Managers often follow a “hire for talent, train for skill” philosophy, leading us to believe that talent is more valuable than skill. What hiring managers often overlook is that highly-developed skills, besides being extremely valuable, are indicative of a strong work ethic. Skills are a testament to a person’s dedication; talent is nothing more than a gift supposedly given at birth.
If you’re wondering if you can succeed on talent alone, ask the talented writer who never got around to finishing his book, or the gifted athlete who missed too many practices to retain his high-paying contract. They’d tell you that the recipe for success has more than one ingredient, and that talent is nothing without the support of skill and dedication.
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