Career counselor John Crystal offers the best way I have found to remember our gifts: “Think about those things you have always found it easy to do and don’t remember learning how.” We tend to value the knowledge and skills we have worked hard to acquire; if we earned it from the sweat of our brow it must be important, or so we tell ourselves. But when aspects of work or life come easy, we think they must not be all that important. Crystal asks us to consider the reverse, that the “things we have always found it easy to do” might point us toward our gifts. ~Russ S. Moxley, “It Also Takes Courage to Lead,” in Living the Questions: Essays Inspired by the Work and Life of Parker J. Palmer

Hey, maybe it’s OK not to know too much about how to write poetry, huh? I remember being dumbfounded at a poetry workshop years ago when poet Kate Daniels said to me, “You have a gift. You should develop it.”

I like this reversal of the idea that only that which we slave over is important. I know that the best dancers/artists/writers/athletes/you-name-its are the ones who make it look effortless. And while I’m sure hard work is an important element for making it look so easy, I don’t think they could ever achieve that without natural talent, without flowing with their gifts.

What can you do easily that you don’t remember learning? Do you devalue it because there was no struggle involved? Perhaps it’s time to acknowledge and develop it as your gift.


7 Responses to Gifts

  1. Amy says:

    Well here’s the Chinese fortune cookie bit of wisdom I have taped to my monitor: A peaceful mind generates power. Then I remember something a teacher said that comes back to me every time I get myself stuck in the process of writing thinking somehow that I’m doing it; he said: Let the writing write itself. So.

  2. mariana says:

    I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in life. And I am horribly limited

    • quotesqueen says:

      I just want to fully live the life I have and be the one person I am… which I’m realizing is a life’s work!

  3. I agree. We often take for granted those things that we are ‘naturals’ at.
    Not surprisingly, those who develop their natural talent often come up with viable business ideas and vocations that offer sound fulfillment.

  4. mariana says:

    “egocentric contents cannot be made in terms of my similarities to any numerically distinct entities. I assume that whatever egocentric contents are, numerically distinct entities capable of having egocentric contents, have contents concerning different entities. Thus no matter how similar to me a being is that is nonetheless numerically distinct from me, it will still be thinking about itself, not me, when it thinks the thoughts it expresses with the first-person pronoun. Thus the relevant question to ask is not whether my physical doppelganger must have the same egocentric contents as me (it can’t) but whether fixing my physical properties fixes my egocentric contents.”

  5. Hampers says:

    Thanks for sharing the information on gifts. It was nice going through your blog. Keep it up the good work.

  6. […] Gifts, May 5 What’s easy for us might just be what we need to be doing. […]

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