Everyone’s Got Talent

There are two versions of a certain saying: “God is in the details” or “The devil is in the details.” It differs from person to person, and I think it’s based on their religion, figuratively speaking.

This image is not mine. It's from "http://visualfunhouse.com/multiple_meanings/jesus-satan-optical-illusion.html," though I certainly wish I could draw something like this.

It was a while before I realized that, to a certain degree, I was severely averse to details. I used to be really into them, when knowing them counted towards getting a high or low grade on an exam. But nowadays, I mostly don’t want to keep track. “Life’s too short to worry about them,” I think, and sleep away.

Other people think differently, though. For those people, it’s absolutely important to keep track, and if you respect details, or are able to appreciate their significance, they can be powerful allies. But take them for granted or upset the order or system in which they exist, and they’ll turn on you. I guess one way to think of it is that for those people, there is a god in the details: it’s just the old-timey, vengeful, I-want-a-slaughtered-lamb-or-a-virgin-sacrifice kind of god that will smite you where you stand should you offend him.

People who can think like that, I think, have an extremely high level of discipline. They’d have to be able to see the importance of remembering which forms are used for what, or which organ systems and viruses are involved in what diseases. The worst of them are red tape-worshiping bureaucrats; the best of them are superb lawyers or doctors. It’s a great talent to have, discipline.

According to the book “Now, Discover Your Strengths” by Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton, “talent” is “any recurring pattern of thought, feeling, or behavior that can be productively applied.” So it’s not just a matter of being naturally good at something; it’s having some compulsion, a train of thought or activity that you can’t resist. There are different types of talents, which determine the way people think, motivate themselves, or relate to other people. The book also asserts that each person has five dominant talents that make them unique.

Based on the book’s list of talents, these are my top five:

  • Deliberative: being generally careful
  • Adaptability: responding to the demands of the moment
  • Intellection: love for mental activity
  • Connectedness: belief that everything is interrelated
  • Consistency: passion for balance

That’s based on a test I took a few years ago, but I think it’s still the same for me today. If you’re interested in finding out your own talents and strengths, you may want to look at this list: it was built upon research that the Gallup organization conducted, where they interviewed and profiled the best managers in the world. I’d tell you how many exactly, but as I’ve said, I don’t care much for details.

Which talents do you think you have? How are they helpful to you?