Jump to content
JWTalk - Jehovah's Witnesses Online Community

Appreciating & praising natural talent vs effort


Recommended Posts

A thought that came to me tonight. We praise effort. But we also praise natural talent and skill. More often than not the one who has more natural talent gets more famous, is this right? 

 

We say well done to someone born with a skill, or we might say "he's clever" and reward them. They might be a good writer, mathematician etc, and such people made appreciated, get prizes and fame, yet these are just skills that "they have". Like being born with eyes, or legs "well done, you can see!" 

 

Know what I mean? 

 

Yet another part of me just feels like it's wrong to not appreciate and praise such people. It also feels natural. For example a great artist. He or she can draw very very well, the are very creative. Imagine not praising such skill or work , and instead saying to the artist; well, you're a natural, who cares?" It sounds so backwards doesn't it? Often we say "wow you're a natural!". Yet looking at the actual think we are praising.. it's like praising a bird for flying in a way. Yet some part of my intuition is saying that I am also wrong somewhere in this thought, that if it was such a case, we'd not have the concept of attitude of praising or appreciating natural talent in the first place. 

 

Thoughts? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Brother Matthew,

 

I can appreciate your thoughts, and I agree that sometimes there can be too much emphasis on praising natural talent. This especially happens often in the world when it comes to natural beauty or talent in sports. So you asked for some thoughts, I hope these make some sense.

 

I think most humans are amazed when they see an ability or talent in a person. For example, who of us is not amazed at an Olympic gymnast? Who doesn't say, "Wow, the talent that gymnast has is incredible, look at the great balance, strength she/he has". And often times the term "natural talent" is used. But any great athlete or musician cannot have such great abilities without the "mix" of both some natural talent and much effort/practice. For example, a person may be naturally gifted in music, but even the most naturally gifted person in the world in music cannot just pick up a guitar and play it wonderfully, they first must practice and then practice again and then practice more. This "naturally talented" person will be able to learn how to play the guitar faster and better than the average person, and often that is what receives praise from music teachers and others because they are impressed or amazed at how good that person can play an instrument in such a short period of time.

 

But giving some praise or commendation for a person's natural ability can be good, as this can help encourage the person and it can help their self-esteem. So many people around the globe feel bad about themselves, they feel worthless, so it is good for us to help a person see the natural talents they may have.  And it can be especially good if in our commendation of a person's natural ability, we also try to acknowledge and give praise that we as humans are "wonderfully made" by our Grand Creator! :)

 

But my perspective is that "natural ability" is only maybe 20-30% of what gives a person a "talent" in some area . For example, when we see interviews with some of the most talented and famous singers in the world, very often they will say, "Well I have been singing since I was 5yrs old".  Another example I have seen is with outstanding soccer players who have said in interviews, "I have been playing soccer since I was 6". So when we see a person with a great ability, whether a professional musician or athlete, it is usually because they have been nurturing that specific ability since they were very young. And even if they were just singing, playing a guitar, or playing soccer for fun when they were very little, this was practice and a harnessing of their natural ability without them even realizing it! But when the average human sees such talent, we tend to use just common expressions like, "Wow what a gift you have!" or "You are such a natural".  But if we gave more thought into our praise or commendation for someone'e talent or ability, it would be more accurate to say something like, "Wow all of your efforts and practicing has really helped nurture the natural ability you have, I commend you for how hard you have trained!". But most people aren't going to say something like this, even though it would be nice if we gave more emphasis in commending a person's efforts and training compared to just praising raw natural ability.

 

But how about talent or abilities within the Congregation?

Well when we as brothers/sisters hear a very good talk, sometimes we will say something like,"That brother is so gifted, what a speaker!". But different than how the world might praise athletes and musicians feeling that they were just born with such abilities, behind those words above almost every brother/sister knows the reasons why that brother has such an ability or talent in speaking:

1} Much training and practice  - from years being in the TMSchool to giving many, many talks and receiving good counsel

2} Any natural ability at speaking or teaching is also enhanced by Holy Spirit

 

So would it be better for us as Christians to give more emphasis to commending a brother or sister for all of their efforts and practice to become a good teacher/speaker and to give more praise to our Grand Instructor for enhancing the natural ability of that brother or sister who has such "talent" in teaching or speaking? Yes definitely, I agree. :)

 

By the way, in the New World, I will be a very talented Gymnast, not because I have any natural talent in gymnastics, but because my talent or gymnastic abilities will come from all of the practice playing with my new friends in the trees -  the monkeys. :D 

Also, here are a couple of articles I liked about talents or gifts

 

Quote

*** yp2 chap. 13 p. 116 How Can I Do Better at School? ***
Paul wrote to Timothy: “Stir up like a fire the gift of God which is in you.” (2 Timothy 1:6) Evidently, Timothy had been appointed to some special service in the Christian congregation. But his God-given ability—his “gift”—needed to be cultivated so that it would not lie dormant or go to waste. 
 

*** w11 12/15 p. 19 par. 6 Faithful Ones of Old—Guided by God’s Spirit ***
Bezalel was appointed to take the lead in making the necessary furnishings for the tabernacle. Did he have knowledge of crafts prior to this vast project? Possibly, but in all likelihood his most recent job was that of making bricks for the Egyptians. (Ex. 1:13, 14) So how would Bezalel fulfill his complicated task? Jehovah “proceeded to fill him with the spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding and in knowledge and in every sort of craftsmanship and for designing devices . . . to make ingenious products of every sort.” Whatever natural aptitude Bezalel may have had was enhanced by holy spirit. The same is true of Oholiab. Bezalel and Oholiab must have learned well, for they not only performed their duties but also taught others what to do. Yes, God put it into their hearts to teach.

 


Edited by Beggar for the Spirit
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are people who have "natural ability" and there are those who develop a skill - and sometimes these can be the same act. Take singing, for example. There are some who "sing like a bird" with no apparent effort or training. Then there are those who, with proper training, can also sing quite well .... perhaps even well enough to make a living singing. Of course, there are also those, like me, that no amount of training will help me sing on key.

 

That said, it seems that, in most cases, it is those who have the "born talent/ natural ability" that excel the most. Even though some of these remarkable singers may seek or receive some training, what sets them apart from others is that natural ability they were born with.

 

Personally, I do not see anything wrong with acknowledging and/or complimenting for either - the skill or the ability.

 

As for the comparison to birds flying, yes, most birds fly. However, not all birds can fly as fast as a falcon, coast as long as an eagle or a buzzard, or skim on the thermal updrafts at the surface of water like the pelican or hover and/or fly backwards like a humming bird - so, even with birds, we marvel and/or compliment those with "natural ability" all birds do not possess.


Edited by Qapla
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On September 15, 2017 at 6:54 PM, EccentricM said:

A thought that came to me tonight. We praise effort. But we also praise natural talent and skill. More often than not the one who has more natural talent gets more famous, is this right? 

 

We say well done to someone born with a skill, or we might say "he's clever" and reward them. They might be a good writer, mathematician etc, and such people made appreciated, get prizes and fame, yet these are just skills that "they have". Like being born with eyes, or legs "well done, you can see!" 

 

Know what I mean? 

 

Yet another part of me just feels like it's wrong to not appreciate and praise such people. It also feels natural. For example a great artist. He or she can draw very very well, the are very creative. Imagine not praising such skill or work , and instead saying to the artist; well, you're a natural, who cares?" It sounds so backwards doesn't it? Often we say "wow you're a natural!". Yet looking at the actual think we are praising.. it's like praising a bird for flying in a way. Yet some part of my intuition is saying that I am also wrong somewhere in this thought, that if it was such a case, we'd not have the concept of attitude of praising or appreciating natural talent in the first place. 

 

Thoughts? 

 

Praising others is a form of encouragement and that's good, but this world as with many other things, goes way overboard. They just about worship celebrities. A person can make millions and become adored by millions just for doing a good job  pretending (acting)  to be a certain character. I have always found that to be strange. Once Again it's all about balance.


Edited by Pjdriver
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 months later...

@EccentricM It sounds like you've read the book "GRIT" by Angela Duckworth. It basically goes into detail about the difference between natural 'talent' and how overrated it is, compared to grit, which is sticking through the difficult learning stages and continuing to push yourself with the goal of improvement. And if you haven't read it you might enjoy it. It makes a pretty good audiobook. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

20 minutes ago, 1MKnight said:

@EccentricM It sounds like you've read the book "GRIT" by Angela Duckworth. It basically goes into detail about the difference between natural 'talent' and how overrated it is, compared to grit, which is sticking through the difficult learning stages and continuing to push yourself with the goal of improvement. And if you haven't read it you might enjoy it. It makes a pretty good audiobook. 

 

Interesting. Never read it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In this day and age, applying real effort is a real talent in itself. 

 

I’m a part time adjunct professor and my grade structure for my students grades are based on test scores, attendance, participation, homework completion etc...50% of their grade is attendance and participation. You know...effort. 

 

It doesn’t matter to me how talented my students are if they’re slackers. I always give credit where credit is due even if they’re slacking but in the secular world where they are headed only tolerates talent so much. They have to show up for work and actually participate. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

About JWTalk.net - Jehovah's Witnesses Online Community

Since 2006, JWTalk has proved to be a well-moderated online community for real Jehovah's Witnesses on the web. However, our community is not an official website of Jehovah's Witnesses. It is not endorsed, sponsored, or maintained by any legal entity used by Jehovah's Witnesses. We are a pro-JW community maintained by brothers and sisters around the world. We expect all community members to be active publishers in their congregations, therefore, please do not apply for membership if you are not currently one of Jehovah's Witnesses.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.

JWTalk 22.7.20 (changelog)