Willpower is simply no match for emotional investment. No matter how much you try to focus the mind on a task, job or project, if the heart begins to wander the mind will eventually follow. As with our infamous New Year's resolutions, we make promises to work out and eat better, addressing the symptoms but not the root of the problem. We ride high off the hope of a new beginning, but without truly examining our habits and character we fall right back into our old ways until December 31st returns. Similarly, we walk through life working simply to get paid, all the while wondering if we are living up to our full potential. Are we really doing what we are made to do? The answer to these and other pressing questions could lie in whether or not we are using our talents.
Everyone has some type of talent, a natural ability to do something of superior quality. Unfortunately, a great number of people leave their talents and gifts undeveloped because they don't have the opportunity to discover them, or they find them but they don't fit with societal expectations. The dilemma has made for great stories. The musician who wouldn't do something more practical to support his family. The artist who wouldn't forsake her silly pastime to honor her family by becoming a doctor or something more prestigious. The list goes on. The story plays out where the talented person is happy pursuing their passion, a concerned loved one gives them a "dose of reality," they reluctantly give in and are overcome with misery, but then fate gives them some opening to return to their craft in spite of everything else and all ends well–most of the time.
Real life isn't always so dramatic, but finding and embracing our natural talents can really be beneficial. When we have a certain knack for something, it holds our interest better and thus improves our ability to learn more about that subject or art, and the more we are willing to learn the better we can become. Developing our talents doesn't always mean abandoning everything else, either, but it will require sacrifice. You may have to get a job doing something that doesn't use your skill set so you can support yourself and/or your family. Your talent may not be greatly appreciated or even noticed by the masses for some time, if at all. Unearthing your special ability may be a challenge in and of itself. You have to find the time to look at what it is you like to do or what you find yourself drawn to doing, even when it's difficult.
Some people are fortunate enough to turn their talents into very lucrative careers, but that's not always the case. For most, trying to hone a talent simply for money will usually have a negative outcome. When finding and growing gifts it's best to focus on the joy of expression and service to others that we can provide. We all have something wonderful to give back to the world; even if it's just a small thing, it's worth it in the end.