Have you ever been complimented on something you have done and wondered why, since it was an ability you took for granted? Have you ever complimented someone else about what they do that impresses you because you couldn’t do it no matter how hard you tried, and they do it so well?
Many years ago, when I was teaching classes at a City College adult-education division, Joan, who programmed the classes said, “How can you do what you do? I would be terrified standing up in front of a group and talking.” I was surprised by her words since teaching has always come effortlessly to me. I have often joked that I‘ll happily go where two or more are gathered. The more the merrier for me.
Later, I thought about what she said and realized that I couldn’t comprehend how she could sit at her desk day after day, organizing the curriculum and deciding who would teach what, when and where. Yet Joan loved her job and had been doing it for many years.
As I pondered the situation, it dawned on me that I have always had a flair for explaining things to people and that teaching comes naturally to me. I am basically a very curious and outgoing person who likes to find out about all sorts of things and pass along information. Joan got satisfaction from her skill in organizing things. She felt happy when classes ran smoothly and students kept coming back for more. Neither of us questioned where our talents came from.
I believe that each of us comes into this life with a gift, something that we do well without effort. Most of us admire the person who sings with perfect pitch or plays a musical instrument by ear. We pay vast sums of money to athletes who are able to perform better than the average person. Do you have a “green thumb”? Are you well known for your fashion sense? Some people have always been able to draw, write or compose. I once heard that Mozart had his wife read out loud to him to distract him so the music could flow through him.
What is your gift? It is something you take for granted since it is so much a part of you that you don’t think about it, yet others are often impressed since even with hard work they are unable to achieve even a fraction of what you can do. Instead of shrugging their compliments off, take a moment to realize that this talent has been loaned to you for this lifetime. You didn’t seek it out. It is yours to appreciate and use for the benefit of all. Enjoy it and use it well.