Talent & Skill

(2 min read)

Talent is what you’re born with.

Skill is something you develop on your own.

And when you combine Talent with Skill, meaning when you take what you’re already good at naturally and make it better through hard work, practice, and perseverance, well then you achieve mastery, like a Japanese Samurai, like Steph Curry.

In other words, Talent + Skill = Mastery

Skill in one person can overtake Talent in another, but only if that Talent is not tended to, not properly used as a foundation for growth.

But this relationship is really only valuable if we’re talking about winning the NBA Finals or slicing your opponent in half.

You don’t have to use Talent as a stepping stone. You can put talent aside and look for other things. The talent will always be there; it will always be perfect for you, like a diamond. Leave it in the cabin and go out into the woods, open and excited about finding other jewels. Gather them, try them on and see which ones make you sparkle.

So, when you come across Talent, you have a choice: you can go deep or you can go diagonal.

In going deep, you drill down into the bedrock of your Talent to understand it and get the most out of it. You become the best. You make your diamond shine as bright as possible.

In going diagonal, you reveal new interests and make new connections, perhaps connections no one’s ever thought of before.

So, here’s a second equation for you:

Talent x Skill = Innovation

In other words, when you go diagonal and you look through the lens of your Talent at a completely different Skill, you will find unexpected things. You invent. You discover. You reveal, which, like mastery, is another way to grow.

So which way are you going — or should I say, growing — right now? Deep into your Talent or Diagonal into a new Skill?

Deep or Diagonal?