As I’ve been studying strengths and helping people find their super powers, I’ve realized that some of the strengths literature is very specific in describing strengths versus talents. What’s the difference between a strength and a talent? Simply put, a talent is your natural pattern for thinking, feeling or doing. It represents your potential. A strength, on the other hand, represents an ability that you’ve developed into a consistent, near-perfect performance. So you start with your talents, and from them, you develop your strengths. Of course, you could start from your weaknesses and try to develop those into strengths, but it’s ultimately an investment decision, and, in many cases, a losing battle. The key is to unleash your best, based on what you want to accomplish.
In the book Strengths Quest Discover And Develop Your Strengths In Academics, Career, And Beyond, Donald Clifton and Edward Anderson write about strengths and talents.
Key Take Aways
Here are my key take aways:
- A talent is a naturally recurring pattern of thought, feeling or behavior. It’s something you naturally do. It’s the way that you naturally think or naturally feel or naturally behave. It’s your defaults. While you can train yourself to think, feel, or behave another way, it can be like going against the grain and you’re no longer leveraging your natural talent.
- A strength is the ability to provide consistent, near-perfect performance. Your strengths are your abilities that you’ve developed and can count on. You can consistently demonstrate peak performance.
- A strength begins with a talent. You discover, develop, and apply your talents to build your strengths. Your talents are a breeding ground for your strengths. By starting with talents, you can accelerate your learning curve and get more return for the time and energy you invest. It’s making the most of the hand you’re dealt.
A Strength Begins with a Talent
You can think of this as smart, selective strength growth. Clifton and Anderson write:
A strength begins with a talent … a naturally recurring pattern of thought, feeling, or behavior that can be productively applied. A great number of talents naturally exist within you, and each of them is very specific … Your talents empower you. They make it possible for you to move to higher levels of excellence and fulfill your potential. … A talent represents a capacity to do something
Strengths are Discovered and Developed
Your strengths are the refinement of talents with knowledge and skill. Clifton and Anderson write:
A strength is the ability to provide consistent, near-perfect performance in a given activity. … strengths are produced when talents are refined with knowledge and skill
Fulfill Your Personal Destiny
You can think of growing your strengths as a lifelong adventure and fulfilling your personal density. Clifton and Anderson write:
In a sense, the development and application of strengths generates a feeling that you are fulfilling your personal destiny. Your strengths quest is a lifelong adventure. Each of the three aspects — discovery, development, and application — will continue throughout your life. This exciting and fulfilling process should bring you a lifetime of great satisfaction and joy.
My Related Posts
- Why Strengths?
- Strengths and Weaknesses
- Spend 75 Percent on Your Strengths
- SIGN – The 4 Signs of a Strength
Photo by hoyasmeg.