The Difference Between Talent And Skill

Both are treasured, cherished, and valued, yet misunderstood. We’d love to have either, but we’d much rather have both, so it pains us when we see people who have it, squander it. 

Here’s a short discourse on how talent and skill are similar and how they’re different. 

Talent is nurtured. Skill is developed. 

You may be born with a soulful, expressive voice, and that’s a valuable talent, but it’s pretty much useless if you sing out of tune. You have to nurture your talent. Develop it. Practice it. 

As you nurture your singing talent, you’ll develop skills associated with it, like holding notes for a longer time, singing while dancing, singing while playing an instrument, and singing in different vocal styles. 

Talent is inborn. Skill is acquired. 

For basketball players, having a high vertical leap and being able to quickly run up and down the court like a lightning bolt are God-given talents that, combined with the acquired skills of dribbling, shooting, passing, and defending, make for a promising professional career. 

Both need practice. 

Whether it’s doing an oil painting or auditing finances, we need to be regularly doing what we’re good at. We practice and we get better. We stop and we stagnate, or worse, we regress. 

And we shouldn’t stop at what we know, either. LeBron James entered the NBA as a spectacular slasher-dunker and a solid defender. But he also developed himself into a pinpoint passer and deadly three-point shooter. 

That’s how we all should be. Always improving, always evolving. 

Both can be a source of livelihood

There are occupations that rely mostly on skill—plumbers, carpenters, accountants, doctors, and lawyers, and there are ones that rely mostly on talent—musicians, athletes, writers, dancers, and actors. 

One can argue that there’s a little bit of the other involved in both, but we can ostensibly live off of either. We just have to find the right job that would play to our respective strengths. 

It’s all up to you. 

Ultimately, it would fall upon no one else but yourself to decide which of your talents you’d want to focus on and nurture. You may be both a remarkable singer and exceptional illustrator, but only you know which one gives you the most enjoyment and fulfillment. 

As for skills, you’d probably develop many kinds in your lifetime, though you’d best focus on just one at any given time, for optimal development and maximum growth.  

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