Enter “The Power Zone”
Both Markman and Niemiec underscore the important differences between skill, talent and character strengths. “A talent is something innate that you’re born with. A skill is something you develop over the course of your life,” Markman explains. “People tend to believe that talent is the more important factor. The danger, if you believe that, is that you won’t try anything you believe you don’t have the talent for, and something you think is a talent you won’t work to develop. The superheroes in the comic books didn’t develop their skills, they were given to them.”
The key for us regular humans is to meld our strengths, skills, talents, interests, inclinations and resources into our own real-life versions of x-ray vision or shape shifting. Take stock of your arsenal: Note proficiencies like a keen sense of direction, typing fast or perfect pitch; hobbies and interests, from needlepoint to pop culture; and resources, like friends in show business or the pool at your local YMCA. Then tap into your core strengths to put all this great stuff to use. As the VIA folks like to say, talents help you compete, character strengths help you complete.
Maybe you’ll set out on a new career path. Maybe you’ll be a hit a dinner parties. Maybe you’ll finally appreciate what a patient, caring friend you’ve been.
And who knows, maybe you’ll channel all those hours absorbing MTV, TGIF and smutty pre-teen fiction to become the Bourtney of your own office.
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