Talent is a terrible thing to waste

Have you ever wondered how (insert name of a bad singer) even got a chance at stardom while (insert another name), in your opinion the best singer in the world, has an uninteresting job?

Have you also wondered how (insert name of a bad politician) got to have a hand in running America while you think that if (insert name of wise guy) got to work in the government, America would be a better place?

Often, the world does not seem to be quite in the order it should be, eh?

In real life, there’s this guy who not only has a photographic memory, but can speak four languages. Doesn’t he sound like someone who should work for the FBI? But nope, he’s works at the supermarket.

There’s also this man who can sing like none other I’ve heard before. His voice goes up so high it’s almost ridiculous. But does he sing? No. He has a job he hates and has a complex about his short height.

And a couple of years ago, I befriended a girl who played the piano without ever having taken proper lessons before. She just touched the keys and made up songs, or played songs from just hearing them. Shouldn’t her parents realize what a gift she has and encourage her to go in a musical direction? She could be writing Grammy-worthy songs! But no, they don’t treat her as well as they should.

In the Washington Post on Dec. 21, 2003, there was an article titled “Ex-bounty hunter pursues opera career.” It was about Carl Tanner, a delivery truck driver during the day who turned into a bounty hunter at night. While taking a teen criminal to jail, Tanner lectured him on changing his attitude and life, and while he was at it, realized that maybe his life needed a change, too. Last December, 13 years had passed since the incident and Tanner was becoming an internationally-known opera singer.

According to him, he always knew he had the potential to be a great singer, but after graduating from a music conservatory, he became a bounty hunter, all the while knowing that he was meant to sing. He just was unsure of his ability.

Finally, when he caught that aforementioned criminal who fired at him 15 times, Tanner left for New York and was spotted singing in a restaurant by the Santa Fe Opera’s general director. Who knew? He also happened to be a spinto tenor –– the rare kind that develops with age. From truck driver/bounty hunter, he became an opera singer.

But you see, it took Tanner himself to lead him toward the right path. He was lucky, but not everyone is. So many people have amazing gifts hidden inside them, only to stay that way and not be released for the entire world to appreciate. Depressing.

Although each person is responsible for his own life, I find that often, parents do not do enough to help their child develop a talent.

We’ve seen it in movies before. There’s this guy who is a genius and should be working for NASA but due to his abusive childhood, he creates bombs and murders people.

That guy I mentioned should be working for the FBI also had an unhappy childhood. Parents split early, didn’t pay much attention to him, etc. If I knew my kid had a photographic memory and had a knack for languages, I’d –– if he was willing –– help him obtain a profession in which he could use his special abilities to the maximum.

I suggest that anyone who has a special gift cultivate it and use it. If your parents aren’t willing to help you develop that gift, make sure that you do. Don’t let a gift that could turn you into an amazing somebody go to waste.

Of course, if you do have an amazing talent but what you want to do in life just doesn’t need that talent, I give up.

But if you think that you don’t have that special talent, you’re probably wrong. Every single person is good at something. You might find out now or 50 years from now. Maybe you’re like Grandma Moses (1860-1961), a self-taught American artist who began painting rural scenes for pleasure in her late 70s after spending most of her life as a farmer’s wife. One day, Louis Calder, a New York art collector, discovered her work that was in a drugstore window, and the rest is history. Her paintings were exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, and she became a professional artist.

Don’t let your gift go to waste. Use it.

Sovereigna Jun, from Federal Way, is a student at Carleton College in Minnesota.

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