Monday, June 20, 2011

Talents and personal destiny

I will announce a new workshop: 'Discovering your talents.' As so often, once you are into a subject, you meet entries and references at unsuspected places. A fortnight ago I was at the book presentation of 'Coporate Entity,' the posthumous life work of Karel DeVries, who was a colleague and partner in Ansoff Joele Associates, consultants in strategic management. His book is about the corporation as an entity with its own personality and its own life forces. A healthy corporation contributes to its stakeholders, internal and external. Its managers and employees contribute to the corporation. Viable systems within viable systems.

The whole of nested systems is more or less alive, it is vital. Individual vitality and individual contributions rest on the talents of the people involved, having functions in which they can express those talents. It is the responsibility of people to maximize the use of their talents. Their talents determine where they fit. So, in the view of DeVries, Talents are destiny.

This is interesting when we compare it with the well-known dictum: Character is destiny. This is used mainly to explain failures and apparent bad luck as the consequence of character flaws. But also that successes and apparent good-luck are to a large extent the consequence of good character. We have many - also very recent - examples of public figures whose careers crashed by character flaws.

But we can also look at careers from the point of view of talents. Now exactly what are your talents? What can you do better than most people? What can you do better than almost anybody? What can you possibly do better than anybody in the world? Or, more to the point: what can you do while being perfectly in flow? Reflecting on this is more useful, as it avoids clumsy comparisons and avoids ego inflation, a condition less common, but more irritating to others than ego deflation. Less than a century ago, Alfred Adler coined the terns inferiority complex and superiority complex. When you are in flow, you hardly care about how good you are and you don't care s.... (you know what) about how good others are.

Your talents are not necessarily what people say they are or what you think they are. They are in where you are in flow. One of my favorite quotes is from Tom Peters: Real success comes from the soul and the market place simultaneously. How about that as a definition what in flow really means? In flow with yourself and with the world at the same time. Of course. Realizing that this is what it is, is a blinding flash of the obvious.

Anyway, discovering and freeing your talents is the surprising twin to market intelligence.

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