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How to Perfect The Art of Maximizing Your Talents

How to Perfect The Art of Maximizing Your Talents

The art of maximizing your talents is an ancient art form. It goes way past the New Testament times down to the Old Testament era. To put it simply, this art form is old. In fact, as old as time is. Now, why do we have to emphasize this fact? Even if many people consider it ancient, the Bible still contains lessons which are relevant and are applicable at this time and age. Yep,  even in this digital age. Today we will tackle a lesson from the New Testament. It’s one of my favorites culled from the book of Matthew.

The parable of the talents is not only about handling finances, it’s also about the natural ‘giftings’ you have and how to manage and maximize them to reach your full potential. I find Steve Pavlina.com helpful regarding personal development but this piece surpasses my expectations.

Check it out…

In various religious texts, there can be found some interesting personal development gems.  One from the Bible is “The Parable of the Talents.”

The Parable of the Talents is one of the stories Jesus told to teach a moral lesson.  Although the word “talents” in the story refers literally to money, you can obviously extend the meaning to other areas.  It’s interesting to read it using the common definition of “talents.”

Here’s the story:

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The Parable of the Talents

Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them.  To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability.  Then he went on his journey.  The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more.  So also, the one with the two talents gained two more.  But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

After a long time, the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.  The man who had received the five talents brought the other five.  “Master,” he said, “you entrusted me with five talents.  See, I have gained five more.”

His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master’s happiness!”

The man with the two talents also came.  “Master,” he said, “you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.”

His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master’s happiness!”

Then the man who had received the one talent came.  “Master,” he said, “I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed.  So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground.  See, here is what belongs to you.”

His master replied, “You wicked, lazy servant!  So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?  Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

“Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents.  For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance.  Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.  And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

– Matthew 25:14-30 (NIV)

This simple story makes some interesting points that are applicable to the pursuit of personal development.

First, we’re all given a different starting position.  Some of us are born into abundance (five talents).  Others are born into scarcity (one talent).  But what matters isn’t what we’re given — it’s what we do with it that matters.  So Jesus acknowledges the unfairness of life, but he also suggests that our starting conditions are irrelevant.  One person earns five talents, another earns only two, but both are congratulated equally because both achieved a 100% gain.  (I’d sure like to know where those servants invested their money!)

This is also a good lesson in how to deal with other human beings.  Deal with other people based on their starting positions, and evaluate yourself by your own starting position.  If you happen to be one of those who receives five talents, don’t pat yourself on the back that you’re already above average.  If you have abundant talents, you should expect even more from yourself.  Similarly, there may be times in your life where you only have one talent and do the best you can with it, and even though your gains appear small from an external standard, by Jesus’ standard you’ve still made a notable accomplishment.  I wrote about this previously in Raise Your Standards.

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Another interesting aspect of the parable is that our talents are entrusted to us, like a master putting money into the care of his servants.  We are stewards of our wealth, and I define wealth very loosely here, well beyond material possessions.  For example, if I can write and speak fairly well, those are talents entrusted to me.  I can bury them in the ground out of fear, or I can push out of my shell and strive to create increase for all.

One thing I wonder about the parable is this:  What would have happened if one of the servants who invested the money realized a loss instead of a gain?  There’s a clue to how Jesus would have answered this because of how the master addressed the third servant:  ”You wicked, lazy servant!”  Later the master refers to that servant as “worthless” and has him physically thrown out.  That’s pretty harsh language considering the servant still gave the master all his money back.  Is Jesus saying that inaction is wicked?  Yes, I believe so.  In other words, if you do nothing with your talents… if you hide them in the ground and hoard them, you are choosing to be wicked, lazy, and worthless.  You are supposed to invest what you’ve been given.  Don’t be lazy.

Another clue is how the first two servants are praised.  The master praises them for being “faithful.”  Very interesting.  It would have been different if the master praised them for being shrewd or effective or profitable.  But the praise is given for their faith, not for their results.

Given the language (and hopefully my points still work with non-English versions of this scripture), I conclude that if one of the servants had invested money and lost some or all of it, they would still have been praised for their faithfulness.  However, given that Jesus doesn’t directly address this condition in the parable, he may also be suggesting that faith itself is the path to success — a common theme in his other teachings.  So perhaps if you use your talents faithfully, you aren’t really going to lose.

Another notable quality of the parable is the lack of competition.  The servants aren’t competing with each other for their master’s favor.  It’s not a zero-sum game.  The first two servants both contribute something of value to their master’s estate.

What’s the ultimate reward for the faithful servants?  Although Jesus doesn’t explicitly say it, it seems obvious they don’t get to keep the money.  The two successful servants aren’t even working for their own increase.  It’s not their money.  They’re working for the increase of their master, and they share in the increase to his estate.  Their true reward is to share in their master’s happiness.  So happiness is the reward, and happiness comes from serving others.

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I know from experience that if I undertake some action to create increase only for myself, there’s very little energy to it, and it doesn’t usually increase my happiness.  But if I focus on creating increase for others (such as by helping people grow), then I feel great joy in doing that, and it ultimately creates increase for me too.

But there’s more to it than that.  Happiness is a quality that I inject into my work, not something I derive from it.  When I work only for myself, I’m looking for happiness outside myself.  Trying to achieve happiness that way doesn’t work.  But when I work for others’ benefit and turn off WIIFM for a while (What’s In It For Me?), I tap into the deep wells of happiness that are already inside me.  Instead of trying to achieve happiness, I happily achieve.  Happiness flows outward from me and into the work I do, so I experience it as an outflow, not an inflow.

Happiness is something you exhale, not something you inhale.  Are you one of those people who must say, “Yes, Senator, I had a supply of happiness in my gut, but I did not exhale?”

As Jesus implies in The Parable of the Talents, creating abundance requires you to move beyond fear.  If you’re too fearful or suspicious or distrustful, you’re going to bury your talents.  And this leads to “weeping and gnashing of teeth,” i.e. sorrow and depression.

You might think that fear and suspicion will keep you out of trouble, but really they’ll just cause you suffering and pain.  You don’t need fear to avoid being a gullible idiot; for that you just need common sense.  To live a life of abundance, you must ultimately move beyond fear and work to create abundance for others.  Otherwise you’ll ultimately be cast out as worthless.  Jesus doesn’t pull any punches here, youse bums.

Serve to create increase for others, and happiness is your reward.  Bury your talents, and you get “weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  The choice is yours.

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And that’s my parablog for the day.  

:)

    The Parable of the Talents I Steve Pavlina

    More by this author

    Anthony Dejolde

    TV/Radio personality who educates his audience on entrepreneurship, productivity, and leadership.

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    Last Updated on September 17, 2019

    Need Morning Motivation? 30 Routines to Help You Start Afresh

    Need Morning Motivation? 30 Routines to Help You Start Afresh

    You forgot to set your wake-up alarm. As you slowly come to consciousness, you begin to panic as you realize that you’re going to be extremely late for work. You have a quick shower, brush your teeth, and then hurriedly put your clothes on. There’s no time for any food or drink – so you head out the door stressed, thirsty and downright miserable.

    Does this sound familiar to you? I’m sure you’ve had mornings like this. And as you know, they’re the best way to lose morning motivation and the worst possible way to start the day.

    Your morning routine determines whether you can win the day. In 2016, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Ohio State University studied call center staff working for an insurance company.[1]

    They specifically looked at the mood of the call center staff throughout their working day. The three-week study discovered something interesting. Namely, staff who started the day in a bad mood, usually ended the day in a bad mood too. This was despite them receiving calls from positive customers throughout the day.

    Staff who started their day calm or happy – finished their working day in the same upbeat emotional state. Furthermore, the study found that staff with low moods had low productivity. Staff with elevated moods demonstrated high productivity.

    As you can see from the above revelations, it’s vital that you start your day well.

    But you may ask, what exactly is motivation? Then you can’t miss this concept about Motivation Engine.

    Once you’ve understood what a Motivation Engine is, you should start building habits that keep you motivated.

    If you’re prone to starting off your day in a gloomy and stressed state, then you’ll be sure to benefit from the suggestions below:

    1. Wake up on time.

    Waking up on time (or even early) is critical to starting your day positively. It will give you space and time to complete your morning routines. And you won’t need to worry about rushing around your home.

    2. Open your curtains.

    One of the first things you should do upon rising is to open your bedroom curtains.

    I do this every morning, and I’ve found it to be a fantastic way to gradually wake up from my slumber.

    Personally, I open the curtains, and then sit on the end of the bed for a few minutes. This allows me to enjoy the morning light streaming through my window.

    3. Make your bed.

    Remember your student days? Making your bed was probably the last thing you thought about when you were stumbling out of it in the morning.

    This habit may be okay for students, but if you want to accelerate your motivation and productivity – you should definitely make your bed.

    It takes less than a minute, and you’ll be rewarded by a tidy room, and a feeling of self-satisfaction.

    4. Enjoy a refreshing shower.

    I’m always amazed when people tell me that they didn’t have time to shower in the morning.

    Not only does that sound unhygienic, but it also suggests that these people haven’t learned to set a daily morning routine.

    A shower only takes 10 minutes or so, and it’s a great way to clean your body, and the perfect way to wake up.

    5. Drink a freshly-blended smoothie.

    Every morning, I enjoy a freshly-blended, fruit-based smoothie. This consists of organic milk and a small portion of fruit such as bananas, mangoes and strawberries.

    It’s a superb way to kick-start your day. Not only does it taste great, but it’s also full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

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    I used to drink tea first thing in a morning, but now, I find that smoothies are far more satisfying.

    6. Take a 10-minute walk in the morning sunshine.

    If you have a dog, then this will be an easy task for you.

    However, even if you don’t own a dog, why not try walking for 10 minutes outside every morning?

    If you’re lucky enough to live close to a park, then you could walk around the park before going to work. Fresh air and exercise are an invigorating combination.

    7. Check your to-do list.

    Organized people tend to have to-do lists. It helps them keep track of what needs doing at home, work and beyond.

    To-do lists can be paper-based, or you can use one of the many free apps that are available. The morning time is perfect for checking your to-do list, and prioritizing items for the day.

    You may also find that you can tick off some items that you completed the previous day.

    8. Listen to some upbeat music.

    Music is a powerful mood changer. If you’re not a typical morning person, then you can help to boost your physical and emotional state by listening to upbeat music.

    I won’t suggest specific artists, but simply try to choose music that makes you feel happy and lively. You could listen to this music while you shower, when you’re in your kitchen, or perhaps when you’re commuting to work.

    9. Complete a mini workout.

    If you have a home gym, then spend a few minutes each morning working out. This will rapidly wake you up, and increase your mental well-being.

    If you don’t have a home gym, you can still do a mini workout. For example, try doing sets of push-ups and sit-ups.

    10. Review your goals.

    Early morning can be an excellent time for contemplation.

    While you may want to think about trivial things, successful people often use this time to review their personal goals. You can do the same.

    For instance, if one of your goals is to start your own business, then use the morning time to come up with ideas to help move you towards this goal.

    11. Pack some healthy snacks to take to work.

    You may have started the day with a healthy breakfast, but have you noticed how easy it is for our diets to go downhill from there!

    As soon as we arrive at college or work, we begin looking for the coffee. Not long after that, we get peckish, and start seeking out cakes, biscuits and chocolate.

    Luckily, with a bit of preparation, you can avoid this situation. The trick is to pack into your bag some healthy snacks such as apples, bananas and nuts. These healthy treats will happily keep you going until lunchtime.

    12. Declutter part of your home.

    Unless your home is currently spotless and has nothing out of place, then you could spend a few minutes each morning decluttering an area of your home.

    Take your hallway, for example. This may have shoes and bags that could be tidied away in just a few minutes.

    13. Meditate for 5 minutes.

    Many high achievers say that they mediate each morning. This gives them balance and poise, before beginning their working day.

    Have you thought about trying meditation? Although there are different forms of meditation, the simplest method is to just close your eyes… control your breathing… and let your thoughts settle.

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    And like most things in life, the more you practice meditation, the easier it will become for you.

    14. Stretch your body.

    You may have woken up with a stiff neck, or perhaps a pain in your back.

    From experience, it seems that lying down for several hours can leave your body in need of a good stretch. I’m 2.10 meters tall (yes, really!), so it’s not uncommon for me to have some discomfort when I first wake up.

    However, I’ve learned that stretching for just a few minutes offers quick pain relief, improved posture and enhanced energy levels. Here’re some nice stretches to try: 17 Morning Stretches That Will Jumpstart Your Body and Mind

    15. Read a motivational quote.

    If you want to boost your productivity, then make a habit of reading a motivational quote each morning.

    To get you in the mood for adopting this behavior, I’ve picked out one of my favorite quotes for you:

    “Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later.” — Og Mandino

    And here’re more: 50+ Best Motivational Quotes To Prepare You For Any Challenges In Life

    16. Drink a glass of water.

    Hydration is essential. Especially after hours of sleeping.

    I love to drink a glass of pure, filtered water every morning. It immediately makes me feel better, more energised and… less thirsty!

    Even if you’re a caffeine addict, try drinking a glass of water before you start on the hard stuff.

    17. Create something.

    Like many of the suggestions I’m listing, this idea makes productive use of your morning time.

    Let’s say that you are a budding singer-songwriter. You’re not famous yet but you want to be!

    Before heading off to do your current job, you could spend 20 minutes or so writing lyrics for a new song. Do this everyday for a week, and you’ll probably have enough lyrics for a whole album.

    Other ideas for creating something include putting together a bouquet of flowers, working on your novel, and adding the finishing touches to your latest artwork.

    18. Write down things you’re grateful for.

    It’s all too easy to take things for granted. We need to constantly remind ourselves of things in our life that we’re grateful for.

    A beneficial and rewarding morning practice is to write a list of things that you’re currently grateful for. These could be things such as your partner, your job, and your health.

    Some people like to write a list each morning that includes everything they were grateful for from the previous day. Over time, you can develop an attitude of gratitude.

    19. Play with your pets.

    Do you love animals? Most of us do, for sure.

    If you’re fortunate enough to have a pet, then the morning is the perfect time to have some fun with them.

    For instance, if you have a dog, they’re sure to like playing with a ball or Frisbee first thing in the morning. They’ll have fun, and you will too.

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    20. Listen to an inspiring podcast.

    Podcasts are a great way to listen to inspiring and motivating speakers.

    As they’re audio only, you can listen to them while making your breakfast – or even while you’re driving your car.

    Just imagine hearing expert tips on business, success and well-being every morning. Before long, this precious wisdom is bound to sink into your consciousness.

    Here’re some podcasts recommended for you: You Are What You Listen To: 11 Podcasts To Inspire Yourself

    21. Plan your day.

    Self-help guru Alan Lakein famously said:

    “Failing to plan, is planning to fail.”

    Wise words indeed.

    To be successful in life, you must learn how to make plans and set goals.

    You should have long-term plans, medium-term plans and… daily plans.

    That’s right. You can use a few minutes each morning to plan the day ahead. It’s a simple technique that offers a surprising boost to your daily productivity.

    22. Learn something new.

    Each morning is the start of a new day. Why not tap into this fresh energy by learning something new every morning?

    This could be something like a few words of a new language, a new guitar chord, or some facts related to your favorite basketball team.

    23. Enjoy the quietness of the morning.

    If you can get up in the morning before the majority of other people, you’ll be rewarded with peace and quietness.

    You can make use of this special time by perhaps reading a book, or sitting in your garden.

    Personally, I love to walk my dog in the early morning, as the streets are empty – and my dog has a whole park to itself!

    24. Think of a way to help someone later in the day.

    Today’s society seems riddled with a me, me, me mentality. I’m sure you know what I mean.

    People talking endlessly about themselves – and others taking hundreds of selfies every day.

    It’s important not to get caught in this self-centered trend. One way to do this, is to take a few minutes each morning to think of ways that you can help other people later in the day.

    To give you an example, you may have a colleague who has a sweet tooth. You could decide to take in some chocolates to work that you could share with this individual.

    25. Go for a swim.

    I’ll be honest, this idea may not be for you. If you’re not a swimmer, then please move on to the next suggestion.

    However, if you do like to swim, and there is a swimming pool local to you, then this is a wonderful way to start your day.

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    Swimming pools are usually quiet in the morning, so you’re likely to have loads of space for serious swimming – or simply having fun!

    26. Meet some friends for breakfast.

    Until I was in my 20s, I’d never thought about going out for breakfast with friends. However, I was fortunate to be introduced to this idea by a couple of American friends who were staying with me in London.

    I distinctively remember them saying, “Where shall we go for breakfast?” I was taken aback because I had always just had breakfast at home.

    I’m glad they persuaded me, though, as I loved having breakfast with them in a local café. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I now regularly meet friends for breakfast. If you haven’t tried it before – give it a go!

    27. Check yourself in the mirror.

    I’ve heard people say that they don’t like to look in the mirror in the morning because they’re afraid of what they might see!

    I’m guessing that they probably look miserable and tired first thing in the morning, and want to avoid been reminded of this. It’s understandable, but I think mirrors are a great tool to use in the morning.

    Instead of being afraid of them, use them to check your appearance. You can quickly check your hair and makeup (for example).

    But more importantly, you can ensure that you’re looking alert, confident and purposeful.

    28. Follow Steve Jobs’ advice.

    In a speech he gave at Stanford University in 2005, Steve Jobs revealed that he started each day by asking the following question:

    “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”

    He went on to say that, if the answer to the question was “no” for several days, then this told him that he needed to make changes in his life.

    29. Leave plenty of time for your commute.

    Rushing to work is the cause of so much stress and anxiety. One of the problems is that most people seem to leave a set amount of time for their commute – but don’t allow for any delays.

    For example, if someone has a 30-minute drive to work, they probably just allow 30 minutes each morning.

    However, as soon as there is a broken down vehicle or roadworks, then their schedule is immediately disrupted.

    The resolution is simple: always allow more time than you need.

    30. Kiss your loved ones before you leave the house.

    Don’t be in so much of a hurry in the morning that you forget the most valuable people in your life.

    Whether it’s your partner or your children, be sure to hug and kiss them before heading out the door. Relationships are so important – be certain to nurture yours.

    The Bottom Line

    Hopefully, the above list will give you plenty of food for thought.

    I recommend that you pick out a handful of the above suggestions, and make them a part of your daily routine. Here’re How to Break a Habit and Hack the Habit Loop.

    By building these new habits, you’ll find that your days start happier and stronger. You’ll also discover that you’re more motivated and productive than ever before.

    More Articles About Starting Afresh in the Morning

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Harvard Business Review: How Your Morning Mood Affects Your Whole Workday

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