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Talent

  • As a psychologist she began to suspect she was a very good teacher of French.

  • Genius is the gold in the mine, talent is the miner who works and brings it out.

    • Countess of Blessington,
    • in R.R. Madden, The Literary Life and Correspondence of the Countess of Blessington, vol. 1 ()
  • Talent, like beauty, to be pardoned, must be obscure and unostentatious.

    • Countess of Blessington,
    • in R.R. Madden, The Literary Life and Correspondence of the Countess of Blessington, vol. 1 ()
  • Timing and arrogance are decisive factors in the successful use of talent.

  • What is talent? Perhaps it is an instinct for understanding the human heart.

    • Helen Hayes,
    • in Lewis Funke and John E. Booth, Actors Talk About Acting ()
  • ... if you take passionate interest in a subject, it is hard not to believe yourself specially equipped for it.

  • A middling talent makes for a more serene life.

  • ... talent on its own sat gracefully only on the very young. After a certain age it was what you did with it that counted ...

  • I can't think why I was cursed with this inordinate desire to write, if the high gods weren't going to give me some more adquate means of expressing myself than that which my present pedestrian prose affords.

    • Winifred Holtby,
    • 1921, in Alice Holtby and Jean McWilliam, eds., Letters to a Friend ()
  • Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads.

    • Erica Jong,
    • "The Artist As Housewife, The Housewife As Artist," in Ms. ()
  • ... in this world people have to pay an extortionate price for any exceptional gift whatever.

  • My theory is that when we come on this earth, many of us are ready-made. Some of us — most of us — have genes that are ready for certain performances. Nature gives you these gifts. There's no denying that Caruso came with a voice, there's no denying that Beethoven came with music in his soul. Picasso was drawing like an angel in the crib. You're born with it.

  • In the first grade, I already knew the pattern of my life. I didn't know the living of it, but I knew the line ... From the first day in school until the day I graduated, everyone gave me one hundred plus in art. Well, where do you go in life? You go to the place where you got one hundred plus.

  • ... one of the marks of a gift is to have the courage of it.

  • Talented people almost always know full well the excellence that is in them.

    • Charlotte Brontë,
    • 1846, in Margaret Smith, ed., The Letters of Charlotte Brontë, vol. 1 ()
  • It all started when I was told that I had a gift. The gods are Yankee traders. There are no gifts. Everything has a price, and in bitter moments I have been tempted to cry 'Usury!'

  • So all that is in her will not bloom — but in how many does it?

    • Tillie Olsen,
    • "I Stand Here Ironing," Tell Me A Riddle ()
  • Brilliance, if it means anything, means talent that comes easy. It's not as burdensome as genius, or as hard won as excellence. Brilliance is fun.

  • ... having too many talents is as bad as not having any.

  • No one can arrive from being talented alone. God gives talent, work transforms talent into genius.

    • Anna Pavlova,
    • in Arthur Henry Franks, ed., Pavlova: A Biography ()
  • Talents used are talents multiplied.

  • I've never sought success in order to get fame and money: it's the talent and the passion that count in success.

  • It takes people a long time to learn the difference between talent and genius, especially ambitious young men and women.

  • I believe talent is like electricity. We don't understand electricity. We use it. Electricity makes no judgment. You can plug into it and light up a lamp, keep a heart pump going, light a cathedral, or you can electrocute a person with it. Electricity will do all that. It makes no judgment. I think talent is like that. I believe every person is born with talent.

    • Maya Angelou,
    • in Claudia Tate, ed., Black Women Writers at Work ()
  • Historically our own culture has relied for the creation of rich and contrasting values upon many artificial distinctions, the most striking of which is sex. ... If we are to achieve a richer culture, rich in contrasting values, we must recognize the whole gamut of human potentialities, and so weave a less arbitrary social fabric, one in which each diverse human gift will find a fitting place.

  • ... we need every human gift and cannot afford to neglect any gift because of artificial barriers of sex or race or class or national origin ...

  • Keeping even the most humble talent wrapped in a napkin becomes the more reprehensible the greater the emergency.

  • I always wish to find great virtues where there are great talents, and to love what I admire ...

    • Elizabeth Montagu,
    • letter (1774), in Anna Letitia Le Breton, Memoir of Mrs. Barbauld ()
  • Everyone is born with some special talent ...

  • Every person is born with a talent, and happiness depends on discovering that talent in time ...

  • ... another word for talent is obsession.

  • ... patience is an integral part of talent.

  • ... we can't take any credit for our talents. It's how we use them that counts.

  • We must realize our own talents and, having realized, accept them; and play on them like a symphony in which all other instruments are harmonized to make a better universe.

    • Jeane Dixon,
    • in Ruth Montgomery, A Gift of Prophecy ()
  • Talent can cover up a multitude of sins.

  • ... all our talents increase in the using, and every faculty, both good and bad, strengthens by exercise ...

  • Most people like to think they are discovering a new talent. If you ask, then it makes them feel as though they are being used. Allow them to discover you.

  • If you are too busy to develop your talents, you are too busy.

  • You can do something with talent, but nothing with genius ...

  • It is one thing to be gifted and quite another thing to be worthy of one's own gift.

  • One of the marks of true genius is a quality of abundance. A rich, rollicking abundance, enough to give indigestion to ordinary people. Great artists turn it out in rolls, in swatches. They cover whole ceilings with paintings, they chip out a mountainside in stone, they write not one novel but a shelf full. It follows that some of their work is better than other. As much as a third of it may be pretty bad. Shall we say this unevenness is the mark of their humanity — of their proud mortality as well as of their immortality?

  • If you're worried about your own talent, remember this: If you choose to honor the fear, it will weaken your work. If you choose to honor the work, it will weaken your fear.

  • ... nerve, not talent, is the one necessary and sufficient trait for success. (Wouldn't it be ideal if it were talent? But talent with no nerve is like the sound of one hand clapping.)

  • ... the distinction between talent and genius is definite. Talent combines and uses; genius combines and creates.

  • If you do not answer the noise and urgency of your gifts, they will turn on you. Or drag you down with their immense sadness at being abandoned.

  • Gift, like genius, I often think, only means an infinite capacity for taking pains.

  • Talent is forgiven only in the dead; those who are still standing cast shadows.

  • Talent makes us larger than we are, self-denial makes us smaller.

  • Any great gift of power or talent is a burden ... But there is nothing to be done. If you were born with the gift, then you must serve it, and nothing in this world or out of it may stand in the way of that service, because that is why you were born and that is the Law.

  • Perhaps our natural gifts elude us because they are so obvious.

  • ... if the talent or individuality is there, it should be expressed. If it doesn't find its way out into the air, it can turn inward and gnaw like the fox at the Spartan boy's belly.

  • Any talent that we are born with eventually surfaces as a need.

  • To desire to be what one can be is purpose in life. There are no exterior forces. There are only interior forces. Who squanders talent praises death.

  • Talent alone is helpless today. Any success requires both talent and luck. And the 'luck' has to be helped along and provided by someone.

    • Ayn Rand,
    • 1936, in Michael S. Berliner, ed., Letters of Ayn Rand ()
  • Talent is a very potent aphrodisiac. When someone is incredibly gifted, I find them incredibly sexy.

  • The vocation exists, and so does the gift; but vocation and gift are seldom of equal proportions, and I suppose that the struggle to equate them is the true and secret tension.

  • Everyone ... had gifts to give. And it was the interchange of these, in generosity, in warmth, and in serenity that made life beautiful.

  • [On Mary Martin:] She's okay if you like talent.

  • ... I don't think success is harmful, as so many people say. Rather I believe it indispensable to talent: if for nothing else than to increase the talent.

  • ... nobody mentions how it feels to become a freak / because you have talent and how / no one gives a damn how you feel ...

  • There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.

  • I have a responsibility to live this life with the talents I was given. It's my responsibility to do it. Not to think about it; just to do it. That's why I'm here. It's really that simple. The rest is up to the Creator.

    • Anne Wilson Schaef,
    • "Soulful Living," in Richard Carlson and Benjamin Shield, eds., Handbook for the Soul ()
  • [On Einstein:] You cannot analyze him, otherwise you will misjudge him. Such a genius should be irreproachable in every respect. But no, nature doesn't behave like this. Where she gives extravagantly, she takes away extravagantly.

    • Elsa Einstein,
    • letter, in Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, The Mind-Body Problem ()
  • But he had all an artist needs, except the spark from the god.

  • As tools unused become rusty, so does the mind; a garden uncared for soon becomes smothered in weeds; a talent neglected withers and dies.

  • Talent is an amalgam of high sensitivity; easy vulnerability; high sensory equipment (seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, tasting — intensely); a vivid imagination as well as a grip on reality; the desire to communicate one's own experience and sensations, to make one's self heard and seen.

    • Jean Hagen,
    • in Uta Hagen, with Haskel Frankel, Respect for Acting ()
  • The only thing that happens overnight is recognition. Not talent.

    • Carol Haney,
    • in James Beasley Simpson, ed., Best Quotes of '54, '55, '56 ()
  • The musician's enthusiasm greatly outweighed her talent.

  • Everyone has a gift for something even if it is that of being a good friend.

  • In your choice lies your talent.

  • Potential has a shelf-life.

  • We are all such a waste of our potential, like three-way lamps using one-way bulbs.