The missing link between talent, vocation and skills

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Is it a realization in hindsight that we see our talent and our vocation are worlds apart? What about the missing link between talent, vocation and skills? How often do we get to see the identification and grooming of talent and mapping it with the right job? Is talent inborn or can it be acquired; in that case does it become a skill? What comes first- knowledge or skill? And what about abilities? Look at this interesting quote:

“Where the needs of the world and your talents cross, there lies your vocation.” Aristotle
vocational training

How do we identify talent?
Is talent inborn and skill acquired with practice?
Does our formal learning always meed the needs of the industry?

It may sound odd when I say that I was bogged down with questions like the ones listed above on a holiday trip to Gujarat. I was at Junagadh fort and looking for a tourist guide to show me around the place. That’s where I met Sandeep, a lanky 19 year old, lively, enthusiastic and a bit talkative. He hopped into my car saying he’s a good guide and I said fine, let’s go ahead!

This boy, in fact, turned out to be amazing and so talented!
The way he created interest, made me curious about all that was to see at the historic fort. The way he took my pictures with beautiful backdrops. His narration was entertaining as it was dramatic and sounded very authentic. He was pretty knowledgeable and aware about history of Gujarat, the tourism campaigns in the media and so on. His only worry was that he couldn’t speak English as he was studying as his medium of education was Gujarati.
No, he did not undergo any professional training for work as a guide; he told me that he enjoyed it and it helped him financially to sustain his formal education (he was pursuing B.Com 2nd year).

What worried me about Sandeep was the mismatch between his actual talent/interest and his formal education. Like millions, he may eventually get his B.Com and settle down in some job, if he’s lucky to find a job. But then, how would he get recognized for his talent – he was naturally good as a guide and with some professional training he could improve further and make it his vocation. I really wished that his talent gets identified and nurtured!

When I think of Sandeep I also think of millions of us in India who did not get an opportunity to map our talent with our jobs. Those who could do it successfully are the lucky ones.

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