aptitude useful for some activity
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Talent is generally considered to be an innate, personal gift possessed by relatively few people. In essence, someone with talent has an aptitude to do certain things.


  • Talent must be protected, especially if it's viewed as a threat. And what's more threatening to the status quo than a visionary?
  • Talent is like electricity. We don't understand electricity. We use it.
    • Maya Angelou (b. 1928), American author and performer. Black Women Writers at Work, Ch. 1, by Claudia Tate (1983).
  • Talent is always queer-tempered.
  • Genius … means the transcendent capacity of taking trouble.
    • Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881). Life of Frederick the Great, Book iv. Chap. iii.
  • To THINK BIG and to use our talent doesn't mean we don't have difficulties on the way. We will - we all do. How we view those problems determines how we end up.
    • Ben Carson, Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story. (p.232)
  • Anyone with a normal brain has the capacity to do almost anything, but when one has special gifts or talents (and everyone has) and takes advantage of and develops these talents – that person is likely to excel.
    • Ben Carson, Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story. (p. 160)
  • Access to talented and creative people is to modern business what access to coal and iron ore was to steel-making.
    • Richard Florida, as quoted in The Talent Mandate, (2013) by Andrew Benett, p. 3
  • Es bildet ein Talent sich in der Stille,
    Sich ein Charakter in dem Strom der Welt.

    Talent develops in quiet places, character in the full current of human life.
  • ...but talent is a dreadfully cheap commodity, cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work and study; a constant process of honing. Talent is a dull knife that will cut nothing unless it is wielded with great force...
  • Talent is that which is in a man's power; genius is that in whose power a man is.
    • James Russell Lowell, Among My Books (Boston: Fields, Osgood, & Co., 1870), "Rousseau and the Sentimentalists", p. 356.
  • I thought as a kid that talent was God-given, but it’s not. God gives you talent and you should use that talent with the real meaning of that word. I was stubborn. Maybe being young had something to do with it.
  • Medium talent.
  • Just how rare is mathematical talent? Many observers believe that such talent is indeed rare and that we now come close to discovering all of it. According to them we cannot markedly increase the number of Ph.D.'s in mathematics if we wish to maintain traditional standards — the native ability just isn't there. Others (and R. L. Moore might be in this group) believe that many more people could create mathematics if they had the proper instruction. It would be pretty hard to devise a controlled experiment to answer this question.
    • Robert A. Rosenbaum (1915–2017), May, Kenneth O., ed. "Chapter IV. From 1946 to 1965 by R. A. Rosenbaum". The Mathematical Association of America: Its First Fifty Years. The Mathematical Association of America (MAA). pp. 62–77.  (quote from p. 67) pdf at maa.org
  • It is a very rare thing for a man of talent to succeed by his talent.
  • Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see. With people with only modest ability, modesty is mere honesty; but with those who possess great talent, it is hypocrisy.
    • Arthur Schopenhauer, as quoted in The Little Book of Bathroom Philosophy: Daily Wisdom from the Greatest Thinkers (2004) by Gregory Bergman, p. 137.
  • A man with talent eats, sweats, and cares for his children like any other. And if talent is a natural thing, remember that water is also, and fire, and wind; therefore flood and holocaust and hurricane are as natural as talent, and can consume and destroy you.
  • Punitis ingeniis, gliscit auctoritas.
    • When men of talents are punished, authority is strengthened.
    • Tacitus, Annales (AD 117), IV. 35.
  • Every one of us is born with some kind of talent. In early manhood or womanhood each individual begins to see a path, though perhaps dimly, that beckons to him or her. All of us have this leaning toward, or desire for doing ably, a certain kind of work, and only want an opportunity to prove our capacity in that direction. These hunches, these signs of one's natural trend, are usually right, and are not to be thrust aside without regret in later life.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 777.
  • Magni est ingenii revocare mentem a sensibus, et cogitationem a consuetudine abducere.
    • It is a proof of great talents to recall the mind from the senses, and to separate thought from habit.
    • Cicero, Tusculanarum Disputationum, I. 16.
  • Occultæ musices nullus respectus.
  • Ne forçons point notre talent;
    Nous ne ferions rien avec grâce:
    Jamais un lourdaud, quoi qu'il fasse,
    Ne saurait passer pour galant.
    • Let us not overstrain our talents, lest we do nothing gracefully: a clown, whatever he may do, will never pass for a gentleman.
    • La Fontaine, Fables, IV. 5.

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)


Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).

  • The way to attain to larger gifts is to employ the gifts you have. Give Jesus the one talent, and then He may trust you with two. If you cannot speak glibly in a prayer-meeting, then stammer out your heart's thanks in the best fashion you can. It may be that your few broken words may accomplish more than another man's fluent harangues.
  • Men of splendid talents are generally too quick, too volatile, too adventurous, and too unstable to be much relied on; whereas men of common abilities, in a regular, plodding routine of business, act with more regularity and greater certainty. Men of the best intellectual abilities are apt to strike off suddenly, like the tangent of a circle, and cannot be brought into their orbits by attraction or gravity — they often act with such eccentricity as to be lost in the vortex of their own reveries. Brilliant talents in general are like the ignes fatui; they excite wonder, but often mislead. They are not, however, without their use; like the fire from the flint, once produced, it may be converted, by solid, thinking men, to very salutary and noble purposes.
  • The man that wrapped up his talent in the napkin and said, "Lo, there thou hast that is thine," was too sanguine. There was never an unused talent rolled up in a handkerchief yet, but when it was taken out and put into the scales, it was lighter than when it was committed to the keeping of the earth.
  • "Take therefore the talent from him." It is being taken away rapidly, and the shreds of it will very soon be all that is left. Your religious nature will finally become a virtually exterminated organ. The purpose you have at some future time to use your talent avails nothing. It is going from you, and, before you know it, will be utterly, irrevocably gone. My friends, there is not an hour to lose. Only with the greatest difficulty will you be able, now, to gather up yourself and open your closing gates to the entrance of God and His salvation.
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