This post is adopted from an article shared by Rebecca Clark on the Nudge Village website on December 28, 2010.
In the book Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath, the author shares a story attributed to Mark Twain.
It is short enough to quote:
“”Mark Twain once described a man who died and met Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates. Knowing that Saint Peter was very wise, the man asked a question that he had wondered about throughout his life.
He said, “Saint Peter, I have been interested in military history for many years. Who was the greatest general of all time?”
Saint Peter quickly responded, “Oh that’s a simple question. It’s that man right over there.”
“You must be mistaken,” responded the man, now very perplexed. “I knew that man on earth, and he was just a common laborer.”
“That’s right my friend,” assured Saint Peter. “He would have been the greatest general of all time, if he had been a general.””
The author goes on to comment:
“This story illustrates a truth that is, unfortunately, all too common. Far too many people spend a lifetime headed in the wrong direction. They go not only from the cradle to the cubicle, but then to the casket, without uncovering their greatest talents and potential.
This is why it’s essential not only to discover and develop your strengths as early as possible, but also to help the people around you build on their natural talents. Whether you’re helping a good friend realize that she is a natural at coming up with new ideas, supporting a colleague as he looks for a better fit for his talents at work, or helping a young person understand that her natural competitiveness could be a lifelong asset instead of a hindrance – these actions will start to change the world around you. Every human being has talents that are just waiting to be uncovered.”