If you are a big movie watcher, you may know that movies are full of great quotes. Funny, sad, or inspirational quotes are encrypted in almost any movie. One of my favorite inspirational movie quotes comes from A Bronx Tale. "The saddest thing in life is wasted talent. You could have all the talent in the world, but if you don't do the right thing nothing happens.” This quote is one of my all-time favorites. It reminds us not to learn skills, to have the capacity to fulfill a role, or complete a task, and not take advantage of those talents.
Many times in my life I have pushed myself into a leadership position or a task and once completed I saw how rewarding that effort was. A great example of this was my first welding job. I had been in welding classes at my high school for 8 months and was working hard to better my skills every class period. My instructor noticed my abilities, so he pulled me aside and told me to apply for a welding job. At that moment, I felt disbelief in myself. I wasn't good enough for a welding job yet, especially one paying $18 an hour for new hires. I did not have any faith in myself about my welding talent, but my instructor kept pushing me to go into this business and ask for a job.
After many conversations, he finally annoyed me to the point where I went to the business and met with the shop foreman. After a short discussion, he walked me to the back of the shop where he made me weld some small parts. After welding for about 5 minutes, he gave me some critiques on my welds and told me I could start next week. I shook his hand, told him thanks, and that I would see him next week. I walked out of that welding shop feeling like I was on top of the world. At 17 years old I had a welding job making 18 dollars an hour. That 18 dollars an hour did not last long though. I had started this job still during the school year, working after school until 9 or 10 O’clock most nights. Once summer started, I was working 6-4:30 every weekday, while still trying to hang out with friends and enjoy my summer.
Let me tell you, weld shops in the summer could quite possibly be one of the hottest places on earth. At least it seems like it when you’re there at the moment. After a few weeks in the summer, my foreman saw how hard I was working. He bumped my pay to $20 an hour. When I got that pay increase, I was like a kid in a candy store kind of excited. I kept this job and pay up until State Office.
When first being told I should apply for this, I didn’t believe in myself. If I didn't have my welding instructor push me to ask for a job, I would have missed the opportunity to gain work experience. That would have been Wasted Talent. What opportunities do you have in front of you that you’re not taking advantage of? Is it a niche for something that you don't think you’d enjoy? What about a leadership opportunity? Even if it's a career path, truly think about what skills and talent you have and if that opportunity is going to be worth missing. “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” - Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Don’t waste your talents