A miser, to make sure he controlled all his wealth, sold all that he had and converted it into a great lump of gold, which he hid in a hole in the ground. Then he repeatedly went to visit and inspect it. This roused the curiosity of one of his workmen, who, suspecting that there was a treasure, when his master’s back was turned, went to the spot, and stole it away. When the miser returned and found the place empty, he wept and tore his hair.
But a neighbor who saw him in this extravagant grief, and learned the cause of it, said: “Fret thyself no longer, but take a stone and put it in the same place, and think that it is your lump of gold; for as you never meant to use it, the one will do you as much good as the other.”
Moral of the story: The worth of money is not in its possession, but in its use. — Aesop Fable, Sixth Century B.C.
The same is true of talents and abilities. Just knowing you have the ability means nothing. It is only in finding an application that there is any benefit for you or the world. What is the gold lump in your life that you have simply buried? That only you knows is there? Are you talented and broke? Do you have the “ability” to do something great but continue to do menial work? Talent and ability mean little unless you create a plan to engage those for a worthy purpose.
Mark Twain once said, “The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.” In the same way, the person who has unapplied talent is no better off than the person who has no talent.