My Autobiography: Of Valuing Security over Talent/Skills

We Indians have a weird belief in valuing security over talent/skills, while choosing a career/job. I am not saying it is totally unjustified, but there are always exceptions to it and parents (generally) don’t want to give priority to these cases.

Even though this post has been categorized under the ‘My Autobiography’ category, this is not about me. I have never been ‘exceptional’ at anything. This is about three people who studied in my school and whom I knew. 

The first guy was an exceptional footballer. The way he moved the ball, dribbled the ball, passed the ball, hit the ball, tackled the ball – in short his football skills – was excellent. If you see him play for 15 minutes, you’ll realize the talent he had for the game – you may not have seen ppl. from famous European club move the ball like he did. I know about his skills all the more because I was the defender while he was the forward, of my opponent team! Last news I got about him (before a few years), he is working in a Govt. company now. He was never good at studies.

The second guy – who was very good in studies also – had an exceptional talent for shuttle/badminton. He was an excellent attacker and his service was the best I have ever seen. I have played with him/against him, and he was simply unbeatable. OK, he was not as good as international-level players or anything, but could have easily been groomed into one. Last news I got about him – he went to a reputed engineering college, and then went abroad to work in some MNC.

The third guy – who was average in studies and my senior – was an exceptional marathon racer. The speciality about this guy is, he practiced so much and developed his stamina to a level that he could jog for 1800 meters and then SPRINT for the last 200 meters. IMAGINE! Needless to say, I have never seen him lose any long-distance race (school level). Last news I got about him, he joined the army and became a paratrooper.

If you notice all the three cases, except in the last case, we have failed to tap the potential (and skills) of people who were so good in certain sports. I am just talking about one school – imagine how many such students are forced into Govt. jobs and Software companies, in spite of possessing such brilliant talents.

No wonder our country returns almost empty-handed from the Olympics, every four years.

Destination Infinity

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19 Replies to “My Autobiography: Of Valuing Security over Talent/Skills”

  1. I do not know whether you know Sanskrit.In Bhaja Govindam comes this line
    udhara nimittham bahu kruta vesham.We take different roles for the sake of stomach.
    Where there is no patronage from government or where one is not born in an affluent family,one leaves behind these skills/talents in search of job.Identifying great talent at a young age and fostering it to grow can alone make such persons grow to their full potential.

    1. That used to be true, but these days – with Internet, mobile, etc. – a lot of opportunities have opened up. One can even learn a musical instrument online, with very less cost. There are free courses in Youtube that teach everything. What you say are true for activities that have age-restrictions. Like sports. But for many other things, things are fast changing now. But since this article is about sport, I agree with your comment.

      Destination Infinity

  2. I think it must be their family circumstance force them to take a job reducing the burden or parents who want them to go for only certain jobs those earn more money… and the schools also encourage students in sports only up to certain stages and its studies alone until complete the schooling. One of my nephews is a state chess champion and his school sponsors him participating in contest allover India and their parents are also more supportive enhancing his talent.

  3. In India, talent is wasted. No proper training and developing these young guys. It is somewhat OK now. Think about 30 years ago. Ramanathan Krishnan and Vijay Amritraj became world famous ranked players in spite of poor conditions.

    1. That is true, I wonder how they became so good and famous. These days, another trend is developing – whoever has the money, wants to splurge on specialized sports-training for their kids in spite of them not having the talent or inclination towards a specific sport!

      Destination Infinity

  4. While it’s true that most of the talent in our country is not recognized like it is in many other countries. Nurturing and developing such talents should happen from a young age. In case of your friends, circumstances could have led them to change their direction too… just guessing!

    1. Look at the first case – he was anyway not so good in studies. He could have been groomed into a football player and still hold some Govt. job for namesake (or salary-sake). If people were interested to spot (exceptional) talent, they will create systems to help. But our case seems to be very different.

      Destination Infinity

  5. Rajesh, in India we lay more emphasis on studies than sports due to the belief that academic qualifications can lead to better job prospects. Sports is seen as a hobby and time-pass and is never taken seriously.

    1. The times are changing fast. What is a secure job now, may not be so secure after a couple of decades. What is unsafe now, may actually yield better financial benefits, if someone is exceptional at it. May, not will.

      Destination Infinity

  6. I don’t know when the mindset will change. Every other person wants to become an engineer or doctor whether or not he/she is good at studies or even interested in studies. Even if someone is good at something other than studies, they are never encouraged to pursue it as a career.

    1. If someone is not good in studies, I don’t understand what is there to lose by recognizing their talents and encouraging them to opt for a career in which they are good at?

      Destination Infinity

  7. People are to blame. But not entirely too. When they’re not given recognition that is due, and when they’re not encouraged to take the road walked less, this is what happens.

    1. I think people don’t encourage others as long as they are sure about the security aspect of the career. But, when individuals are very good, are determined, and prove themselves in a chosen field, they generally relent.

      Destination Infinity

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