Reflections on John C Maxwell, Talent is Never enough: Discover the Choices that will take you beyond your talent -Part 3

In this blog, I will be concluding my reflections on the Talent is never enough by John C Maxwell. Below I cover teachability, character, relationships, responsibility and teamwork.

Teachability Expands your talent

I will be the first to admit that being teachable is not something that comes to me naturally. God knows I have a long way to go for me to be a teachable.  I talk more than I listen. It takes me a time longer to admit when I am in the wrong. Most of the times, I use excuses to justify my actions even though I know deep down in my heart that I really messed up and the other person who pointed it out was right. I do not take sharp rebuke lightly, and I will mainly find ways to ask the person who brings the rebuke to use kind and soft language next time. This eventually turns the focus away from the issue of rebuke, to transferring of the blame to the person who brought the rebuke in the first place. John Maxwell, in his book, calls all the things I have shared to come from one place, pride. And yes! I have a pride problem that is manifested internally and externally.

If you are a person like me, who is not teachable because of pride, Maxwell, has some suggestions for you and I. We are not doomed just yet, we can improve and be teachable. First of all, Maxwell instructs us to admit our pride. This does not come easy, but it is the first step to our change. Secondly, we need to express gratitude often. We need to look at things and people that we are grateful for every day. If possible, have a journal where this is documented. Of course, you have to tell these to the folks you are grateful for. From a person who has a pride problem, I will also admit that this is not easy, but it is worth it. Thirdly, you need to laugh at yourself. According to Maxwell laughing at yourself ask as a sober reminder that you are not all that. The Bible has a good verse on it. It reads

‘Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you’-Romans 12:3

If we do these things, we shall start our journey of being teachable which has great benefits for us.

Character Protects your talent

‘character more than anything else, will make you a talent plus person. It will protect everything in your life that you hold dear’- John C. Maxwell

When I was reading this chapter, I was taken to the recent cases that have been publishes in the media where talented individuals in Hollywood, have been accused of abusing women. The cases keep increasing with more women coming forward to report the cases. The lives of the actors and musicians is over now. We cannot debate on the talent of the individuals implicated in these cases. We also agree entirely that the problem was not talent, neither was it circumstances as it has been argued by some corners, rather it was lack of character. Talent with no character makes one be deluded into thinking that ‘they are superior of expect special privileges.’ That is, they believe that they are above everyone and everything including the law.

The fate of a talented person with no character always ends in destruction, loss and sometimes death. It is therefore important that talented individuals consider building their character to protect their talent.  According to Maxwell, character comprises self-discipline, core values, a sense of identity and integrity. I would encourage everyone reading this blog to take time to think about these four key elements. How can I develop my character? Maxwell suggests that you can develop your character by doing the following: don’t give up or give in to adversity; do the right thing; and take control of your life.

Let this sink into your head ‘while your circumstances are beyond your control your character is not’

Relationships will influence your talent

Life is too long to spend it with people who pull you in the wrong direction. And its too short not to invest in others. Your relationships will define you-John C. Maxwell,

I would like to agree with John C. Maxwell that relationship have a very powerful influence on the talent of people. The people in your life, have a positive and negative influence on your talent and life in general. If you are surrounded by people with positive energy and optimism, your talent will thrive. But if you are surrounded by people with negative energy and pessimist, your talent will heavily be affected. I have had an experience with both side, and I will agree that my life improves in both physical and spiritual when I am with people with positive energy. I have also had friends who brought in negative energy in my life and this made me lack self confidence and confidence in my dreams, and it also drove me into stress and depression. It is therefore important to surround yourself with positive people not just because of your talent, but for your overall well-being.

Maxwell caution against critics, martyrs, steamrollers, gossips, control freaks, green-eyed monsters, volcanoes, sponges and competitors in our lives. If you want to know more about the categories I have mentioned, please read the book. One thing that is common about these categories is that they will make you feel worse about yourself. Relationships with such people feel as if someone is sucking the life out of you.

Maxwell encourages us to have relationship with people who: believe in your dreams, share your joys, dry your tears, give you hope, comfort your hurts, listen, laugh with you and show you a better way, tell you the truth, and encourage you. These are relationships worth creating and keeping.

One important thing that Maxwell makes emphasis is the understanding of the principle of reciprocity in any relationship. This means that both parties need to understand that they have to give and get. Where the relationship is based on side giving and the other receiving, that relationship is likely to take the natural course which is its death.

As a way of making progress in your life, Maxwell suggest that you do the following: 1) identify the most important people in your life. 2) Assess whether they are influencing you in the right direction: what does he/she think of me? What does s/he think of my future? how does he or she behave towards me in difficult times? What does s/he bring out of me? 3) If your friends aren’t friends, then make new friends.

Responsibility strengthens your talent

Life has taught me very well that if I want to make progress in any aspect of my life, I need to accept responsibility for my life. I need to take responsibility for my joy, my spiritual and physical growth, and also pushing for my dreams. These unfortunately I cannot delegate. I have learned that it is my responsibility to ensure that I am a person of character and my word and promises can be trusted. This has not been something that has been easy. I have had to invest to ensure I work towards becoming a person who takes responsibility. Before, I was always looked at someone or something to blame for my failure and took the credit for my successes. When, I was reprimanded for my action or inactions, I looked for ways to blame the person who reprimanded me. Even though I knew deep down in my heart that I deserve to be reprimanded but, I convinced myself that it was not my fault. As you might have guessed, my life was stagnant then. At the same time, not many people trusted me. I mean, who trusts a person who doesn’t take responsibility for their actions but always looks for excuses or someone to blame?

At community level, I always found ways to rant about social problems. Every day, I woke up I and joined the social media ranting party, to find technical terms and sound arguments to express my lack of responsibility by pushing everything towards anywhere else but myself. Until one day, I came across this quote by Alice Walker ‘We are the ones we have been waiting for.’ I will admit that I did not like this quote at first. Blame game sounded easier than taking responsibility. Eventually, I had to take responsibility and decided that I will work within my capabilities to address some of the challenges that bother me. I must say it has been a fulfilling journey. Taking responsibility is not as hard as your mind makes you think.

John Maxwell in his Book, encourages us to do a responsibility check by choosing friends wisely, stop blaming others, making tough decisions and standing by them among others, and living beyond yourself.

Team Work multiplies Talent

They are two key lessons that I have learned about team work: 1) you need people and people need you; 2) There is hardly such a thing as an individual success. These are also key issues that John C. Maxwell covers well in his book. I got to this realization when I was in the process of acquiring the UK Government Chevening Scholarship. With my previous applications, I was doing everything on my own, because my worry was on who gets the glory at the end. I was so absorbed in this idea of a superman who has infinite capabilities in everything and has no weaknesses. Clearly, I was very naïve. I realised that I had gaps in my life and I need help me. I had to approach people who I can now call my Chevening scholarship application team. This team included people who assisted me with the Chevening application documents, and a team that paid all the fees that needed to be paid. On the day that I received the Final award Letter(FAL), It was not my success, but rather a team success and effort. How did this happen? The team shared my vision and dreams. Most of all, they were not worried about who gets the glory at the end of the day. This example, explains better that you need people in your life, and there is hardly such a thing as an individual success. Even if you think of all those celebrities in different categories, you will notice that there is a team of people behind their success. You just have to watch any prestigious award show for you to bear witness to the fact that you need to have a team.

If you are a person with talent, but you have not contemplated on working with a team, this is the right time to think about it. You know your weaknesses. Find a team of people who cover up for your weaknesses and share your vision and dreams. Now that you have your team, you need to make sure that the vision of the team is bigger than your individual egos and hunger for the spotlight.


I have read this book and I find the issues covered to be sometimes commonsense. But commonsense is not always common. In my blogs, I have only provided a general picture of the lessons and my reactions to the lessons. I will encourage you to get the book for yourself to get a deeper understanding of th