As Brianna was preparing for her next interview with Henry, she thought about her most recent interviews. She had asked Henry to give her names of alumni from his foundation who were disappointments. When she did the interviews she couldn’t see why Henry was disappointed. Did this say something about what Henry was expecting from those he guided to discover their talent?
BH: Let me start by saying I don’t understand why you thought those names you gave me were disappointments? They didn’t seem to be disappointments to me.
HJ: Why do you say that?
BH: All of them led purposeful lives. They sustained and grew their talent. Sometimes they developed a new talent as well.
HJ: Then why do you think they were a disappointment to me?
BH: The only thing I can imagine was that they used their talent in a quiet way. They weren’t seeking recognition.
HJ: Are you telling me that talent can be a private quality? Isn’t recognition of one’s talent important?
BH: I don’t think it is. Look at all those people whose talent was only recognized after their death. I just don’t think talent depends on public recognition.
HJ: Let me ask you a question. Would you continue writing even if you had no outlets for your stories?
BH: Yes, I would. I can’t not write.
HJ: You have a passion for writing?
BH: Yes, I do.
HJ: Then which is more important: recognition or the passion to use your talent?
BH: Clearly, it’s the passion. Wait a minute. You’ve tricked me again. You gave me stories to write saying they were disappointments. You wanted me to develop my own sense of how to judge the use of one’s talent, didn’t you?
HJ: I plead guilty. And you passed my ruse with flying colors. I’ve found that recognition is often a destroyer of talent. Talent must come from an internal passion, not from external praise.
BH: I have to say, you are a strange interview, but I’ve learned a lot about myself in these interviews. Now could you promise to give me some names that are really disappointments?
HJ: Will do, but I think you will be surprised.
* * *
“Too much ego will kill your talent.”