A Little Inspiration for Your Week – Our special gifts

 In Better Life, Focusing on the positive

I was all set on my topic for today’s weekly tip, but then my daughter showed me a video about Derek Paravicini, and I was inspired to change it. 

Derek was born 3 months premature at 1 lb. 5 oz, and the hospital was not equipped to give him the correct oxygen doses he needed.  The result was brain damage that left him completely blind and severely mentally handicapped. He has trouble counting to 10 and taking care of himself.  If you saw Derek on the street, you would immediately know there was something wrong by his walk and hearing him speak.  It would be easy to assume he would never have anything useful to contribute, yet Derek is talented in a very special way…

Fortunately for Derek, he had the opportunity to not only discover this talent but to have people encourage him and help him nurture it.  The critical moment came at the age of 2, when his nanny brought an electric keyboard for him as a toy.  To her amazement, he started to play a tune!! Derek’s incredible gift is that he can play any song he hears just once, and he is pitch perfect.  His fingers fly across the piano keys in a blur. 

Today, Derek is considered a musical savant – individuals with autism who have extraordinary musical skills not exhibited by most people.

I was very inspired and humbled by Derek’s video. I’m sure there are many lessons to be learned from his story.  Here’s a couple that jumped out at me.

  • I was struck by how easy it is to judge others and to think we’re smarter, better, or more talented than someone else, when they’re probably better at certain things than us.  We may not know of their special gift for generosity, compassion, computers, mechanics, etc.
  • Also, it was a reminder that everyone has special talents, including ourselves.  We may not always recognize them, or we may not have discovered them all yet. It can be incredibly enlightening to ask a close friend what they think makes us special.  If we don’t believe we have our own gifts, we can never use them to their full potential.

If you find yourself judging others this week, remind yourself that they likely have strengths and talents that you don’t know about.  Also take a minute to ask a couple of friends what strengths and talents they see in you.


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Tina Hallis, Ph.D. is Chief Positivity Officer of The Positive Edge, a company dedicated to helping people and organizations increase their positivity to improve the quality of people’s work lives and the quality of company cultures. She is certified in Positive Psychology, an authorized partner for Everything DiSC®, and a Professional Member of the National Speaker’s Association.

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