I had a lot of leave days after the New Year and so I spent some time at home doing a lot of reflections. It also gave me time to watch a few of my favorite programs on TV. The challenge some of us have is that we subscribe to pay TV, however, we don’t get the best of it. We are at work during the week and during the weekends we attend social programs and do housework. The only time we get to watch TV is late night.

So when I took my leave I just decided I will enjoy DSTV to make up for all the losses.  I am addicted to CNN. In addition, my other favorites are Britain’s Got Talent, America’s Got Talent and Strictly Come Dancing.  I love these shows because they showcase a variety of exceptional talents. By the way, the winner of Britain’s Got Talent currently receives 500,000 pounds and gets to perform in front of the British Royal Family.  Some of the acts displayed on these shows are so amazing that they often leave the judges and audience spell bound.   I wonder how these performers are able to unearthed, nurture and showcase such amazing talents.

Anyone who knows the Judges of these Talent shows must know Simon Cowell, the millionaire, creator of many entertainment properties including the Got Talents shows. Simon is the most fearless and fiercest critique you can find on any show. It was very impressive to see the performers thrill the audience and judges including Simon with so much excitement, innovation, gallantry and audacity. Some of the performers displayed a variety of acts which were simply wonderful and mind boggling. Some of the acts were very risky and difficult to pull together.

For example one of the shows had an old man who could play the piano with his legs. His head was on the floor and his legs played the piano. A couple broke a line up of blocks which had been piled and lined up. There were very rare magical displays like a man who brought a big doll, put it in a box and cut through it and it came out as a human being. The judges were shocked and said they had never seen anything like that.   I have seen people play with arrows to hit targets, dancers who hang in the ceiling; some have done acts with fire, arrows, puppets, dogs. One that I found really amazing is a woman who used both legs as puppets.   I have seen an 80 year old couple do a rap song which received a standing ovation.

Although I was thrilled and excited watching the show I felt very sad. The sadness came unannounced and moved me to do a lot of reflection. I began to think about Ghana. If we had a talent show today called Ghana’s Got Talent what kind of show will it be? How rich and diverse will it be and most importantly how exciting will it be. Please don’t tell me people will come and sing and dance adowa or agbaza and kpanlogo. We have seen enough of it. Most of the talent shows we hold in Ghana is a gathering of average singers and dancers. The shows normally lack the richness, depth and diversity you expect from a Talent show.  There are a few exceptional ones though but apart from singing it is rare to see anything shockingly amazing.

How do people acquire such talents and why can’t we do same in Ghana. I think that the main difference is that these western countries respect other people’s unique gifts and they make them feel appreciated. In Ghana anything that is different receive a frown.  When performers mount the stage in Ghana the way they are received could be discouraging.  Sometimes MCs of events have to beg people to clap.  It is also obvious that people spend years sharpening and growing their talents. Here we are prepared to present just anything to make ourselves happy.  

I define talent as a unique gift, skill or ability that you possess that sets you apart from other people. I am not talking about academic qualifications. To be able to nurture unique talents you have to think and act differently. Doing the everyday things will not get you anyway.  Talent is sharpened through constant training, nurturing and fine-tuning. With time it grows beyond your personal and family consumption and can be used for the benefit of the larger community, nation or the entire world.  The 48 year old Susan Boyle from Scotland is a classical example of when “Preparation of talent meets opportunity.  Her auditioning song “I Dreamed a Dream” in Britain’s Got Talent shot her to fame and made her a star overnight. Nobody gave her any chance but her 1999 rendition of “Cry me a river” was watched over a 100 million times. Nobody can hide an exceptional talent, it will speak loudly through the noisy areas and shine brightly through the darkness. Since we are in the football season the Ayew brothers’ skills in football is another classic example.

So I ask that question again. What is your talent or unique gift? If I put a million cedis down for you to do a performance what will you do to win that prize? I believe that every human being has a unique talent but must first find it, grow it, nurture it, polish it and showcase it for the benefit of the greater good of humanity and for financial rewards.  Once you get there you can now commercialize it and “chop” from it.  Who knows it could be a million cedis.