How Do Ability, Skill And Talent Differ

What is the difference between skill and talent?


Yesterday, I received an email from my subscriber named Kate. Kate basically has two questions. First, she asked what are the differences between talents, skills, and abilities? Secondly, she asked a list of examples of talents, skills, and abilities.

First, let’s talk about the differences between the three then I’ll give examples of each. To make things clear, let me define each one of these concepts.

1. What is a talent?

Cambridge dictionary defines talent as a natural ability to be good at something, especially without being taught. 

In other words, it is something embedded in you since birth. For instance, if you have a beautiful voice and can sing well without having a formal education on singing, then you are a talented singer. Singing is your thing. Not all the people can sing even after attending a voice lesson class.

Examples of talent 

Some people may be good at:

  • Reading upside down
  • Singing
  • Writing novels, poems, and other literary stuff
  • Running fast
  • Play music instruments
  • Etc.

2. What is a skill? 

Cambridge dictionary defines skill as an ability to do an activity or job well, especially because you have practiced it.

In other words, a skill is an ability that can be developed through training. For instance, some dogs can do tricks. Some can even sing. But they are not born with those abilities. They are trained. The same thing is true for humans. We learn some abilities through training.  In fact, most of us acquired abilities from school.

Education is a good example of a skill development process. Before we entered school, we did not have any idea about mathematics, science or philosophy. But after years in school, we become good at many things.

Examples of skills

Some people are good at:

  • Working under pressure
  • Managing people
  • Analyzing problem
  • Imposing rules
  • Coaching
  • Maintaining schedules or time
  • Meeting deadlines
  • Doing research
  • Writing essay fast
  • Etc.

3. What is ability?

According to, ability is the power or capacity to do or act physically, mentally, legally, morally, financially, etc.

In other words, the word ability is broader than the skill and talent. Ability is the overall application or the capacity of a person to use his/her talent or skill.

It is a degree of performance the human body can produce. You can be the best singer in the world, but without confidence and self-efficacy, you find it hard to sing in front of people.

In that case, you are both talented and skilled singer, but you don’t have the ability to show it to the world.

Examples of abilities

Some people may have the ability to:

  • Work under pressure
  • Manage people
  • Analyze problem
  • Impose rules
  • Coach
  • Maintain schedules or time
  • Exercise daily
  • Meet deadlines
  • Do research
  • Write essay fast
  • Etc.

I hope that I addressed the questions correctly. Thank you for your questions, Kate. I appreciate it.

For those who want to ask questions, just leave a comment below or send an email to my contact form.

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