What is "Talented"?

"You're so talented!" I often hear this said to creative and productive people I know who make pottery, bake for a living, sculpt, paint, dance, sing, manage something, teach...  

I often wish there were a better word or phrase. "Talented" seems to fall so short of the mark.

What is talent, really? It is an inclination one is given early on, whether by DNA or environment. What it really is, is the seed of something that has to be watered and fed. 

"Talent" is defined by those early efforts to produce something with the blessing or gift one has been naturally given; it is reflected in early work that shows promise. But when a person has really worked that gift and built upon it, "talent" has shifted into something else, something much greater. Should it be called a craft? A trade? An art? A profession? A finely honed skill? Is there an all-inclusive word that describes all of these together? 

Is there a word you can substitute for it? I haven't found one yet...

Posted on December 31, 2014 .