Talent / Capability / Attribute
This refers to a person’s ability and attributes. To be specific, it has two meanings. First, it refers to a person’s ability to respond to and handle things. In this regard, such ability differs from person to person. A person may or may not have talent. There are people who have many talents, and there are also those who have one special talent. Second, it refers to one’s attributes one is born with. Attributes of a well-rounded person are close or even equal to that of a person with perfect human nature. People differ in views on whether talent is good or evil, just like their views on human nature.
Zhonggong, manager of the Ji family, asked Confucius about governance. Confucius said: “Assign administrative work to your subordinates first, pardon those who make errors and promote those who are virtuous and capable.” (The Analects)
Mencius said: “In a year of bumper harvest, young people tend to do good deeds; in a year of natural calamity, young people tend to be violent. Not that they are different in nature, but that harsh circumstances make them lose virtuous intent.” (Mencius)