Look not for the grand spell, but the aged grimoire. Powerful spells are short lived, attract attention and their users find a swift death. Aged grimoires are the sign of someone who has lived to tell the tale, not because of luck, but as result of careful considerations.
Look not for the blind follower of gods, but the quiet ponderer of nature. The powerful mage understands that she’s nothing but a conduit for forces beyond our understanding. The powerful mage respects the thunder before the thunder god.
Look not for those who offer cures for all ailments, for powerful mages understand that the same stomachache has different causes in different people. The talented mage learns to vanquish illnesses, the powerful mage learns to navigate life. The talented mage sees a foe to defeat, the powerful mage sees a network of lives, thoughts and wills.
Look not for the mage that moves mountains. The components for fire are everywhere and making a fireball is a matter of extracting them out of their natural states. The powerful mage works in minute detail to produce results without altering nature. Look not for the weightlifter, but the clockmaker.
The talented mage wrestles his food from a small, verdant patch inside a greenhouse. The powerful mage can be a permanent nomad. The talented mage has tamed nature, the powerful mage has aligned herself to it, with it, in it.
Look not for those who peek into the future, but for those who lament not remembering the past. The talented mage wishes to know what will be; the powerful mage laments remembering the future.
Look for the old in a profession where most die young.
And when you find them, ask not for power. They’ll tell you to be careful what you wish for.