talent isn't everything

are you talented?

Do you consider yourself talented?
What about the people around you -
do they see your talent?

Are you one of those people
who seems to be able to do
anything you set your mind to?

Or are you someone who struggles
through every step
of your creative process?

talent-envy

Whatever your answer to the above questions,
you can probably think of someone who is more talented than you.

Who came to mind?
Did you think of someone who seems to overflow
with natural ability?

Everything just comes so easily for her!
She doesn’t have to practice much,
and when she does practice, it’s completely enjoyable
because, quite frankly, she doesn’t have to try hard!

I have talent-envy:
this tendency to look at someone
who is just so good at what she does
that she hardly seems to be trying!

People look at me with talent-envy;
There are certain things I do
that come naturally enough
that I don’t have to try hard
in order to get good results.

But that’s just it…

the talent advantage myth

I don’t have to try hard to get good results,
and so, too often I don’t try hard,
and I settle for “good” instead of pushing myself to get better.

As a result, I don’t have much of an advantage
over someone who doesn’t have the same natural bent that I do.

My natural talent has led me to be complacent
and not grow in these areas of creativity.
More than that,
I have watched as people with less talent than I have
work hard and easily surpass my ability.

Talent isn’t much of an advantage.

I picture it sort of like a sprinter running a marathon.
Maybe she can shoot out in front
at the beginning of the race,
but before long she will give out
because she hasn’t trained for distance.
She may never even make it to the finish line.

It’s like the old, classic tale
of the tortoise and the hare.
Steady forward motion
is far more effective
than being fast out of the gate
and completely giving up a few steps in.

talent vs. practice

Another reason that natural talent
can be a disadvantage
is pride.

I had enough natural talent when it came to sewing
that I quit sewing lessons before I probably should have.
As a result, I had to take time later
to relearn things I’d taught myself incorrectly.

Because certain things came easily,
I bristled when it came to practicing
the things that didn’t come so easily.

Fortunately, sewing meant enough to me
that I overcame this fault
and learned to practice.

But even now, as I have practiced and grown my skills,
I have found that those who began with less natural talent than I had
are now my peers; we have equal ability.

forget talent

Whether it’s talent
or talent-envy
that you’re full of,
set it aside.

It’s too easy to let either one
be an excuse.

Forget talent,
and embrace the hard work
of practice.

Show up every day,
grow any talent that you have,
and don’t worry about who has more than you do.