Talent and Why We Bought a Lie.


Have you ever met a nine year old who could paint a beautiful landscape? No?

Have you ever met a three year old who could write a twenty-seven thousand word novel? Hmm, strange.

What about a ten year old who could sculpt The David? Or sing an aria? Weird isn't it?

Isn't it strange that people believe in the concept that certain individuals are drawn to certain actions and are good at them because of some inherent thing called 'talent' even though there has never been an infant that could do any of these things from birth? Isn't that strange?

Personally I think the concept of talent is just a way that humans put themselves down and convince themselves that they just aren't good enough.

I'm sure you've had this thought before: "I think I can do 'x'! But, oh no, I'm just not that talented." Do you think that was a real, credible thought which you made, or just an excuse your brain uses to make sure you don't do something that might be considered hard or dangerous?

You see, human beings don't like new things, yet we crave them. We want to be comfortable and do things that make us happy, but we don't want them to be hard; that would be too much work. It's the reason why we love rhymes and why those truly terrible pop songs are so popular; not because they're art or in anyway creative but because we want something new-sounding, something that has a little difference but not too much.

This phenomenon is actually found in nature as well. The male humpback whale sings a song to attract the female during mating season. The song is actually distinct to each pod and each individual, but when the male is trying to attract the female he changes his song just enough to seem unique but not too much to seem foreign or unattractive.

Humans do the exact same thing.

My g-d, look at the success of Justin Bieber, Katy Parry and Taylor Swift---not saying that there is anything wrong with these people and their music, not at all---you notice that they all sing in a similar style. Not only that but their songs tend to sound the same as well. This isn't a bad thing, in fact it's a very good way to make profit out of music because, once again, humans like repetition.

We want to believe that these artists, these actors and these singers are different than us. We don't want to know that they're the same, that ruins our image of them being flawless gods. So giving them a kind of special gift that they were born with makes them more magical, more mysterious.

Another example can be seen in the divine inspiration for a king's rule. The king of England is always crowned and blessed by a priest; the Pharaohs of Egypt were the living avatars of the sun god Rah; the Rajas and Maharajas of India were given their right to rule by their birth which was ordained by the gods. For it is not by his intellect or merit that a ruler may rule but by the will of g-d or divine inspiration. A king but have the grace of this kind of magic just as artists need to have talent. If they didn't, we wouldn't trust them or fully appreciate their art or.

Plato once said: " 'Excellence' is not a gift but a skill that takes practice. We do not act 'rightly' because we are 'excellent', in fact we achieve 'excellence' by acting 'rightly'."

Albert Einstein said: "Genius is 1% talent and 99% hard work."

Ralph Waldo Emerson said: "Every artist was once an amateur."

The first step to becoming an artist---or even practicing an art---is to realize that there is no such thing as talent. There are no fairies that will tap you on the nose and give you the ability to draw, no wizard that will teach you the secrets of the universe. There is only you. Alone. With a pen in your hand and a will to achieve whatever it is that you must.

Let me know what you think.


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