I’m in the midst of testing out a new layout for the website and thought of writing something I encountered while teaching. I get this a lot from my older students. They would tell me that they are not talented and slow and all the negative stuff. I wasn’t a believer in talent and all I believed was that we’ve got to practice till our hands bleed to get better! Okay maybe not to the extent of bleeding but practice is a must.
As I teach more and more, my view starts to change. I’ve seen students who work hard with little progress and students who don’t quite practice but catch up with ease. Of course the practice methods matter a lot as well but since I can’t see how my students practice, I’ve got my own non-scientifically proven views on this talent thing.
‘Everyone can be talented except me.’ That’s what many people think I guess. We will not know what we are good at until we try (we’ve got to try things out to know if we suck at it as well)! So, if you haven’t started on something, you won’t know if you will be good at it or not! Instead, what’s more important is to know whether what you’re doing is something you want to do! If you are good at it after trying, move on if it interests you! If you suck at it at first but are still interested, work harder! If you suck at it and it demotivates you and feel like burning down the house, well, you can stop. If you are good but are not interested, I don’t know what to say! It’s really on whether the thing you’re doing is what you want to do and how you work for it. Talent isn’t just being good at something in the early stages. If one doesn’t nurture the talent he or she has, it fades. Talk to talented people and they won’t tell you that they didn’t work for their achievements. ‘How do you play over all that Coltrane changes so smoothly?’ ‘Oh yeah I’m just so talented you know? Nah I don’t think you’ll ever understand it.’ I doubt you’ll ever hear that as an answer unless it’s meant as a joke (or that some one is just being an asshole!).
I think the term ‘talent’ has become an excuse for people to not be awesome. ‘They’ve got the talent, I’ve got none.’ ‘He’s awesome because he’s talented.’ ‘I wish I was as talented.’ ‘I don’t dare to do it because I’m afraid I’m not talented.’ I won’t disagree that genes probably have an effect on what people are naturally skilled at, we must not forget the work behind the scenes! What if the ‘talents’ are actually not talented but instead worked their asses off to achieve what they have at the moment? Many people have chosen not to believe in work and blame everything on the lack of talent. That’s bad mmkay… I don’t question anyone’s talent. I’m more interested in the hard work they poured in to achieve what they have. Or maybe ‘talent’ is just a way of keeping write-ups short. ‘That chap’s talented.’ versus ‘He practices 49 hours a day and takes lessons from 10 teachers at the same time while having books for meals.’ I came up with this idea randomly but it’s making some nonsensical sense to me!
Different people have different talents. Do not forget that different people work differently as well! More so, different people THINK differently. Do not let your non-talent-ness bog down you! It could be that you had the talent but it was the negative mind set that screwed it all up! Why are talents mostly discovered young? That’s because young people and children don’t give a shit whether they’re ‘talented’ or not! They just do what they like and work for it without questioning! Just as the previous paragraph, what if they’re actually not talented but instead worked their asses off? That’s the awesome thing being young. It’s the mindset. If we can throw away our ‘grownup’ mindset and just go for things we want to do, there’ll be lots of asses to kick.
Talent is a gift. We can’t force talent but we can certainly work. Do not question your own ability and just go for it. Make the first step. Then the second. Then the third and so on. Think of ways to improve instead of blaming on the lack of talent. If you can hold on without quitting, you’ve got the talent. Yes. You. Are. Talented. Now go nurture your talent! Lets end this post with an awesome present I got from my student Dillon today!