Is Talent A Myth?

For as much as it seems that talent is a real driving force that allows people to excel at certain things I am equally convinced that it is totally overrated. Sure, some people have developed a knack for certain types of things. In my opinion anyone can learn to do anything and in reality talent is irrelevant and a myth.
If you happen to be pursuing something you feel you don’t have a talent for then you will likely find this perspective encouraging. I for one have come to make a living off of writing; something I most definitely don’t have a talent for. As such, I can’t help but consider how it is that I have succeeded at it, and ultimately what the real formula for success might be.
The Real Factors
I was recently exposed to Coach John Wooden; the former basketball coach for UCLA and widely considered the
best coach of all time. This man is a true inspiration. Part of his coaching included some clear plans for how to succeed. He believed that the two most fundamental elements were passion
and hard work .
I find it very interesting that he didn’t propose that those with God given talents were meant for the basketball court. In fact, I find it downright motivating to think that talent has very little to do with it. The truth is that most of us would consider our natural abilities inadequate. As I reflect on my life and the notion of freelancing it is very clear that passion and hard work do indeed far outweigh talent – if it does exist at all.
Find a Focus
I believe that our best chance for success as self employed freelancers is to identify our passion and focus 100% of our energy on nailing it. I think we freelancers are already naturally drawn to our passions, but at the same time it is easy to miss the mark. For example, I work in the web industry and I was previously a freelance web developer. I love the web and I thought this was my only option. As it turns out I simply wasn’t all that passionate about doing this type of work. And this ended up showing in the end product and relationships.
Passion pays off. Talent in fact not only didn’t play a role, but you might say I was up against some personal deficiencies.
Eventually I realized that my true passion was more on the education and writing side; a side which simply has less money in it. But in keeping with my passion I was fortunate enough to be able to pursue it. And guess what, with some really hard work I have been able to carve out a niche doing exactly what I want.
Passion pays off. Talent in fact not only didn’t play a role, but you might say I was up against some personal deficiencies. If I would have considered myself good at anything it would certainly not have included writing or public speaking. And yet, this is exactly what I find myself successfully doing. My passion drives me to do it, and through lots of hard work it is paying off.
Stay Focused
Finding your focus is good, but often the hard part is sticking to it. Along the way you will be tempted to be distracted. But remember, that every choice you have about how you invest your time means you can’t do something else. Along my journey I have had numerous chances to take jobs that looked great, but ultimately wouldn’t land me the type of work I wanted to be doing.
Staying focused is hard, but every time you get an opportunity I encourage you to consider if it fits into your core goals. Just because something will make you lots of money doesn’t mean it is a good idea. Sure, there are situations in which you just need the money, but you should always push to pursue the things you are passionate about. You will naturally work harder, produce a better product and simply be more successful.
Talent is a Myth
I truly believe that talent is a myth and that skills simply come through persistence. I see this over and over in my life. Here are some of the myths from my life:
“Patrick is talented with computers and just knows how to fix them.”
Nope, sorry I actually went to school and got a degree in Computer Networking. Before this I was helpless at fixing computers. I paid lots of money and spent lots of time in school to learn how to do this. And guess what, I don’t do it every day anymore and I find myself getting less and less effective at this.
“Patrick has a talent for talking about and observing design.”
Again I went to school for this where I spent thousands of dollars and countless hours in class to get a degree in Studio Art and Art History. Through this I learned how to look at art, how to talk about it, how to classify it. Everything I do today in my books and writing is a result of the education I received. In fact the primary source of inspiration for my books was found there. My education changed my life, not some innate talent.
“Patrick has a talent for making things.”
As it turns out growing up in a house with an engineer for a dad really has its benefits. I was exposed to computers at an extremely early age and I was blessed with a father who was passionate about making stuff. He built our first TV from parts, remodeled the house, fixed his own car and built funky devices like one to connect a Teletype to a freaking Atari. I grew up with the mindset that you could make anything. This mentality pays off pretty well when building web sites and writing books, and has nothing to do with talent.
Skills, Not Talents
My theory is that skills often masquerade as talents, and can usually be traced back to things we learned through our environment or in school. Our lives can be very self fulfilling. In about 2005 I started Design Meltdown. Who was I to think I was an expert in design? Ultimately my passion drove me to do it and it changed my life. Interestingly it took me a long time to find my true focus and to fully embrace it.
I challenge you to find your passion and the path to success through hard work. Just make darn sure you stay focused on what you love and I am certain your life will be better for it.
From:Studio Advice

Temi Badmus
Temi Badmus
Temi Badmus is a Food scientist and an Art enthusiast. Her desire is to give a listening ear to people and to give an opportunity for everyone to be heard. Has any one told you that you are special? Yes, you are. You were beautifully designed, you are relevant to this generation and very special to me. Connect with me on LinkedIn

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