Talent Schmalent

It drives me crazy the way people use the world 'talent'.
"Oh, you're so talented," is a common phrase. It implies that there was no hard work involved in whatever endeavor is being referred to. It just happened, easily and without effort.  That is often far from the truth.
According to dictionary.com, talent is defined as:
'a special natural ability or aptitude, a capacity for achievement or success, ability'.

I have taught art to hundreds, no, thousands, of kids over the past 20+ years.  I have seen a lot of talented artists. As far as I'm concerned, talent may be there, but it's only a small part of the equation. It means absolutely nothing if you don't use it, nurture it, and WORK HARD. What's more important is that you enjoy doing whatever it is, or get some satisfaction from the process, or from the end result.(This is where the discussion gets interesting, I think. Is it the process, or the striving for perfection that keeps you going? I might give you a different answer at any given moment, depending on my excitement or frustration level with what I'm working on.) Otherwise that talent will never be explored, and will just wither away.Or maybe sit there, dormant, for years, til at some point the stars align, and it gets tapped into.
People often say 'you have such talented children'. Well, they work really hard at what they love to do. Is that what makes them talented?

 The chair and table above were made by my son William.

And these character drawings were by my daughter Sophie.
I am not at all proud of their talents, but grateful they have each found something they love to do, and so very proud of how hard they work at doing it.
What is your relationship to this word, 'talent'?


  1. Thank you for this thoughtful post. Your being proud of how hard your children work at doing what they love, is RIGHT ON TARGET. Especially if it is something constructive rather than destructive, something that adds beauty to the world rather than subtracts from it. So much talent is inherited, and it makes as much sense to get credit for latent, undeveloped talent, that isn't serving the world in any way, as it does to be praised for being blond or having ten fingers.

  2. I agree talent isn't it it's about desire. You have to put in your 10,000 hours!> Lisa

  3. Yep. I agree with you both, above.
    But people always say, "You are so talented!" I think they often use it as an excuse NOT to do something themselves.(I can't do that, I don't have the talent it takes.) Hmmm.


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