I’m generally the last person to finish the trek. You can ask my friends.
My first pick and speak at my office speaking club sucked.
I can’t run fast.
I’m terrible at drawing.
You get the point – I don’t have much of a talent. I even hate the word talent. Google says talent is a natural ability or aptitude at something.
Natural ability? Seriously? So it is all about being lucky? So you need to have it in you from birth? I mean, what can I do if it wasn’t in my genes to be able to play piano naturally? And whom should I blame if I’m not a natural tennis player?
While I was having a difficult time accepting this ‘fact’, I came across this article in Harvard Business Review that flipped my beliefs upside down.
It said that, the belief “Some people are born with special talents and gifts, and that the potential to truly excel in any given pursuit is largely determined by our genetic inheritance” is just a myth. And that there is enough scientific research that is challenging this assumption.
Wow, what a revelation!
I liked this. I wanted to believe this more. I read more. My belief that talent is not from birth/genes became stronger.
Today I see the world differently. Today if you come to me and say Sachin Tendulkar is a gifted batsmen, I will snap back at you to say “No, he isn’t”. He has worked it up from ground. He trains daily even now, even on Diwali, even when he is on a holiday. He went to play the world cup match the day following his father’s death. What does it say about him? It says – his love for the game, his dedication, his hard work deserves credit and not his talent.
You can’t tell me that my friend Rohan is an artist because of his talent or inborn ability. He has quit his job to pursue his passion. He does work. Shouldn’t you call that commitment? It is because of the work he does and not his genes that brings the art out of him.
With all that said, I can’t explain Mozart. And so many more. I don’t intend to. All I want to do, is thank Aristotle for what he said
“We are what we repeatedly do”
I will print and stick this on my wall of my mind and forget about birth-gifts and genes and talents.
There is this universal definition of the word talent which says talent is a natural ability to succeed. And there is my definition of talent where I say it is just a skill acquired over time because of the work and commitment. I’d like to believe in the latter. I’d like to believe I can do anything. I’d like to believe it takes effort and practice to learn any skill. Works for me.
You, what do you believe in?