Posts Tagged ‘ability’

Don’t give up on your talent.

May 24, 2010

Whether you acknowledge it, or deny it, we all have talents.  Do you remember the first time you realized your ability?  I certainly do.

I was in second grade, and we had to write a short story based on a picture.  The picture in this case was a man cleaning up his yard, palm fronds were everywhere.  He had a disappointed look on his face as he surveyed the damage.  Obviously it was the aftermath of a hurricane.  Most of the other kids wrote stories that read like news stories, in a very basic way, of course.  My story was more like the War of the Worlds.  My teacher, Ms. Fitz, pulled me aside after class, and told me I should consider pursuing a career in writing.

That was the first time I had some idea of my ability in writing, and creative arts.  This kind of story is not unique to me.  Everyday kids and adults are informed of their unique abilities.  The problem is that throughout the years pressure from family to follow a certain path, and peer pressure from friends, keep our true talent under the surface.

I’m not talking to those who have the advantage of following their dreams without so much as a negative comment; I’m talking to those who have been told their talent is stupid, or worthless.  I was always told that my talents in the creative arts will never be able to pay the bills, and that there are always better people than me at writing, and photography.  I don’t deny that I’m not the best, I accept that.  So what makes a talent?  There are two ingredients.

The first is ability.  Some people say that it means you don’t have to work as hard as others, but that isn’t true.  I went to school with a kid who had a wonderful sense of humor, but he had no natural artistic ability; his older brother had that.  Every day, he would draw, and with a tremendous amount of hard work, he eventually became extremely good at drawing, even surpassing his brother.  He put his own sense of humor into his drawings, and made some of the funniest comics I ever had the pleasure of reading.

Just because you aren’t good at it the first time doesn’t mean you can’t get the ability, just work hard, and don’t give up.

The second is drive.  This part is even more important than a natural ability.  Without it, you will never succeed.  Think back to a time to when you first learned to ride a bike, or learned to cook.  Did you get it right the first time?  Probably not; no one ever does.  More than likely, you fell of the bike several times before you could stay up; or you baked a cake with two cups of baking soda, and two tablespoons of flour. (or was that just me)  In the end you kept at it, and learned from your mistakes until you got it right.

It’s a proven fact that you will only learn what you are motivated to learn, and that motivation, becomes the drive.  If you have a drive to do something, don’t ever let anyone stop you.  If you feel something is important, then that is what you should pursue.  It may take some hard work, but if it’s important to you, then it will be worth the effort.



Force the doubt right out

October 16, 2009

The question came up the other day, “What do I do when I start to question my own talent?”  And “Does anyone else ever go through this?”  My original answer was everyone goes through that, but after further thought, I discovered a common but little known confusion that changed my answer.  The confusion is this; talent and ability are two completely different things.

Talent is a natural motivation to accomplish something in a certain area.  Writers have a natural motivation to write; engineers have a proclivity for math, and structure.  You can have a talent to do something, but you may not have a great ability, which just means you have to work a little harder.

I had a friend in high school that was a perfect example of this.  His true ability was comedy, and writing, but he really loved to draw comics.  It used his sense of humor, and his writing skill, but his art ability was mediocre, so he would spend hours practicing his drawing.  Eventually, he became exceptional, and was able to draw comics better than his older brother, who actually did have a natural ability.

Talent can be such a driving force, that it can seem to be an obsession, except it doesn’t come from an irrational fear.  When I was younger, I was told that my drive to write was a waste of time, and that writing is nothing more than a hobby that only a few special people can make any real money, so I suppressed the drive.  Have you ever felt like something was missing from your life; like you are miserable, but you don’t know why?  This is what I felt like for all those years I didn’t write.  I lived my life by going through the motions, but they were just empty.

The moment I started writing again, it was like someone broke down a wall to reveal the spirit that had been blocked for years.  Many people say that if you don’t use your talent that you lose it, but it’s not true. You can hide it, and ignore it for years, but the moment you start using it, it comes back. While you may be able to hide your talent, you can’t truly question it.  What you can question, however, is your ability.

Ability, according to the “American Heritage Dictionary”, is the power to do something.  I believe this is one area that, at times, should be questioned. Questions can force you to look at your current level, and begin to seek answers on how to improve.  Those answers will eventually lead us to work harder at improving our quality.

In case you haven’t noticed, I never used the word “doubt”.  The reason for this is simple.  When you question your ability, you are seeking answers that can keep you going in the right direction, but when you doubt your ability, you are telling yourself “I just don’t have what it takes”, and that can lead to giving up.

If you do find yourself doubting, the answer is to keep going and “force the doubt right out” of your mind, it’s not doing you any good.