I don’t believe in talent.
I don’t believe that anyone is born with a natural sense of colour, or with a natural sense of design. I don’t believe that anyone is born with a natural ability to draw. Or make music, or play football, or anything else for that matter. I don’t believe in talent. Particularly in relation to representational drawing and painting, I believe that the skills we need to produce beautiful work are learned and perfected over time, even by the ‘greats.’
I think that the greats are (or were) the greats because of two things: high levels of personal motivation, that helped them to keep working when most people fall by the wayside, and secondly, being lucky enough to find themselves in nurturing environments from an early age.
And the second of these is probably the most telling.
But What About Geniuses? What About Mozart, Picasso?
Mozart is often used as an example of innate talent. But he was born to a father that not only composed for a living, he also taught music. Mozart was drilled from a very young age by a father who was obsessed with seeing his son succeed. Mozart’s early compositions, often touted as evidence of his incredible precocity and talent, were certainly not great symphonies and were very likely edited and revised by his more experienced father. He didn’t compose the beautiful work we know him for now until he was a young adult, by which time he’d already put in thousands upon thousands of hours of controlled practice.
Picasso is a similar example. There are many documented cases of extremely high achievers being born into such nurturing environments, and much research has borne this out. But environments like that are rare, and not all people so luckily born will take advantage of their good fortune.
That’s why achievement at the really top levels is rare, not because a very few are blessed with a gift that the rest of us don’t have.
The key to success is hard work & determination
I was in two minds whether to post this on LinkedIn or not. Don’t understand me wrong, everyone is good is something and everyone got their on specialties.
Let’s think about it for a couple minutes. Did you ever thought; “no, I can’t do this, and he or she will always better than me?” The only things that can limit how far you can go from here is your own motivation and the amount of time you have to practice in.
I had to think about a beautiful quote by Colin Powell.
“A dream doesn’t really become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work”