Talent is everywhere and unfortunately everywhere is nowhere specifically.
Truth is: Everywhere around the world are people doing amazing things.
These people are dubbed talented.
But is it their talent that makes them produce such great art?
I don’t think so.
In fact, like many other smart people, I’m of the opinion that talent isn’t enough for you to create beautiful art.
But if talent isn’t enough what else is needed?
This is the central question I discuss in today’s post.
Stay on with me as I explore this, tell you why I think artists need more than talent and most importantly show you how you too can get the needed traits.
First off I need to make a distinction.
Different people define talent in different ways.
So, when I say Talent here’s what I mean:
According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, Talent is:
Definition of talent
1 a : a special often athletic, creative, or artistic aptitude
b : general intelligence or mental power : ability
2 : the natural endowments of a person
3 : a person of talent or a group of persons of talent in a field or activity
4 a : any of several ancient units of weight
b : a unit of value equal to the value of a talent of gold or silver
5 archaic : a characteristic feature, aptitude, or disposition of a person or animal
Now to the central question.
Why is Talent Insufficient?
Consider an athlete preparing for the Olympics, first off, to be elected to complete at the Olympics, you must have shown potential for success.
But what do you think those in charge of selecting country competitors at the Olympics do?
They organise pre-olympic games right?
Simple, they want to test and see beyond the potential of the Olympians.
Simply put, they want to be assured of success.
Now you as an artist is in so many ways like these prospective Olympians, you pass through tests to prove that you have more than just potential.
Only that in your case you are both the Olympian and the selection committee.
So what can you do to prove yourself to yourself.
Here’s a simple but not so easy unilateral route to follow.
1. Find your path: you’ve most probably heard the saying: “everybody has a talent, you just need to find yours.” this is very true but this is also where most people with talent are stuck. They haven’t found their path. They are simply meandering and gallivanting along life’s highway. If you are going beyond just having potential to actually utilising that potential, you must find your path. I like calling this path your message, it’s based on the fact that who you are is always intertwined with what you say and do.
2. Begin today and now: only the artists who has mastered the art of starting can ever go beyond potential and beat talent to success. Those who wait to get perfect before they can start never achieve anything just as those who are afraid of making mistakes. Mistakes and failures are therefore catalysts for success not mitigators. Remember, a guitarist who is scared of cutting his guitar strings never gets to the heart of the musical note, so does a painter who doesn’t want his studio floor soiled with paint. The obstacle should be the way not the hindrance. Delays are dangerous to creating great art, this is why I’m fond of saying: “if you wait, you’ll stagnate, start now!”
3. Continue learning: that you have done one or two things and succeeded doesn’t make you think you have arrived. In the journey of success, you need to be a ceaseless learner. Be hungry for more and more knowledge. This is the only way you can stay on top of your game. Your potential is limitless don’t let some level of success push you into resigning. Continue to learn and unlearn and relearn. This way you’d surely beat the potential of your talent because you’d have more than your talent alone possesses.
4. Search for piggybacks: right from medieval times and to the present dispensation, there’s one thing that has remained constant as a rule for success. No, it’s not talent, no, it’s not ‘hunches’ and other ‘aha’ moments, it’s what I simply refer to as the piggyback technique. The great Physicist cum Mathematician Sir Isaac Newton says it best: “If I have seen further it is by standing on ye shoulders of Giants.” Don’t rest on your laurels look for others who have gone ahead of you and stand on their shoulders. Personally, I am fascinated by the ingenuity of some great artists of old, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matise, Albert Einstein, Mary Shelly, Leonard Da Vinci, Mark Twain, and a few others, so I read books and watch documentaries about them. This way I look over the top from where they stood. Incredible right? Do same!
5. Be ever consistent: this is the only reason why talent isn’t good enough to guarantee success. Legendary Actor Bruce Lee in defence of ever present in action says: “Long term consistency beats short term intensity.” you can’t write a single article every week and expect to churn out the same quality of articles someone who writes one every day. After some time, the person who writes more consistently develops an aptitude for him. Excellence is not the fruit of fluke but it is a habit developed constant practice. Practice may not make you perfect, but it will surely permanent the skills in you and that’s all you need to truly succeed. Permanent skills, which you can draw upon anywhere, anytime.
6. Ship your products: now you know what you need to go beyond just having talent or potential or the ability to do anything in a special way but scaling the fear fence and creating beautiful art is not enough. It never is, it never has been. You need to go beyond creating beautiful art, you need to ship it. All art is meant for an audience. Find yours, and ship. The art you are shipping is never perfect, it is just the art of finishing and every artist needs to master this art before he can beat talent to true success.
Talent has always been a good catalyst for creating beautiful art but in itself, its insufficient. So the million dollar advice is: find your path, begin right away, never stop learning, look over the shoulder of giants, be incessantly consistent and don’t hide your craft, practice in public.
Sounds like a good idea right?
Now go and do more than the potential of your talent promises.
Question: what’s your take on this? Feel free to voice your opinions via the comments form below.