Talent or toil?

October 13, 2009

Talent or toil?  Nature or nurture? What makes people good at what they do?

The common use of the word talent to mean innate ability—something one is born with, like blue eyes or big feet—does a disservice to all who are good at what they do mostly because they worked hard to get that way.

Truly, some things come easier to some folks. But without fail, people who are most skillful at anything were not born that way; they are accomplished because they were willing to work with focus and commitment. To pay the price.

It is also self-serving to dismiss another person’s abilities as (mere) talent, in this sense, because it lets us off the hook. “I can’t do that because I just don’t have the talent.” Never mind I waste my time watching television instead of practicing chord substitutions.

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice. Practice. Practice.