Saturday, 28 November 2009


I get the impression some people see this as black and white. Either you got it or you don't. And if you don't, don't even try, coz you just don't and you never will.

I disagree. I think you can learn talent.

What even is talent? What makes it different to a skill? Everyone agrees that you can learn a skill.

Take dancing. If a kid went to classes and learned to dance, he'd have learned a skill. Take another kid. She's a good dancer naturally, without having been to any classes. She's talented.

Now imagine that they both took dancing seriously and both went to an arts school and ended up in the same dance class. Imagine for the sake of argument that they're both as good as each other. Now does is it fair to call only one of them talented? What changed?

It's like if you're talented, your skill is a natural endowment. Or you naturally have an aptitude towards a set of skills. If you're not, you have to put in a lot more effort to reach the level of the talented person. But, you can become just as good as them. Better even.

You can be the clumsiest person you know. But I believe it's still possible for you to become a talented dancer. I think it's totally possible that you can train your aptitude. You may not have been born with that aptitude, that affinity for timing, balance and posture. But the great thing is that you can change that. You have to believe you can. Positive attitude, determination. Changing little things in your life. Instead of walking down the stairs, bounce down the stairs on your tiptoes. Listen to music all the time. Tap your toes to it. Eventually your body and mind tune themselves into that whole dance and music thing, and suddenly you've built yourself an aptitude for it. You now have a talent for dancing because every fibre in your body is tuned that way.

So next time someone tells you you're not good enough for something for lack of talent, tell them to shove a cucumber down their throat.

Unless they're Arnold Swarzenegger.

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