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Hello, sir. I would like to order some Talent, please

Posted by erinlausten on December 9, 2010

Words written: 45,598 Currently Reading: Writer’s Digest Jan 2011 issue

Alright, so I NEVER write three days in a row! And no, I don’t have the time for this, but when has that ever mattered? My brain is running around like ants on a snickers bar. Make it stop! Ah, well, what can you do but feed the beast?

It has been fun, getting all hot and bothered over talent. Read my last post if you are wondering where I am coming from, otherwise, I assume you know what I am talking about. Ok, so the topic is Talent. The original question of the hour started out with Talent: Does it matter? Can I, despite having a vertical leap that reaches a grand total of two inches, be a professional basketball star? Can I, without any penchant for prose, be a published author? Etc, etc… There are many that argue both sides, Yes, No, Maybe (wait, there are three options, can there be three options to both sides? eh..moving on).

This is fun! Great question. Gets my blood pumping. (maybe I’m burning calories? Maybe? Please???). Ok, so the argument is getting plenty of coverage, that’s awesome. I’m bored. Lets go a new direction!

Let’s talk about Talent! (No, I wasn’t kidding, this is new, really it is). What is it? People throw the concept around like we should know what it is. But can you tell me what it is? Where does it come from? Why do we have it? How does it work?

This article at Gallup Management Journal provides an excellent introduction. I particularly like the example they use to explain how to recognize it. For my fellow writers out there, I think it will ring true. They separate talent from ability by suggesting it is the whole picture, the ability to take the thing and pull it all together into a seamless, awe-inspiring delivery. Additionally the authors mention that Talent is natural. It is innate, comes with the package (sorry, can’t pick it up at your neighborhood super-mart).

If it is not about the mechanics, but rather how those mechanics are used to create, that is talent, how on earth does this happen? Are we born just knowing that X should go with Y at this time in this way? Fascinating! How does that work?

Amazingly it seems that we are woefully unable to determine if we are indeed talented. Case in point. I have a friend, who is one of the most beautifully talented dancers I have ever seen. But she makes herself sick over performing. She thinks she sucks, despite us telling her over and over and over and…you get the idea. Anyway, why is it that the talented can’t see that they are a cut above the rest? That they have something others don’t?  I think some do, but are terrified they are wrong. Others might believe it if someone else (someone that isn’t Mom, Dad, husband, dog, best friend, neighbor, teacher, etc) tells them. Maybe. Maybe.

Why Why Why? It is so unfair (stomps foot emphatically). Well, I don’t know. It might be nice to have a tag on my left hip at birth that lists out all those things I am good at (or will be good at once I stop drooling), but what fun would that be? Oh right, I wouldn’t be terrified that I have no talent. Ah… see there is the rub. Because I think I have talent. Somewhere, hold on, it’s in here somewhere.

Ok. So, I think I have talent–I am terrified I don’t. So my answer? Stop worrying about it. I do, I don’t. I will learn. Will it hurt? Maybe. Love hurts worse and that didn’t stop me from falling hopelessly. So I am not going to sweat it. I will let someone else argue over whether or not I have talent. I am going to just keep on writing, singing, dancing, laughing, smiling, telling people what to do, and all those things I think I am good at (Some better than others). And I am going to keep trying things to see if maybe there is some new hidden talent out there that I haven’t stumbled upon.

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9 Responses to “Hello, sir. I would like to order some Talent, please”

  1. William Kendall said

    Outstanding blog!

  2. Maybe it’s like intelligence. The intelligent person knows they don’t have all the answers, while the Village Idiot thinks he knows everything.

  3. Oh I like that!
    I remember an interesting thing that happened as I left high school. When I graduated, I thought I knew it all (how the world worked, what I was doing, where I was going), then after my first year of college I was terrified I didn’t know anything (spent a lot of time trying to prove that I really did), then as the years passed I realized I really didn’t know anything and eventually became really comfortable with it, that was when I was ready to learn. And now? Now I am ok with being wrong, knowing that tomorrow I will learn something new. This is why most of my posts have lots of questions in them, and far fewer answers.

  4. William Kendall said

    “Maybe it’s like intelligence. The intelligent person knows they don’t have all the answers, while the Village Idiot thinks he knows everything.”

    I like that, and it definitely rings true to more then a few people that are undoubtedly in all of our lives.

    I think at that age, Erin, when we’re coming out of high school, we inevitably think, “Well, I know all there is to know…” and for most of us, we quickly learn that no, we don’t.

  5. William Kendall said

    “I have a friend, who is one of the most beautifully talented dancers I have ever seen. But she makes herself sick over performing. She thinks she sucks, despite us telling her over and over and over and…you get the idea.”

    We can be our own worst critics, and that sounds like the case with this one.

    • The truly talented writer will always challenge themselves. They’ll always find something they could have done better. The person who lacks talent thinks everything they write is brilliant, because they don’t know any better!

  6. William Kendall said

    Well said!

  7. Becky said

    #1 – Norma is a GENIUS!! Can I be you when I grow up?
    #2 – We all have talent. It just may not be talent as you think of it. I’m happy pretty much all the time…and I think that’s my only REAL talent.
    #3 – When we are young we spent all our time honing talents that are worthless as adults. Seriously! What good is 15 years of dance training doing me now?

    • Becky
      I think you would be surprised by what you still have from the 15 years of dance practice. I played basketball and cello for nearly the same amount of time. I do not do either anymore. But, I learned alot about discipline, working through pain and frustration, and how to lead others. These are all things I use regularly now. Nothing from the past is lost, it just changes perspective.

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