Talent

When people talk about someone successful in various fields, they talk about how “talented” the person is, how “lucky” they are to have such “talent” for their particular field.  And in some cases there is some truth to that, but only some.

Reality is a lot more complicated.

The thing is, there is no  “drawing” gene, or “gymnastics floor exercise” gene, or “basketball gene” or what have you. What there are, what “talent” consists of, is a lot of little things: fine motor control, eye-hand coordination, how fast nerve impulses are able to propagate, ratio of fast twitch to slow twitch muscle fibers, body size and proportions, etc. Or going from the physical to the mental and perceptual, it’s ease of memorization, ability to visualize (I can’t), a knack for spotting patterns, a good sense of shape and proportion, and so on and so on.

None of those directly translate to any particular skill but they can, however, affect to what levels one is able–with practice–to hone any particular skill and how quickly one can progress in those skills.

Since everybody not suffering from severe handicaps has some of all of these, anybody (same caveat) can, with training and practice, achieve some level of mastery in just about any human endeavor. And a person who puts in the time and effort can do a lot better than a “talented” person who doesn’t.  Because practice matters, a lot.

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The people at the very top will tend to be the ones with the combination of those various little things that between them make up “talent” for that particular field and who put in the time and effort.

Fortunately, most of us don’t need to be at the very top to be successful in whatever field we are pursuing. And there’s lots of room for successful individuals who are less ideally “talented” but who are willing to put in the work to succeed anyway.  Now, that varies from field to field.  Unless you have the reflexes, calmness under stress, sensitivity to “feel” what a car is doing under you, and so forth of a top level race car driver, you will never win a Formula One Grand Prix.  You’ll probably never be invited to drive one.  On the other hand, there are club races and other events all over the place you can be very successful at if you’re willing to put in the effort to hone your skills using the talents you do have.

Similarly, I’ll never be a Larry Correia–lots of work honing his craft and incredible talent as a story teller (which is quite different from an “author of lit’ra’cha”).  However, I don’t have to be.  There’s lots of room for us lesser lights to tell stories that people can read with pleasure.

So, if you feel so inclined, grab one of my books, kick back, and have some fun.  Such talent as I have is aimed at letting you do just that.

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3 thoughts on “Talent”

  1. Nod.

    I may have a “talent” for learning & using some types of computer programming and other computer tools.

    Yet, if I didn’t take the time to “practice” using this “talent”, the “talent” would be worthless.

    Like

  2. I have a bit of a talent for languages.
    I find it fascinating to watch people who seem to have no ability to match phrases in another language with phrases in English, no matter how many times they’ve just heard them together.
    I don’t know what accounts for it, but I believe it’s real.

    Like

  3. I’m very good at fixing and building things.
    I believe I have a talent for that, and I know that my talent was honed by a huge amount of practice, and no small number of oops.
    There is a large amount of truth in the Carnegie Hall joke.

    Like

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