Talent is a Myth

Michelangelo: “If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all.”

I fervently believe that if you are determined enough and willing enough to put the work in, there’s not much you can’t do whatever others say about needing talent to achieve it. To me, talent is a myth.

Despite studying History of Art at university, it never occurred to me to try to paint although I did do a short spell of extra curricula life drawing to keep my friend company and I should have learnt a thing or two then as my attempts steadily improved, but sadly I didn’t. So why didn’t I try my hand at painting? Well no talent of course. My attempts at school had been woeful, no art teacher praised anything I produced so I knew it wasn’t worth pursuing. It just left me frustrated and embarrassed.

However, here’s the thing. Back then if I had been determined to learn how to draw or paint and put the time in, I could have produced work to be really proud of. And so can you. I promise.

Remember the upper middle class Victorian ladies who had to showcase their accomplishments to succeed in the marriage market? They learnt to sing, play the piano and paint and those that practiced hard did it really well and it was nothing to do with talent. Dedication and time produced the results. It’s the same for great sportspeople – their magnificent achievements are down to sheer hard work. I do accept some people are able to do some things incredibly well without much effort, but these people are few and far between. In any case nearly all of us are good at something but it comes to nothing if we don’t focus and practice. Passion and dedication take you a very long way but unfortunately most of us rarely see that bit, just the end results. We instantly dismiss the possibility that we could do the same. What it’s very much about is “how much do you want it?” and “what are you prepared to sacrifice to be that good?”

So, if you’ve ever considered picking up a paint brush and dismissed it through lack of talent, I urge you – think again!