Natural talent works well as a scapegoat and defense for one to protect themselves from the real world. To say someone is naturally talented is to say that no matter what efforts you exert, they will forever prove themselves better. Which is to say that they didn’t earn what they have. What utter idiocy. It’s a matter of being curious, answering questions which invoke inspiration and joyous hard work. That is where true natural talent lies.
I am not naturally talented. Nor are you. I’d say you’re better than that.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m in no doubt that you’re a talented, intelligent and creative person. What I do doubt, however, is the idea of such skills being given at birth. I doubt that our ability to draw like this or write like that is something that we don’t work for, but is something that just comes into us out of nothingness. I say you earned the skills you have. Hence you being better than that.
What I know though, is that you were given that which has been the driving force behind everything creative we, as a species, has ever done that is worth mention – curiosity.
All of those whose careers revolve around
creative thought are continuously curious
We’ve all curious about something. For some, to ask the question ‘why?‘ is to give ourselves happiness
We are born curious, this is what’s natural. Some of us are taught to stop asking questions because it’s annoying, others might not find the answers they want so give up. Either way, questions and probing becomes something of a lost art for some.
They are more curious and
are the ones who have an interest in a field
Those that may appear to be naturally talented are more likely to be those who are more inquisitive. They are more curious and are the ones who have an interest in a field that allows them to constantly ask questions. They haven’t forgotton how important they are.
To say a skill rather than curiousity comes naturally is to diminish the work those deemed naturally talented have done—and it demeans the work and effort you’ve put into your own craft, your own questions. It is saying that no matter how hard you work, they will always best you.
So what? Doesn’t mean they’re talented.
If we’re all curious and apply our questions to a field of which we are passionate, the questions and thought isn’t really work—it’s fun and exciting and gets our hearts pumping and minds ticking. It gets us high and drunk on questions and knowledge.
Which naturally results in our free time being spent on asking our questions for leisure.
The illustrator enjoys spending their free time working out how best to bring his subject to life, drawing the same lines over and over. The designer will design for clients that don’t exist. The photographer will never leave home without a camera. It’s constant practice. It’s hard work. But it isn’t work like most others would think of, not for them. For them, it’s joyous.
They probably ask more questions of themselves
The constant asking, and more importantly, the constant attempt to answer these questions, means they are practicing their craft, even if they don’t realise it or are doing so intentionally.When you sit down with a creative who is so good at what they do in spite of whatever predefined criteria you hold in your thoughts, remember they aren’t naturally talented – they probably ask more questions of themselves.
Which, luckily, is easily solved, isn’t it? It isn’t hard to ask questions.
Here’s the kicker, as there is always a kicker – through environment, practice, their diet, an article they’ve read, song they’ve heard or thought they’ve had, they might be better at answering questions than you. This is where the naturalness of it comes in. Sometimes what appears to be a natural talent is something they’ve picked up from their environment. They’ve put themselves in the right places and fed themselves the right information.
There’s also the fact that some brains are just going to be better wired to solve certain problems – it’s why some of us prefer artistry over math. It’s just easier for us to solve certain kinds of abstract questions. There is nothing we can change about that. But just because you work through problems systematically, doesn’t mean you can’t solve those rooted in the abstract. It just means you’ll approach them from a systematic point of view, giving you a unique answer, based on how your mind ticks. It’s a matter of learning how best you work and developing those skills.
You need to work for the solution and hone your skills
The truth is, in spite of our ability to solve a certain kind of problem more easily than we can solve others, it does not mean that any less work needs to be done. If you’re solving something that you’re naturally curious about, then chances are your brain is wired to solve that kind of problem, but you need to work for the solution and hone your skills to allow you to answer such questions swiftly and effectively.
So do what you can to build up your environment, that which you absorb and think about and see, to help you become better at answering and pulling apart what it is that you find interest in.
There must always be moments of education. There must always be a point at which our brains absorb some knowledge about the problems we want to answer from our environment. For most, this is what inspiration is.
To give our selves these moments of education, we must be opened to them. We must learn what we can from everything we put our minds and attention to. And we must actively want to learn, through deliberate actions like research and thought and other wilfull efforts. Read everything you can get your hands on to do with your topic, listen to every interview and watch every documentary on even that which is only remotely related to your field and you will be constantly having these lessons.
It’s good practice to constantly ask questions
And what you learn will come to you at the most interesting of moments. While you search the recess’ of your memory in the hopes of finding an answer to the question which lays before you, you will begin to make connections between that interview and that documentary. Which both may go on to mix with a beautiful illustration you saw and dance to the tune of a song that left an impression upon you.
With this inspiration, this knowledge, it becomes important to rehearse. It’s good practice to constantly ask questions (which may come in the form of discussion with others, generating fake clients and jobs or producing work for yourself). Because of all of that research done, and your natural curiosity, the questions will be yours, not those of others.
If you want to be better than someone at solving their curiosities, then forget it. If you try to be, their talents will forever seem to come naturally. They produce the work they do, answer the questions they have, because of who they are, what they’re surrounded by and what they take in. Just like you do, just like we all do. So don’t look at the work of others and say to yourself “I want to be that, that is where I should be”.
Of course their answers will seem natural, the questions are from what makes them who they are. Their answers to their questions will fit them perfectly because it all comes form the same place. Why would you expect to be able to answer their questions as well as they can? It helps little to compare yourself to another and their achievements and skills. Don’t compare yourself to others.
If you want to be better than what you currently are, answer your own questions. Answer that which makes you curious, not what makes someone else ponder for a moment.
Once you’re answering your own questions, figuring out the problems that get you excited, you’ll need to practice. Over and over and over and over. Work hard and tirelessly – if it is for something you are naturally curious about, then you will never grow weak and never quench your thirst.
The answers will be a reflection of you
And because the questions are of something you hold a little love for, they, as well as the answers, will be a reflection of you. And you will answer them with practiced skill. So perhaps they will come naturally, so to speak.