What exactly is talent anyway?
I’m a firm believer that talent is not something you are born with. You are only born with passion. Talent is how quickly your skills improve when you invest in effort.
As Angela Duckworth wrote in her book “Grit” (visit Book section for more info), “…without effort, your talent is nothing more than your unmet potential. Without effort, your skill is nothing more than what you could have done but didn’t. With effort, talent becomes skill and, at the very same time, effort makes skill productive…”
Talent is something you create. Using passion for the good, rather than bad, leads to improvements in your skill. Talent only reflects on how hard-wired you are. If you think about all of the talented people you know, the only thing that they have in common is practice. So they weren’t born with it? Of course not! These people that you admire for their talent have been practicing whatever it is for so long, that to you their “talent” looks almost second nature. They almost make what they do look easy. Let me assure you, they mastered their craft long and hard way, with precision, efficiency & most importantly of all, practice.
If you think that the only way to succeed in life is because of talent- change your thinking process. Excellence & success are not born of any particular ability, but because of practice. In other words, you can be good at whatever you want. As the saying goes- only practice makes perfect.
Come up with something that you love, something that you’re good at and transform them into passion. Commit to practice & perseverance. Becoming better at something, no matter what it is, calls for small transformation. Small steps will eventually lead to big growth. It is likely that you might experience disconnect right now between where you are & where you’d like to go. However, by setting small & achievable goals, you’ll gradually master what others should soon begin to describe as your “talent”.
“One thing I’ve learned is that I’m not the owner of my talent; I’m the manager of it” – Madonna
We’ve all been thru heartaches, depressions, unfulfilled aspirations & endlessly chasing dreams. The list can go on & on. Often I hear statements such as “That’s not what I wanted to do for a living”, “I regret not doing such & such”, “I wish I fulfilled my dream of (fill in the blank)”. My grandmother used to say that “worst things on the end of life are regrets”. I’m sure if you ask an elder or someone on their dead bed, they will share what they regret not doing. It only requires a little bit of effort, commitment & inspiration. Goals without diligence are useless.
Accomplishments don’t necessarily have to entail to promotion, productivity or profits. Sometimes the most fulfilling things we do in our lives bring very little recognition. Write down what your goals are or what you’d like to change or accomplish in your life. Specify time frame- if it’s now, within the year or long term. It is the list otherwise known as the “bucket list”. The same list that we carry with us most of our lives, reminding us of how much more we have to accomplish. It is important to write all of it down & place it somewhere where you can always see it. Don’t write things that scare you, but I do recommend confronting fear at least one time. Facing fear is essential for personal growth. Figure out what it is & come up with the way to confront it in a way that encourages you. Don’t be afraid of failure. The only thing worse than failure is not trying at all.
When the list is done put it somewhere. On the fridge, pin it to the wall, tape it to the TV…I don’t care where it is as long as you can always see it. It’s been proven that putting thoughts or ideas in writing contributes to its completion.
If you can’t come up with an inspiration, try desperation. Desperately try to find something major you’d like to change or something small to accomplish. Keep in mind, it’s not the size of an accomplishment but the accomplishment itself. The point is to get out & do something. As Nike would say, “Just Do It”! Shift to a determined, creative mindset. It’s been said that journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. So whether it’s a 1 mile run or preparing five course dinner- small wins & successes are better than no wins at all. Gain momentum by starting small. The smaller the goals- better the chance of its achievement. Try to find an inspiration in your rear view mirror. What life experiences or events from your past can help you move one step forward? What have you accomplished so far that can give you a jumpstart? Give it some thought. I’m sure you can come up with a list of examples. What if your life depended on it and in order to live you had to make one dream come true? I bet that it would get you going. All of the sudden you would find motivation or money to do it. You would immediately carve out time for whatever you need to complete. Absolutely. Frame your mind, have realistic dreams & I predict lots of successes. Despite of what Rolling Stones tell you, time is not on your side. The clock is ticking so no better time like the present.
“If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one” – Dolly Parton
Believing that life should be easy and straightforward often leads to dissatisfaction, un-fulfillment and sadness. You might find certain parts of life challenging where other people seem to sail through. Finding shortcuts in life can become a fault or character defect. Wouldn’t it be easy if there was some switch we can flip? An App we could use?
It’s natural to want the good & easy things in life without paying the price. We want to lose weight but don’t want to exercise or sacrifice your favorite foods- so we give up. We want the promotion but don’t want to put in extra hours or effort- so we stay in a miserable job. Research shows, that having a sheltered childhood that involved a lack of exposure to difficulty and challenge, often means that when we face any level of hardship in adulthood it feels unfamiliar and intolerable. Relationships end because they feel too difficult, careers are cut short when it gets too hard, family dramas that could be resolved are swept under the rug and challenging opportunities aren’t taken. Believing that relationships, outcomes, feelings, people and careers should be a certain way is one of the reasons why it becomes a road block when you find something challenging. We start to say “maybe this isn’t for me?” We have a deep belief that easy is better. It is not better. Success is not defined by “easy”. Every success & accomplishment has a price tag. You can’t just follow the yellow brick road. We want everything to be perfect. We want our ideas to be big ones. We hope to get everything right the first time. We want to make millions with the first business venture. We ignore the fact that we never owned a business before. We ignore the fact that we never created anything new before except for maybe a dinner idea. We ignore the fact that by expecting perfection we create impossible reality. We often think that since perfection will never happen, why bother pursuing an idea, so we don’t even begin. Be careful asking for an easy life. Easy life is not worth examining. Easy life creates a routine & monotony. Dreams have gone unfulfilled. Business ideas are not implemented. Relationships stay miserable. Friendships are undiscovered. Instead of making a huge splash, we just dip our feet in the water. No one’s life is easy. Not your rich neighbors, not your colleagues, not your friends, not even your social media friends despite posting photos and status updates that make it seem like their life is one big vacation. Instead of wishing for easy life, wish for skills to handle life. Problems will always going to happen. Be prepared to move a lot of dirt in life. Picture gold miners. The more dirt they dig through- the more gold they find. Bottom line- success doesn’t come easy- so keep digging.
“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one”- Bruce Lee
While growing up we all heard a phrase “Is this the best you can do?” or “Only a B and not an A?” Now in life whether we’re launching new business, new career or new projects we tend to get hard on ourselves & apply the same thinking process. As a result we end up being our own worst critics and enemies. We let fear & doubt to take over and we start coming up with resistance, excuses and eventually we abandon the project. More than once I thought to myself “This is such a waste of time”, “I’m not good with this & it will fail me”, “I’m too old”..Sounds familiar? I have mentioned this already, as soon as you start to think that something is a waste of time or you’re not ready, it means you should go for it. Now! So what if you fail. Failure is part of live and we are going to experience it. We have to experience it. More than once. There is no learning process otherwise. You will never learn if you don’t make mistakes. I wrote about failure in my previous blog.
Don’t compare yourself to others because you’re not them. You are you and your projects are unique and you came up with it. Stand up for your ideas & put your unique spin on it. Only you can see it the way it supposed to be created. So respect your desires & make it happen. Shift to a determined, creative mindset. You owe it to yourself! There are always lessons learned with criticism as long as it’s constructive. Learn from your critics. But don’t allow people who didn’t create or accomplish anything to criticize you or give you advice. Don’t allow ridicule in your life either. Remember, there is no such thing as perfect. You can always get better with what you do but you will never be perfect. Don’t let the circumstances control you. Someone said that fear is the enemy of inspiration. So sleep with the enemy. Have a relationship with it. Create smallest goals possible first. Aim high but start low. Series of small successes is better than no successes at all. And don’t forget to scream if it’s too much. But don’t be so hard on yourself.
“Success is falling nine times and getting up ten”- Jon Bon Jovi
It’s the F-word that everyone fears the most in life- Failure. Everyone fails in life. At one point or another, you’re going to suffer failure & disappointment (if you haven’t already). I myself failed numerous times. I experienced failure in almost every aspect of my life. And you know what- I wouldn’t want it any other way. If I had a chance to alter my past, I wouldn’t take any of it back.
Failure, as painful as it might be, allows us to unlock great potential. Failure shapes our character, our DNA, our core, our stamina. It resets our perspective on life, money, relationships, love, friendships, work…whatever it might be. Disappointments always have take-ways & lessons learned. If there is nothing to learn from the experience & it has no effect on you- it wasn’t as bad as you think it was. If you spot a potential failure on the horizon, let it happen. Let it crash, let it explode, let it collapse. You might cause more damage to yourself by changing a dynamic in the midst of it. But, it is entirely up to you, a person who failed, to see this as an opportunity to embark on a new direction.
Failure is the greatest teacher. You cannot live a life by always playing safe & staying under radar. It’s an uneducated & un-experienced existence. You are potentially repeating same unsuccessful steps only not to cause any waves. Accepting possible failure is a key to taking on a variety of challenges, whether you’re reinventing yourself by starting new career, new business, new relationship or even allowing yourself to trust another person.
I advise you to shake your mind & allow yourself to fail. And yes, you will feel embarrassed, especially if you are used to succeeding a lot. But there are no successes in life without utter failures.
“You are built on failure. Use it as a stepping stone and close the door on the past. Don’t try to forget the mistakes, but don’t dwell on it.” –Johnny Cash