Over several years I have slowly been arriving at the understanding of how dangerous and misunderstood the idea of talent can be.
Talent, the idea that a particular person has a particular gift; there are few more destructive, dream-killing, power-draining concepts. The application of the idea keeps me in my cage, serving other people’s agendas, eradicating my own… Along with my human-ness, for it is the natural existence of talent that makes me human.
Talent is universal, a sleeping giant present in everyone – and it is everyone’s challenge to see if they can awaken their giant.
I find that the mainstream view is that talent is something you either have or you don’t. And if you don’t, then you had better continue with your vain random search for something where you somehow do. I have heard this called the “fixed” mindset. It serves the purposes of experts who can earn a living from it, for as long as their special talent makes them essential. But it also serves my purpose when I’m afraid of exploring my own power. Maybe afraid of the repeated failure that is an inherent part of doing anything meaningful. Or maybe afraid of the confusing flood of emotions that comes from uncorking my own creativity. The absence of talent (or money or time – two other great examples) is a perfect way to disguise that feeling of powerlessness.
But if I can hold on long enough, through that dark uncontrolled fog of uncertainty and intense emotion, I might begin to realise my own potential and the breadth of possibility.
Talent is a human gift. I think we get it mixed up with skill. My experience of developing skill is a combination of hard work and, more importantly, operating from a place of curiosity and enthusiasm rather than desperation and “being better”. I don’t find it an easy mindset to maintain, as there are many influences around trying to proclaim my powerlessness.
For me, it is a long and intensely active journey, to perhaps begin to operate from a place of love, to perhaps begin to experience what I have heard lots of other people describe as “a sense of greater purpose”. I start with crappy skills, but I have had the best time of my life writing, drawing, making, and sleeping in the woods, to develop a set of crafts that I might be able to work with but are also just fine being themselves anyway.
But what was never absent, only ignored, was the essential ingredient – the universally shared, inexhaustible well of inherent human talent that invites in the infinite and the eternal, and makes me and everyone else a quirky sack of powerful magical energy waiting for the chance to be unleashed.