I always loved to read other people’s work and to follow what they’re doing. Writers, poets, novelists, journalists and lately, bloggers too. I had and still have some favorites, and when I read or saw them, I always thought: how do they do it? How do they do it so damn good? This is what I wanna do, too. But they are talented. While I’m just rather stubborn and curious.
But this was a long time ago. When I happened to be so small-minded and/or biased to believe and accept this as the only explanation: talent. Whereas now I tend to believe less and less in talent – which in itself means not much, almost nothing. Maybe those that I admired weren’t even talented. Maybe they were just far more stubborn and curious than me – they knew what they want. They didn’t trust chance.. or talent.
Now I’m familiar with the answer for ‘how they do it’: hard work, resoluteness, ambitions, looking for possibilities, and perhaps most importantly – learning and improving all the time.
I hear a lot people saying that they really want to be like others in certain areas (those that already achieved a lot), they want to do what they do, achieve what they have achieved. Just like I hear them saying: but I’m not this type of person, I couldn’t do what he/she does, or I wouldn’t be so good at it, I’m not that talented/skillful /having the right genes for that/etc. like they do.
Talent is extremely overrated. I know so many talented people who didn’t take advantage of this gift they had, because all they did was waiting for something to happen, they believed that something has to happen anyway, just because they’re talented. But guess what had happened? Nothing. Because they didn’t do a thing to make that thing happen.
Elizabeth Gilbert also writes about this in Big Magic, that so many people are afraid to create for this reason. So many people are afraid to even start for this very reason. When it’s such a selfish thing: holding back, hiding this gift you were given from the world, from your surrounding, this gift which makes it possible to gift others as well. Whatever it is. Because I also believe that we all have some kind of plus in us. And this belief is not naivety. I’m not saying that everybody is born as a genius or an artist. I only say that we all carry something in us, a plus: somebody is good at playing music, somebody makes beautiful pottery, somebody makes delicious pastry and somebody draws penises on walls (this last is actually an example from Gilbert’s book, not mine, and she knows something for sure.. so with this I want to emphasize that it can be really ANYTHING). So just because you won’t be the next Jimi Hendrix, play that guitar! Make that pottery! Cook that pastry! Draw that penis on the wall! If that’s what makes you happy.. (the competition must be little in the last case anyway).
The point is: the fact that somebody is better at something doesn’t mean that you can’t be good at it as well. And if you think about it, they didn’t get there in one week neither..
The fear that others are better at something as you equals the fear of creativity. And the world needs your creativity.
On the other hand: we need others to guide us, so we should be grateful that there are better and more experienced people in our areas out there.
I listen to my inner urges very carefully lately and until now they only led me to the right paths. Even if I did try to ignore it, I only hurt myself and my surroundings. Now I know that not only I don’t want to ignore this feeling, but I can’t. This feeling won’t go away. Ever. It’s stronger than anything I’ve ever experienced. Ignoring it only leads to frustration, jealousy and sadness.. and to the feeling that you’re life is not complex. That something is achingly missing.
Are you familiar with the story of the man who prays every single day to a holy statue, because he wants to win the lottery so badly? He says: “Please, please, please, help me to win the lottery!” And this goes on for a certain time, until one day the statue speaks up: “Please, please, please, fill out a freaking coupon!”
Don’t be like that fool, who didn’t even fills out a coupon which could actually lead him to reward. We all have the coupons – in a sense we are the coupons -, the only question is whether you are brave enough to fill it out? I did. In fact, I fill out one every day with what I do.
So, if I can give any advice for those feeling that plus in themselves, some kind of inexplicable urge, is that don’t shrug it off, rather spend your time with it and don’t be afraid to show it. Don’t listen to others, only to your inner voice. There’s no better adviser, believe me. Invest your time and energy in the things that really matter to you or the thing that helps you to get further to your goals. Not in something that others expect you to do or in the worse case: what you expect from yourself. Be brave to make mistakes, but always learn from them.
I think this process looks like the lyrics of the well-known Fort Minor song: this is ten percent luck, twenty percent skill, fifteen percent concentrated power of will, five percent pleasure, fifty percent pain, and a hundred percent reason to remember the name. Kind of.
(Images from: Weheartit, Pinterest)