Tip: My view on the concept "talent"

ah this topic keeps coming back :)

Don’t forget that the ability to learn things in a better or quicker fashion, is an ability you learn.

I can draw a little. Some said it was talent. Talent my mother has.
I can draw because I saw my mother do it, she knew how to stimulate me to draw more and she knew how to improve me.

As this stage faded, the stage of “inspiration” grew; Passion is contagious.
Subconciously you might see it as some kind of “norm” and you pick this path.
Kids can be naive but they set pretty clear paths for themselves. Observe their determination.
"I’m going to be a … or the best … the champion in … "
When you learn to progress; you enjoy the feeling of gratification.
You will feel it when learning guitar, drawing or learning to run 10 miles.

I rather believe in genetics that have a more broad and less specific impact.
When you have children, especially when you have more than one so you can compare, you might believe it even more. You notice how differently kids deal with progressing. You discover how their balance of gratification, learning, listening, frustration, pride and “limiting fear to deliver because of perfectionism” are variables in their progress and more importantly, PASSION.

I believe I was born with zero “talent” and that talent is a word made up by people who needed an excuse to compare themselves with others.

Your passion might be something else than what you’re best/good at.
My passion is to bring emotion to people, to entertain them.
I’ll never get any good at it but I just LOVE to try.
I’ll never be a remarkeable guitarist or singer either but I love the feeling it gives ME.

but everything I ever did, was based on experience.

That’s not a talent either.
enjoying what you do is one of the factors that make up a healthy psyche.

Every entertaining story has a bad joke to compensate for it
Every decent song has more than 20 butchered versions in my history.

The more you’re ok with being sucky at times, the less perfectionism will slow you down.
that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have standards and goals.

It must be a giant morale boost though, being convinced you have a talent.
but I think it’s those people who are even more prone to crippling perfectionism.
I’ve seen what it can do and it takes away a lot of fun.
Perhaps these people might have less patience with theirselves?
Having lower expectations makes the results more surprising I guess

So yeah, I’m in the "there is no talent camp"
…and you’ll have to be a very talented guy to convince me the opposite is true ;)


A big part of Success comes when listening a lot.
To music
To yourself
To others
listen so much, that you know what is useful and what is not
What is just opinion but also with an essence.
Listen to the ingorance of others and learn to identify it.
Learn from another persons mistake.
Some will be humble and come forward with it.
Some will be in denial.
Ether way, you’ll learn from it as well.

I have no excuses.
If I worked harder; I’d probably be twice as far as I am now.
I learned most my current skill when the information age was finally peaking while the distraction age was still to be developed. And still I’m where I am
I have the means to buy the gear I need and I have most of what I want .
I was never rich but at the same time I’ve always been rich.
I feel richer every time I learn something new.
I have nobody to blame when I slack and I’ve earned enough support to have people with expectations that meet a certain standard.

“Luck” is another thing you can blame and I agree, you need some. But the more you do yourself, the less “luck” you need.

True, I had to work to achieve that but in my own perspective I’m an astronaut on the moon gazing at the stars. Most of the work was play
When you’re passionate, most of it will remain play

Passion is the closest thing to success.
Being passionate about something already is a certain form of success.
It means that you bonded with something and created a system that creates energy while you put energy in it. It’s 100% NO guarantee but it’s closer to the moon that the “Talent” label that keeps your feet on the ground.

I used to discuss what talent is but I gave up on that
At a certain moment a few people said “I am talented”.
I started playing for real 12 years ago on this very site.
I never felt talented. I was laughed at when I brought a guitar home I borrowed from a friend.

I paid much attention to the layering. Justin’s program does that.
Build layer over layer.
The wider the bottom layer, the more space you have to build upon.
Don’t waste your time laying an endless bottom layer. A good pyramid will do :)
No matter where you are; you ALWAYS have a better view than people on the ground!

I feel almost completely happy with this.
That is my biggest success

Feeling 100% satisfied would mean I have no passion :)


Nicely put and spot on.

I often hear “you must be really smart, you are a doctor” but I am not special. Sure I am a capable and thoughtful person, but what I really am, that allowed me to become a doctor, is interested and dedicated. Many people could do what it takes to be a doctor, but nobody would go through it like I did unless they were interested.

Same with guitar. I will succeed to the level my interest and desire takes me. That is not likely to be a famous performing musician, because I do not have that much drive and therefore started late and put time into other things as well. But I I will continue to do my best!


I was told a very long time ago
“Hard work will beat talent every time if talent doesn’t work hard”
So if you do not work at what ever you’re trying to do it won’t
matter if you have talent or not.
And this applies to everything in life.


Talent certainly exists. Mental or physical aptitude over and above the normal for a specific skill.

Look at top sportspeople, there is usually a few who are noticeably better than the rest whilst at the same time everyone is putting in as much effort and time - Messi, Phelps etc

A quote from football(soccer) fits, Liverpool FC have an amazing winger/striker, Mohamed Salah, and a captain Jordan Henderson.

With hard work you can become a Jordan Henderson, an excellent footballer, but it takes a touch of natural talent to be a Salah.

But if Salah sits on his butt eating junk food his natural talent will
only take him as far as the refrigerator.
If you really study highly talented people they are also the hardest
workers during practice. So does hard work nurture talent or does
talent go hand in hand with hard work?

Oh you absolutely need to put in the time and effort also which is why I said with equal effort.

There’s no amount of work I can put in to be Andre agassi

As mention is being made of hard-working sports professionals, this famous quote from Arnold Palmer says a lot.

Speaking of golfers, Jack Nicklaus, quite an achiever by anyone’s reckoning, would start each and every golf season by visiting his teacher to review his game and basically ask that he teach him how to play.


ha, that’s genius and also the friendliest way to tell somebody to stop whinign about ‘talent’ and get practicing! :smiley:


A person that believes in the divine, would naturally believe that we are gifted with certain talents from the outset, which makes it more tangible than a concept. Some of us believe we were given rights in the same sort of way. In most cases these things don’t mean much if we don’t do anything with or about them. For some, talent can be a cause for thankfulness and joy.

Whatever gets someone through the day is OK by me. You do you as they say. Most people that push back hard against the concept of talent, as clearly defined, are pushing back against divinity. :slight_smile:

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Interesting post. I recently watched a bio on Jimmy Hendrix and how he carried his guitar with him absolutely everywhere. He was never without it. So yes, the 10,000 hours of intelligent practice goes a long way. On the other hand, my son was determined to be a Major League Baseball player. He worked at it, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Was not good at it, even at the little league level. There is a certain amount of natural ability involved.


There are so many cases like him in sport, music, whatever. You don’t hear them because these people don’t get famous, don’t get to be proud and nobody wants to hear their story.
But we NEED to hear their story, because they are journeys of passion and love for what it is. If you love what you do and you get to do what you love, the’re should be at least a big portion of joy for that in your life, right?

Of course, we all carry our share of frustrations and dissapointments but if we don’t value the cliché journey over the destination, we are truly gambling with our happyness


And I try to explain this really well to friends, family and acquaintances, … and everyone says they understand it, … but really no one I talk to live a little longer lives it…Yes, they say, on vacation the journey starts in the car, … and some really enjoy it on the road, … but in the rest of their lives it is about future (money) earnings and career…
But admittedly, … I’ve only been living this life for a few years on the right side…
a lot had to go very wrong first, :blush:
I quote you quite often lately in my life here about how and what about talent… :wink:


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When they were born makes a huge difference. For a kid who is in the younger 20% in the school year, the kids who are several months older will, on average, have more “natural ability”.

That also gets reflected in them getting picked for teams, or getting selected to play rather than sitting on the bench.

There was a TV show featuring the British athlete Colin Jackson examining this and they explored the concept of “talent” as it applied to athletics. The month of the year that a child was born on had a significant impact on their future athletic prowess and success.

Obviously that probably doesn’t apply to music, but different environmental influences drive what people consider to be “natural ability”.

For instance: children of musicians and music teachers tend to have “natural” musical talent because they grew up in an environment where they were surrounded by live music and encouraged to learn to play from an early age.




In his 2008 book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell explores this concept as well as the 10,000 hour “rule”. Outliers (book) - Wikipedia
For the 10,000 hour rule he talks about how the Beatles’ time in Hamburg was a critical time for the group to hone their musical talents.

While Gladwell is often criticized as being a light-weight the book is still an interesting read.


Justin mentioned a book ‘Bounce’ that makes some very interesting observations concerning talent and hard work, worth a read. For me hard work is the thing; all talent carry out hard work, they simply stick at it more. And as we all know, the more you do something the better one becomes. Any artist develops, the earlier stuff not necessarily better than the old or more recent, but certainly not as polished. All MHO.

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I think of this stuff in terms of what I can or can’t control.

I can’t control whether I have “natural” talent or aptitude.

I can control whether I practice, for how long and on what.

And practice is the only thing that’s making me a better player.


@Majik glad you put natural ability in quotes. As I recall Gladwell explored this and it was not about ‘talent’ but about the natural development that takes place over time at that young age. And the older kids had an advantage in being more physically mature. That gave them opportunity and the advantage snowballed.

I think certain things like sports may be more dependent on physical development than other things. To play certain sports if you don’t have the physique and physiology it becomes really challenging to reach the highest levels.

I think something like guitar is much less susceptible to that influence.

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Too bad practise is spelt incorrectly
Practise is a verb
Practice is a noun

I’m going to practise playing guitar today.
It is normal practice to change guitar strings every few months.

Unless of course you’re American in which case you use practice for all circumstances! :joy:



But in this case is it not being used as a noun and therefore, spelt correctly.

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