Creativity and Design

Talent is earned

Date : May 14, 2021

I want you to try an experiment, grab a pen and paper and draw a horse from memory. Sounds easy? Ok, You have 90 seconds…GO!

88… 89… 90! Okay, time’s up! How did it go? Does it look like a horse or does it look like some failed genetic experiment? The thing is, even when we know what a horse looks like it is hard to draw one on paper. Here’s mine:

My mutant horse, drawn with a Sharpie on a Post-it

Putting our ideas on paper is a process that only through many hours of practice and lots of patience we are able to do better. The brain is an incredible learning machine and through repetition it makes small corrections every time we practice something.

Everything we do is a process and it takes practice to master a process.

So I wonder, what else does this apply to? For example, writing an article may sound easy for some but for me it takes a long time to finish a single post. I’ve never been good at writing, I never took a course but I can notice that it is easier for me to find mistakes in my writing than a few years ago.

To draw something efficiently we have to coordinate our brain, our eyes and our hand to basically become a human printer. Just thinking we are good at something doesn’t make it so. In one of his comedy specials, John Mulaney said:

My body is bad at sports. That’s the problem, and I say my body is bad at sports because my brain is good at sports. Like my brain understands how a human being could like, dribble down a basketball court, and then make a lay-up, right? But then it has to outsource the job to my weird limbs, and so when I play basketball, it looks like I just bought my body. Like I don’t know how it works yet.

John Mulaney

This bit caught my attention because we understand the concept of doing something, the information is in our brain but yet if we don’t train our body to do something, we really don’t know how to do it right. The same applies to other aspects of life, like processing new information, forming opinions, being objective or even teaching others new skills.

Talent is earned by our proclivity to practice certain activities that we love to improve gradually over a long period of time. Although some people might be exceptionally good at learning or have an inclination to certain activities, no one is born talented.

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