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  • Writer's pictureHayden Purcell

Passion vs. Talent

So I saw this post on 9gag the other day...

'My Passion My Talent'

It got me thinking...

For some of us, there is a massive disconnect between passion and talent.

Being passionate about an activity or craft, does not inherently make you good at it. Some people are naturally good at things, but might not really be interested in it, and some people are innately interested in things, and simply not good at it.

For all the explanations and explorations of the self I have with regard to not following my dreams, hobbies, passions and interests, or for not being able to make a solid career of them...There's a possibility that it could all be explained by one simple fact - Maybe I'm just not good at the things I enjoy?

Anything you start, for the first time, you shouldn't ever expect to be objectively 'good' at it. Those that exceed the expectations of it are considered to be naturally talented. But if you're genuinely interested in it, you'll instinctively recognise it's a stepping stone and seek to learn and improve.

What if no about of learning and improving makes you better?

What if that trepidation of your work being bad or not good enough is true?!

Think about X-Factor, or all those other contest based reality shows that pitch 'ordinary' people against each other. Think about how many of those people got so frustrated when they were told how shit they were in spite of their belief they could be the next Michael Jackson. Only to be told by Simon Cowell that if they want to be a pedo, they'll have to do so without the celebrity status that exonerates you.

There are a lot of components that lead to some of those memetic outbursts, and to some the outcome is to retreat, accept the harsh reality of their lack of capability and never indulge in it again. Others, are more like a malignant tumour, they don't get better, and they don't go away.

The best approach is to seek some sort of grounding in reality. Both reactions are polar opposites, and the middle ground is always a factor - TV "Reality" is an extreme set of circumstances encouraged by misguided positivity enforcements, and in some situations manipulation.

Those who are better than you, shouldn't slate you and kick you out the door...They should be helping to point out the flaws in a constructive way that gives you guidance of things to work on.

When I joined my first band at the age of 16, I ended up becoming the singer by default, because nobody else wanted to do it...Guess what...I was SHIT!

We recorded some tracks with my ropey teenage vocals, and played a couple small shows...With hindsight, I can only imagine now how many people winced upon hearing my bad singing.

As I got older and started to work on music at home, I sought out singing lessons from a teacher who regularly works west end musical theatre. I knew I couldn't sing, and I wanted to find out if I could learn how to. Not only did she help massively in coaching an improvement of range, but also in being able to hear myself and recognise my mistakes in order to correct them, or just know and be aware if something was wrong to work on it and correct it.

Talent can be taught.

The assumption that talent is the ability to be good at something without some sense of education is misguided. Sure, there are people out there who are 100% self taught, and myself, a good 75% of what I know is self taught through practice, trial and error, youtube/blogs etc. For some people that is enough, it's enough to enjoy some thing, invest their time and money into it, practice it and just improve with time.

But some people need help, external factors to help guide them into being better. It can help assess the reality of your situations, and if you can recognise your flaws you know where to correct.

When I teach people how to steam milk in my current profession as a coffee shop manager, I start with the concepts of it. I'll tell them what they're looking for, how they're going to achieve it, and what they should see in the end result. After a few attempts of it, explaining as they go, most will begin to understand whats wrong, or if the milk hasn't reacted correctly to what they were attempting. At that point, they'll know what to do to correct the errors and be better next time.

So the same should stand for anything else right? You can rent an art studio and fill it with all the expensive tools and buy as much kit as you like, but if you're not naturally good at it without guidance, that's not the be all and end all. Understand where your limitations and failings are, and find the most appropriate method of improvement, and go for it. There are always people more experienced than you, and there's tonnes of information that can be gleamed from these people; be that for money, or through youtube or whatever. Nobody is above improvement, but you need a realistic and constructive method of determining what it is that needs improving first.

Maybe I've peaked with self education when it comes to music production...Maybe if I really want to make something of it, I need to start to consider a more academic approach and find some courses that cover any gaps in my experience and knowledge to help me get to where I want to be.

Though, to be honest with you, nobody says you have to be good in the first place...Why are you doing what you're doing, because if it's your passion, then you're doing it for yourself, to sooth that void in your soul, or whatever it means to you. In which case, the only opinion that matters is yours, and if you've accomplished what you've set out to do, then be proud of what you've accomplished...Even if it looks like you've thrown a potato at a canvas. People have done less and sold it for millions.

Indulge in the things you want to do, if it makes you happy, do it, if you want to be good or better, there are so many things you can do to improve...Just remember the value of quality external support (not your Facebook news feed...) and objective criticism (...or Instagram), and use it to your advantage.


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