Monthly Archives: December 2016

No Such Thing as Talent

Rock Cut, Storm in the Valley Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, 2016

Rock Cut, Storm in the Valley
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, 2016

I wonder if maybe there is no such thing as talent.

Bear with me here.  Talent, in the dictionary I checked, is defined as a natural aptitude or skill.  It’s something you’re born with, you either have it or you don’t.  A talent for photography, for example, suggests that it would take less effort for one with the talent to become accomplished in the discipline than one who has no talent, because the presence of talent supplies a natural aptitude or skill that can be developed and that is lacking in one with no talent.

But what if the operative force is not talent, but interest?  To have an interest in something, say photography, suggests to me a capability to invest time pursuing it.  One with an interest in photography, for example, might enjoy viewing many photographs, reading books on photography, and generally thinking about photography a lot.

It’s the capability to invest substantial time that’s important.  Having the interest means you’re more likely to stick with it because your interest keeps you going, even when things aren’t necessarily going well or otherwise become difficult.  Naturally, the more time you invest in something, the more likely it is you are to become accomplished at it, so it follows that those who become accomplished in something may well do so simply because of a driving interest in that thing, rather than some innate aptitude or skill for it thought of as talent.

Okay, I’m not really sure I fully believe this myself.  Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in the middle.  I find it interesting food for thought, though.

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