I want to share something I’ve been thinking lately: the idea that we are born with talent, or the idea that anyone can learn a skill if they practice. Be sure to read to the end as I have a bit of an announcement as well!
I’m not an expert on talent vs. learned skills, but I have children. I have watched them get interested in something and practice that skill and become amazing at it. In my own life, the same is true. I’m not sure I’d call that talent. What I will say is that I think that everyone is born with certain “bents”. We are right brain dominant, or left brain dominant. Of course everyone uses both sides of their brains at different times, but some people use one side more than the other.
Left vs. Right Brain Dominant
Here are some basic characteristics of each side of the brain:
- Likes to read lying down
- Interested in the unexplained & mystery stories
- likes cats
- Likes rock music
- Relates to people
- Reads sitting up
- Prefers classical music
- Dog person
- Rarely absent minded
I tend to be more right brained, however, I enjoy being on time, I hate cats, and I can be organized and a planner when I need to. Overall though, I fit the profile of a right brained person. Because of that, my bents tend to be more towards the creative side: writing, art, music, and emotions. Some people have a bent more towards what’s logical or numbers. That’s definitely not me. With that said, that doesn’t mean a logical person can’t be creative. It just means that might not be the thing they are most interested in.
Are We Born Talented?
Talent is often seen as something a person is born with. People assume, I think incorrectly, that a person is very good at something because they were born with the ability to draw, paint, dance, or write. But I think (and this is just my opinion) that people are born with certain “bents” and because of their interests, they become deeply passionate about something and will pour themselves into that skill and become very good at it.
How Long Does It Take To Learn a New Skill?
It has been said it takes 10,000 hours to learn a new skill. There is an author by the name of Josh Kaufman who has written a book called “The First 20 Hours”. He states that it only really takes 20 hours to be really good at something. That’s 45 minutes a day for one month. He says the 10,000 hours statement is more for people who want to be experts in a very competitive field. So for hand lettering and it’s over saturated market, I’d say, you’d need much more than 20 hours. I know I’ve practiced much more than 20 hours and I’m still not as good as some of the bigger name hand lettering people. But that’s ok. I’m putting in my hours and doing the best I can.
The more I practice, the better I become. This is true of any skill. Look at Mozart, Van Gogh, Leonardo Da Vinci…all of them practiced their hearts out. And because of this, we see the masterpieces we know and love today. They didn’t start off painting the Mona Lisa. It took practice and lots of it.
The Final Word
So if you think you aren’t talented, remember that it takes a lot of practice. The people we admire, look up to, and wish we could be like didn’t start off where they were. Instead, they did exactly what you are doing–taking the time and energy to learn all they can and practice their art. I hope this will encourage you next time you think you aren’t talented.
Hey readers–wanted to let you know that you can now listen to me over at anchor.fm. My anchor broadcasts also get published to itunes. If you have anchor.fm on your phone, you can also “call in” and discuss topics with me. So check me out!