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Monday, 24 June 2013

The Altar Of Talent

We are told that talent is what matters, it is one of the first things anyone says of a person who has done well.  It is very rarely what a person who has done well says of themselves, or of how they did it.

We love talent, the idea of talent.  It lets us off the hook, lets us accept a life of mediocrity that is mercifully free of blame.  If everything good comes from talent, you're not wasting your life, you just didn't have the talent to begin with, and nobody can blame you for that, right?

Except talent is, at best, an irrelevance.  Jimi Henrix didn't reinvent music because he was talented, but because he raised a skill to the level of art.  Bruce Lee didn't revolutionise martial arts because he was talented, but because he did the same, as did Mozart, as did Einstein.

Skill takes time, but given time, anyone can master anything.  And in that mastery, anyone can live a life that is itself a work of art, the purest and cleanest expression of that clear note that rings through all humanity, but lies in most subsumed by excuses.

It is an easy thing to avoid this truth, because so very many worship at the altar of talent, and receive the blessing of blamelessness for a mediocre life.

And only if you overturn that altar can you open up the door that it obscures - and enter in to a life where skill is hard earned, but artistry is possible, in any field of endeavour.

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