Joelle Brown, who is a talented singer, writer and artist, discusses society’s love for innate talent, but as she delves deeper into being “gifted” an important question is raised: is talent down to nature or nurture?
Every year, students graduate and compete for places in their desired institutions. We call the cream of the crop ‘gifted’. Education prepares us to take on the world. Through learning, we develop skills, knowledge and experience, but what about these so-called gifts?
The word itself implies that they are given, many believe a deity – a divine higher being- bestows us with talents or that we inherit them by nature as opposed to nurture. I believe we have ‘gifts’ to a certain extent, natural affinities for particular things and relative ease in doing them but I don’t believe we’re born with magic powers. Talent is a learnt skill that has been practised and perfected.
Initially we learn by copying, watching and listening. Eyes are sharpened, fingers are twisted into shape, ears are tuned, voices are trained, and bodies are disciplined. When you assume someone was simply given his or her talent you might fail to develop yours because you are waiting to be great. Similarly don’t allow people to diminish your efforts by acting like you just fell out of bed with knowledge or improved in your sleep. Before you see results you go through trial and error. Experience takes time.
What if you don’t consider yourself to be gifted?
We often put gifts in boxes. We limit what we consider to be a valuable skill; but sometimes it is not a certificate that you need such as a degree that supposedly measures how great you are at something, but an idea, a personality and business savvy. It could be all of the above combined – there is no formula.
If I do exceptionally well on an exam is it because I am gifted? Or is it because I studied and retained the information? Am I smart or do I have a photographic memory and the ability to regurgitate information in a way that falls within the exam guidelines? We all learn differently, and express in different ways, sometimes we fail and fail again to fit into the box.
We are fortunate to live in a society and era where non-traditional career paths are more common. Who would have thought you could actually make a living from Youtube? According to Business Insider creators earn approximately £1,500 for every million views ($2,000).
There are endless opportunities and even where you cannot see them, you can create them – think entrepreneurship.
Branching out vs. staying in your lane doesn’t have to be contradictory.
You can always try new things and learn new skills, staying in your lane to me means remaining true to self and not competing with others for a sense of self-worth. Staying in my lane means recognizing my Uniqueness and not trying to jump into someone else’s.
Your unique selling point, style or perspective is your brand. Whether you consider yourself to be gifted or not doesn’t really matter. What’s important is that you put the work in, remain flexible and keep at it.
Written by Joelle Brown
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