To be or not to be - talented?

As I watched the return of the American Idol auditions, it got me thinking about talent and more importantly, knowing whether you have any or not. Watching AI, I never cease to be amazed at how many appalling singers are convinced they're seriously talented.

And the family and friends often perpetuate the myth of their talent, when surely they must know the truth? At times it may have been painful, but I am eternally grateful that I come from a family of down to earth, tell it like it is northerners. As a result I always knew what I should perhaps pursue, and could tell from the laughter what I should leave well alone.

I know there are some things I definitely do NOT have a talent for and even hard work is unlikely to improve that situation. These would include, but are certainly not exclusive to:

Whistling - I make bystanders snigger and cats panic

Singing - just NO, NO, NO!

Drawing - never gonna sell a painting

Math - I always carry a calculator

Athletics - not limber, fit or coordinated!

There are some people who are born with a latent natural talent that sets them apart from an early age. But for most of us we find out what we're good at given time, perseverance and favourable circumstances. This has certainly been my experience.

I had a definite leaning towards some writing talent in school, I left wanting to pursue a career in journalism. But with the 'wisdom' of youth and a greater yearning to have fun, I didn't put in the work needed to turn my infant talent into a full-time career. Now I am finally starting to realise some of that potential, but I can never get back the years I lost and there are some inevitable regrets as a result.

To be honest, this is the only talent I really feel was naturally there from the start. I have always just 'known' I could be a published author and write a book, but it still needs that inevitable hard work.

Then there are the talents you develop with age and experience. For me this would only be photography, but it's not the same as my writing, it doesn't just flow from me. I know I'm not technically strong, but I have been told many times, I have an eye for composition and that's crucial to being a standout photographer. I am not into manipulating pictures for hours with Photoshop. I get all my pleasure and satisfaction from challenging myself to frame the picture perfectly or dramatically, with just what's in front of the lens.

If I had been more inclined to school work in my teens, I might have pursued either one through college and now be making my fortune. But hey, it's never too late, or the Hubster hopes so anyway!

Hubster believes I have other lesser but still noteworthy talents:

Organisation - aka anally retentive!

Cooking - he's just 'currying' favour!

My Elvis lip curl - just comes naturally!

So for all my 43 years of experience, I believe I have just two real talents to offer and now it's just down to me to maximise them. I am under no false illusions as to what I am good at and what I need to leave well alone. And despite the fact my greatest dream would have been to fill stadiums with my voice, you won't see me auditioning on Idol anytime soon!

So I want to know, what are your talents and what have you done to realise there potential? And are you honest enough to own up to your biggest 'non' talent?


Kay said...

I have a friend who keeps telling me I can sing. I know I can sing to children who don't know the difference between a good and bad voice.

I've had people tell me I can draw. I can... sort of... but I know my limitations.

Organization. Yes, that's me alright. What else? Sheesh! I don't know.

The Antiques Diva™ said...

This would be the time dear Brit Gal, to break into one of my favorite songs from my childhood. I suspect this isn't an appropriate "childhood" song mind you - but somehow, it's the song that summarizes my youth... The Gambler, by country music legend Kenny Rogers, quotes... (sing in off key voice, a la Toma circa 1980):

"You've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to 'fold em, know when to walk away and know when to run..."

Here's to knowing what talent you've got - or not,

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Lets see, Singing? - NO!
Athletics - NO!
Writing - No
Photography - No
Organization - NO!
Math - a little bit

I don't see me as having much talent at all. Its very liberating because then I'm free to do what I want.

midwesttomidlands said...

Singing, cannot sing at all, but admire those that do. However I know not to try out for X Factor. I think some do it on Idol and the like just so they can get on TV knowing and hoping it will be on the worst reel. Also can't type very well! As for your journalism career go for it! You are young yet. You have a much different perspective and insight than when you were younger and that can be a great advantage. Just remember your bloggy friends when you get famous!

Jill of All Trades said...

Well, this is where the name of my blog comes in Jill of All Trades. I do a lot of stuff, some not so well and some just so-so. As you know I can cook and paint fairly well and I can sing. I'm just a fountain of talent but none good enough to hit the stage!

NorthWestLondonGirlInTheCountry said...

We all have talents or a talent, but perhaps it is fear that holds us back from realising the talent within. Choosing just one talent for myself it would have to be cooking, but I have to be in the mood otherwise it's pretty sloppy. You go out there and pursue your talent/dream. I look forward to reading about the results x

Lynn said...

There was one specific time when my second grade teacher praised my writing and talked to my mother and told her what a "wonderful" writer I could be. That made a huge impression on me and for many years I took it for granted that writing was what I was meant to do but eventually I came to the realization that I have little talent for real writing; I'm merely anal retentive about spelling and grammar which is mostly what second grade teachers are looking for. (And I'm not actually all that good at grammar either; I just notice and get irritated at other people's horrible mistakes in grammar and spelling.)

Pam said...

I'm cursed with the ability to type. Fast. And spell correctly. And the ability to type fast in 9th grade typing class on manual return typewriter lead to counselors thinking I needed to be a secretary. Not saying this was wrong, I have always been able to support myself, but I think I was capable of far more. It was a good career path for girls attendings chool in the 1970's. Singing? No. But writing, yes. Always scored high in school in that. Computers too. I love the Photoshop for certain things but also Publisher, Excel, creating posters, etc. Wait, maybe I was meant to sit behind a desk all along.

Anonymous said...

In my case, I had a LITTLE talent for music, but not enough to make it as a professional. Took me 10 years to realize that. All the practicing in the world got me nowhere.

But I do have a talent for writing. Got into Honors English in high school and took a placement exam and got exempted from freshman English in college. Have self-published 3 memoirs, which are sold in local bookstores as well as Amazon. Have sold about 1,500 copies so far.

Hang on to your dreams and develop that talent for writing, Sarah! You need to nurture yourself. Yay! Go for it!

Pat said...

My biggest talents are spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capitalization; the next one is math. I know, I know, I'm a dull person, affectionately known (before) as the Grammar Nazi. But since that term devalues and minimizes the suffering of the Jewish people, I am now called the Grammar Police.

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

I don't have any artistic talents at all. I would not sing in the presence of any living creature. I've always been good at things like math, science, and logic.

Daryl said...

I paint, draw and take photos... I wish I could sing/dance because my dream was to win a TONY Award

Sherri said...

Hi Lori! I watched AI too and was surprised yet again at how many people think they can sing and get totally offended when they are told they cannot! Really people! I really admire people who can sing, I myself cannot I'm sorry to say. Make jewelry, knit, garden, cook and bake yes but sing no absolutely not!

Note: I love the "fairy dust" cursor on your blog!!

Troy said...

Talent : juggling two balls.
Non-talent : juggling more than two balls.
Don't think I'll bother getting in line for any auditions!

imac said...

These people who go on these shows, are only after their 3 minutes of ""Stardom""

Leslie: said...

Well, I've never been able to run and I dream that some day when I make it into heaven, God will let me run to my heart's content. It must be amazing to feel the wind in your face!