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  1. #1
    Wake, See, Sing, Dance Cellmold's Avatar
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    Default Do you believe in the concept of talent?

    Probably a boring and cliche topic for many, but this has always bothered me throughout life.

    When I was a child I believed in the idea implicitly, possibly because it was a good excuse to explain away my many failings. As I grew older I started to realise that while there are clearly different skill sets between people, sometimes defined by differences in genetics, at the same time application was always important as well.

    I suppose it was foolish for me to start the topic as I cannot think of many insights into the subject. But I do think the answer lies somewhere between talent and application.

    It's probably true that my motivation here is a lack of satisfaction with my own application. For me failure and success are measured on a personal basis and I try to keep it separate from the mainstream understanding of those notions. If only because I do not meet up with those mainstream assumptions ie: wealth, power, desirability, winning.

    But then again this could just be the understanding of one individual who is just intelligent enough to understand his envy of something like talent, but not enough to understand the idea itself.
    'One of (Lucas) Cranach's masterpieces, discussed by (Joseph) Koerner, is in it's self-referentiality the perfect expression of left-hemisphere emptiness and a precursor of post-modernism. There is no longer anything to point to beyond, nothing Other, so it points pointlessly to itself.' - Iain McGilChrist

    Suppose a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
    "Suppose it didn't," said Pooh, after careful thought.
    Piglet was comforted by this.
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  2. #2
    philosopher wood nymph greenfairy's Avatar
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    I think skill is a combination of the two. I think everyone has talents in different areas, and more intelligent/creative people have more in term of both depth and breadth. Talent just makes a given skill easier to learn, and in less time than lack of it. Application is more important.

    I have a theory that many talents come from having mastered certain skills in past lives. But fundamentally, I think they come from intelligence and creativity, certain cognitive predispositions which are favorable for doing certain things well. It's also partly genetic. Nature creates us in such a way that human groups contain the skill sets they need to survive, spread out among individuals in efficient ways.

  3. #3
    Senior Member INTJMom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AffirmitiveAnxiety View Post
    Probably a boring and cliche topic for many, but this has always bothered me throughout life.

    When I was a child I believed in the idea implicitly, possibly because it was a good excuse to explain away my many failings. As I grew older I started to realise that while there are clearly different skill sets between people, sometimes defined by differences in genetics, at the same time application was always important as well.

    I suppose it was foolish for me to start the topic as I cannot think of many insights into the subject. But I do think the answer lies somewhere between talent and application.

    It's probably true that my motivation here is a lack of satisfaction with my own application. For me failure and success are measured on a personal basis and I try to keep it separate from the mainstream understanding of those notions. If only because I do not meet up with those mainstream assumptions ie: wealth, power, desirability, winning.

    But then again this could just be the understanding of one individual who is just intelligent enough to understand his envy of something like talent, but not enough to understand the idea itself.
    I believe in talent exists.
    Everyone in my family are good singers, i.e. they all sing on key and have voices that are nice to listen to.
    I believe that talent (ability) is genetic. Some people can't sing on key.
    Singing on key is not something you can learn; either you can or you can't.
    Either way, those who CAN sing on key have to practice in order to improve their talent.

    Talent is like raw material. Everyone has some kind of talents... things they are better at than others.
    Some have to work hard at being good, and for others it seemingly comes a lot more naturally.
    Then you've got the 8 year old that can play Chopin on the piano. Every so often someone is born who is just extraordinary in some area... a genius.

    So... why do you ask?

  4. #4
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    I am a direct decendent of three generations of mechanics. Engineering is almost second-nature to me, I'm convinced of this correlation. However, I'm not good at working on cars. I've never done it like they have - I might have fiftieth of what my dad has, he's been doing it for twenty-five years.

    An old manager of mine told me "I will always be better at this than you will (ENTJ)." His reasoning was that he will always have ten years of application on me, and though he is wrong, his reasoning isn't all that far off. He simply underestimates my talent

  5. #5
    Wake, See, Sing, Dance Cellmold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by INTJMom View Post

    So... why do you ask?
    Oh well I suppose it is somewhat for a selfish reason. I've never considered myself a person of talent. Anything I've ever done or achieved has been entirely on either learning or being taught from someone else, or I've just tried to stick at something till it settled or else discard it out of a realisation of the futility of continuing.

    I don't believe I've ever encountered a situation or rather an activity in which I suddenly clicked or understood. I remember being 12 and admiring a girl of 7 for her ability to play the clarinet, at a level I couldn't even see let alone reach despite my best efforts. I was also secretly jealous and at the time thought it unfair that she should possess such skill, especially when she confessed she didn't really practise at all as opposed to my hours and hours of what seemed like wasted time.

    It was only years later I realised it was the ultimate fairness, the swirl of genetics and mixing of genepools that produces such a person and that talent can be a curse as much as a gift.

    But in any case I was ruminating on the idea of talent as compared to my own, apparently talentless, experiences. Everything has been a slow acquisition for me and I am amazed when I meet those people for whom life is a series of explosive understandings, brought around in sudden clarity.

    I wonder what that is like?

    I suppose I find it fascinating.
    'One of (Lucas) Cranach's masterpieces, discussed by (Joseph) Koerner, is in it's self-referentiality the perfect expression of left-hemisphere emptiness and a precursor of post-modernism. There is no longer anything to point to beyond, nothing Other, so it points pointlessly to itself.' - Iain McGilChrist

    Suppose a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
    "Suppose it didn't," said Pooh, after careful thought.
    Piglet was comforted by this.
    - A.A. Milne.

  6. #6
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    Talent exists. The teacher that taught Helen Keller--that was talent in her field. Musicians create things that take an effort I could simply never do. Nikola Tesla was so talented he could have saved us all years ago if he had met a guy with a kinder mind set than Edison.

    I think people use talent as a scapegoat too much. Talented people rely solely on it too frequently. Untalented people blame talent when they fail/give up/don't try at something. It is a beautiful thing, when coupled with dedication and active effort, but otherwise it is not the end-all see-all to anything.
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  7. #7
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    Yes, some people are clearly more talented than others, but it's only going to be in their areas of specialty. We each can hone our own unique gifts, push them to the max.

  8. #8
    likes this gromit's Avatar
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    Yeah, I think there are some people that can pick up on certain things much faster than the average person. However, I'd say the average person can get to be pretty good at most things with a fair amount of practice. And of course there are some things that a given person will struggle with no matter what level of effort.

    But most people, most things, you can gain a reasonable proficiency if you put in the time and mental focus.
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  9. #9
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    This book explains it very well.

    Talent is hugely important IMO.

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  10. #10
    Senior Member animenagai's Avatar
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    I believe in talent, and I believe that I'm talented, but that's often a curse/excuse more than anything. Nothing ever gets done on talent alone. You're not special just because you're talented -- potential isn't necessarily grounded in results and everyone has potential to do something. I respect achievements more.
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