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Thread: The absence of talents

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    The absence of talents

    Yesterday I was brooding about something. Iím almost 31 years old and I donít really have one talent that I excel in. It seems like at my age you should at least have something that you can do really well, because you spent the last decade or even longer working on it. Not me. Instead of excelling in one thing, I can do a little of a lot.

    Iíve had many different hobbies and interests, but none stuck long enough for me to become good at them. Iíve never felt a passion for something the way that passionate people speak about theirs. Iíve enjoyed every hobby I had, but after a while it starts to feel boring and I move on to something else.

    It feels like society and the media push you to find a passion, stick to it and become really good at it. If you donít, it means youíre unmotivated, lazy and untalented (or so they make you feel). I however think most people are like me and donít excel at something either, but know/can do a little of a lot of things. I guess Iím just looking for people like me in this, because sometimes it feels like Iíve failed.

    So do you consider yourself to be a person with one (or maybe more) talents? Meaning you really excel in a certain field, not just something you can do pretty well.
    Or have you, like me, been all over the place (with hobbies/interests and maybe even education) and you know a little of a lot of things?

  2. #2

    Re: The absence of talents

    Well, coming from someone who knows a lot about a little stuff, I'd say that I see knowing a little about a lot of stuff is a talent in it's own right. For me, I have an encylopedic knowledge of survival skills. I'm also an excellent writer; above college level according to the tester; literally off the charts. I might be an autistic savant though, but I'm definitely not like Rain Man or anything, because I only have basic math skills; they're slightly below average at best haha. The things that I'm not good at far and away outweigh the things that I excell at; I think that's how it is for most people. The trick, I think, is not letting all of the stuff that you're not a master at get to you...I could be wrong though, because I ended up letting my insecurities get to me, and it prompted me to become an expert at something I didn't have to have a high school diploma for haha, (I got expelled from middle school, so I never got to go...well I did, but only for a few days, because they quarantined me with the Special Ed kids, and I took it personally...and that was the end of that​ hahaha.)
    Last edited by Sollomyn; 18 Mar 2019 at 02:16.

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    Supporter Torey's Avatar
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    Re: The absence of talents

    I think it's important not to confuse talent with passion or skill - they are not necessarily the same thing(s).

    Talent is usually described as something that one has a natural ability to excel at in the absence of being taught how to do it (according to the Cambridge Dictionary).

    Those who are 'good' or highly skilled at something don't necessarily have a talent - they have simply chosen an activity or skill-set and practiced it until they have become extremely proficient.

    That being said, how does one discover a talent? By trying different things. Sometimes you aren't aware of what you are truly talented in doing until you have tried doing it.

    The reason that people imply that you should find your passion and work at mastering it is because there is a culture present in our society in which the vast majority of individuals are not truly happy in their work. Imagine your sense of fulfilment if you were able to do, for a living, something which you actually enjoy.

    Talent is also not necessarily equatable with being prodigious. For example, one may begin, in childhood, doing something well - but not being perfect at it. It's only through practicing that natural aptitude for that activity that one achieves proficiency.

    That aside, who says that being talented or even highly skilled at something is a necessity? Such activities should ultimately, in my opinion, be pursued because of the sense of fulfilment and satisfaction that they bring you on a personal level - not because it's an expectation that you have to be talented at something to have any worth.

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    Moderator Azvanna's Avatar
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    Re: The absence of talents

    Quote Originally Posted by Eleanor View Post
    Yesterday I was brooding about something. Iím almost 31 years old and I donít really have one talent that I excel in. It seems like at my age you should at least have something that you can do really well, because you spent the last decade or even longer working on it. Not me. Instead of excelling in one thing, I can do a little of a lot.

    Iíve had many different hobbies and interests, but none stuck long enough for me to become good at them. Iíve never felt a passion for something the way that passionate people speak about theirs. Iíve enjoyed every hobby I had, but after a while it starts to feel boring and I move on to something else.
    This is exactly what my husband says about himself. However, I would say being a 'jack of all trades' is a talent in itself. Additionally, he feels he is not very good at one thing. He actually is. His perception is skewed because he's so self-critical. This might be the case for yourself as well? He also struggles with feelings of failure too. Needlessly imo! But they're there.

    So do you consider yourself to be a person with one (or maybe more) talents? Meaning you really excel in a certain field, not just something you can do pretty well.
    Or have you, like me, been all over the place (with hobbies/interests and maybe even education) and you know a little of a lot of things?
    I consider myself naturally gifted in music somewhat. However, I'd also say that 'talent' is over-rated. From my experience, talent can only take you so far. The rest is in the self-discipline to practise and get better (something my husband has in spades, but myself very little). A well-practised person can easily overtake in skill a talented one.

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    Supporter Hawkfeathers's Avatar
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    Re: The absence of talents

    Funny, I was just telling someone yesterday about having a weird "talent". I can weave through a crowd like nobody's business. It's hard to explain if you haven't seen it, but I was at the racetrack Saturday and managed to land a good photo-op spot by the paddock before every race and then make my way to at the front of the pack at the fence right by the finish line to watch the races. 45,000 people were there. I don't push anyone or do anything rude. It's an odd, funny thing, but I can do it, and it benefited me greatly on Saturday! LOL Other than that I have "color memory" meaning I can buy a purse on Monday, put it away, and buy gloves on Friday which are a perfect match without having looked at the purse again. Fairly useless, but a thing nevertheless.

    Try to recognize that which is within yourself that comes to you, things that you take for granted that other people simply don't have, and appreciate it. It can be small, odd things like mine, and usually is NOT huge things like singing opera!

    Can you hear me, Major Tom? I think I love you.

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    Re: The absence of talents

    Thanks for sharing your views on this guys!
    Quote Originally Posted by Sollomyn View Post
    Well, coming from someone who knows a lot about a little stuff, I'd say that I see knowing a little about a lot of stuff is a talent in it's own right.
    I like that! I hadn't thought of it that way yet. I do like my broad interests. I'm a quick learner. In fact, I love learning new things. So I guess that's one talent.

    Quote Originally Posted by Torey View Post
    That being said, how does one discover a talent? By trying different things. Sometimes you aren't aware of what you are truly talented in doing until you have tried doing it.
    The reason that people imply that you should find your passion and work at mastering it is because there is a culture present in our society in which the vast majority of individuals are not truly happy in their work. Imagine your sense of fulfilment if you were able to do, for a living, something which you actually enjoy.
    It would be great if I could do something that I truly love doing every day. I've switched careers a year ago to become a programmer. I enjoy programming and I love my new job, but then it just feels like a job and nothing more. I enjoy it enough, but if I imagine a 'perfect' life, like I did with the Utopia diary experiment, my life looks completely different. I hope to find something that gives me that sense of fullfilment and then I'll know what to do Until then I'm happy being a programmer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Azvanna View Post
    This is exactly what my husband says about himself. However, I would say being a 'jack of all trades' is a talent in itself. Additionally, he feels he is not very good at one thing. He actually is. His perception is skewed because he's so self-critical. This might be the case for yourself as well? He also struggles with feelings of failure too. Needlessly imo! But they're there.
    I can be so self-critical :O It's super unfair of me. I'm well aware of it. I need to silence those negative thoughts every now and then. It doesn't bother me as much as it used to years ago. I've learned to be more positive about myself. I think I just shouldn't be so hard on myself when it comes to my good qualities and skills.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkfeathers View Post
    Funny, I was just telling someone yesterday about having a weird "talent". I can weave through a crowd like nobody's business.
    ...
    Try to recognize that which is within yourself that comes to you, things that you take for granted that other people simply don't have, and appreciate it. It can be small, odd things like mine, and usually is NOT huge things like singing opera!
    I like your talents. You're like a color ninja.
    I'll certainly take some time to observe myself. The things I like doing and which I can actually do very well without noticing it about myself.

  7. #7

    Re: The absence of talents

    Quote Originally Posted by Eleanor View Post
    ...like I did with the Utopia diary experiment...
    Hmm, sounds intriguing; tell me more of this experiment; curious to see if it's similar to something I've had in the works for a while.
    Last edited by Sollomyn; 18 Mar 2019 at 21:01.

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    Re: The absence of talents

    Quote Originally Posted by Sollomyn View Post
    Hmm, sounds intriguing; tell me more of this experiment; curious to see if it's similar to something I've had in the works for a while.
    I did a topic about it recently. Here's the link. I still do it every now and then. You're basically training your brain to think about what you want without the boundaries of daily life.

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    Re: The absence of talents

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkfeathers View Post
    Funny, I was just telling someone yesterday about having a weird "talent". I can weave through a crowd like nobody's business. It's hard to explain if you haven't seen it, but I was at the racetrack Saturday and managed to land a good photo-op spot by the paddock before every race and then make my way to at the front of the pack at the fence right by the finish line to watch the races. 45,000 people were there. I don't push anyone or do anything rude. It's an odd, funny thing, but I can do it, and it benefited me greatly on Saturday! LOL Other than that I have "color memory" meaning I can buy a purse on Monday, put it away, and buy gloves on Friday which are a perfect match without having looked at the purse again. Fairly useless, but a thing nevertheless.

    Try to recognize that which is within yourself that comes to you, things that you take for granted that other people simply don't have, and appreciate it. It can be small, odd things like mine, and usually is NOT huge things like singing opera!
    Hawk, I do this same thing!

    I can walk down a crowded street, and zip past people without ever bumping or touching them or doing anything rude. It's like I just exist in the empty spaces between others. I love doing it!

    I'm a big believer in the tiny talents. I always want to be the best in the world at everything, and have for a long time considered anything short of that to be utter failure, regardless of how improbable it is. I struggle with perfection, but it's something I'm working on in therapy.

    One of the things that has really helped me to see past perfectionism is the practice of recognizing little talents, like Hawk's aforementioned crowd weaving trick. Another thing I'm really proficient at is walking silently, regardless of footwear. I sneak up on people all the time, entirely unintentional. I just tread lightly on the earth.

    Everyone is good at something, Eleanor. We might not be Nobel Prize winners, but I'm sure there's plenty of smaller things that you can do that endear you to those that are close to you.
    ďThe world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.Ē Ė John Muir

    Mostly art.

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    Sleepy Optimistic discord's Avatar
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    Re: The absence of talents

    Society seems to have bought into this myth that everyone has a talent that they will discover and develop through out their lives.

    The key is to find something you can be passionate about, that you enjoy.
    If you look at humanity throughout history, only a tiny privileged few ended up being able to find/practice their talent.

    A tiny, tiny few.

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