Column is a monthly feature that explores the world
of creativity and aesthetics.
No Talent? No Problem
de Sousa, Director, AbleStable
Intelligence is overrated almost as much
as talent. Having either quality is neither a recipe
for achieving success or happiness, although both
qualities may bring economic gain. Talent may be
inbuilt or acquired. Unlocking talent, and achieving
its potential is only part of the broader picture
of what goes to make up a creative powerhouse...
Defining talent is not easily. The word
talent comes from the Greek word meaning
balance or weight. Perhaps you have a definition
of talent. Do you consider yourself talented?:
person who possesses unusual innate
ability in some field or activity.
special aptitude, faculty, or 'gift'.
• An innate (inborn) ability to perform
characteristic feature or
disposition of a person.
special aptitude, often creative or
We're generally born different - except for identical twins. In the future there
will be clones too, but even when we share identical DNA,
different time and space than any other individual.
is the experience we gain in
time and space that sets us apart from others, and it is this that
defines us as much as our physical potential. I use the term physical here
in its broadest context, right down to the subtleties
of how well we can throw
a ball, perceive colour, or distinguish segments of time (innate rhythmic ability
- the 'natural musician') etc.
people are sometimes perceived of as being 'born
better'. Talent however in no way guarantees
the qualities of strong will, concentration,
thinking, or sensitivity, all of which are immeasurably
useful in the process of creativity.
There's no simple equation that defines a talented child. For the sake of this
column, I'll divide talented children into two groups. Those who have a predisposition
to do certain tasks more easily than most, and those who are exceptionally precocious
in a particular field.
are many, many talented children. It's my belief
that the vast majority of children start out
that without nurturing, that
talent lays dormant, often to the end of their
days. I've spent many,
many hours teaching, observing,
I am always
how most adults significantly underestimate the
depth of a child's understanding and potential.
That's a convenient perspective for adults, and is used as an excuse to expend
less effort on the encouragement of others.
often, drawing talent out in children is simply
a matter of journeying with the individual
as they discover their interest and commitment
towards a particular subject, expression, or
medium. Encouragement is everything in all our
endeavours. Very few manage to develop their
talent without external help.
There are those like Mozart, for whom the world
is different. They've abilities that one would
normally assume only adults could gain after
years of hard work and study. Child
prodigies usually share a drive and an enormous
capacity for hard work. These
'exceptionally gifted' children are rare however,
and more often than not they never attain the
that many have of them in their early days.
must their temperament be
to withstand the inner pressures of their
'gifts', they must be fortunate enough to be
by a hand that encourages their talent, and provides
the wisdom, personal, and social support
that helps move a child from their world into
wider sphere. Without love and mentoring,
the child is lost and never achieves their potential.
There seem three great inner forces at play
that build an effective creative individual:
potential, passion, and perseverance.
have. Most times we don't believe it
unless someone else
rather than 'talent'. People are more willing
to accept they have some of that. I was lucky.
Despite low academic success at school, I was
my farther and mother, by foster parents,
my two aunts who cared for me through my childhood.
In particular, my aunt Connie has constantly
my creative potential by her confidence in
it. I believe it is her belief in
the value of what I do creatively that has
with the drive to do the best I can.
in what we do, whatever it is, must be present
if we're to archive excellence. Talent without
passion produces mediocre results. Passion in
what we do drives us that extra mile to perform
at our best. Our best, whoever we are, whatever
its 'level of achievement', can inspire both
ourselves and others. With time, study, and practice,
appears little innate talent, often grows to
being a significant force.
message here is that we can, with passion and
hard work, achieve far greater things than
often we believe of ourselves...
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