Archive for February, 2010

For 2010

Posted in Uncategorized on February 19, 2010 by ejrussell

The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations, the new needs friends….Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.
Anton Ego—Ratatouille

I think it’s fair to say that more often than not we, as human beings never give ourselves enough credit for our talents. Many times we sell ourselves short and as (what I would consider) a tragic result, we fall into mediocrity; worse yet, we do not care. We pat ourselves on the back, tell ourselves that “It’s better this way”, and move on to other things we may not have any talent for. Why? Job security and reality, are often the results that sum up our feelings in this regard. “It’s not failure,” we say to ourselves and one another, “If we never even try”. We will often delude ourselves into thinking that we never had any special skill or talent to begin with, and that we are on “A Fool’s Errand” if we even show any remote interest in pursuing our goals. It does not help us any when we, as spectators, cultivate this kind of thinking in our society and to our peers. We tell our friends that they would not be successful any how. Why? Because the odds are against you to begin with.

An even worse crime, is that we encourage those who have no talent in a particular field more than those who do! Why on earth would we do such a thing? The answer is fairly simple, but not easy to take. It usually falls into two types of situations: The first one being that we assume that because one enjoys doing a certain activity, that that individual is good at it. The second is similar to the first, but more on that later. The problem with encouraging an individual who doesn’t have any talent for a particular skill but enjoys it anyway, causes that person to believe that they can do no wrong. They will write bland stories, sing out of tune, draw scribbles on lined paper and we as a society proceed to pat them on the head and give an “A” for “effort”. Excuse me? “Effort”? Anyone can screech at the top of their lungs, but real effort comes from years of dedication to the craft. Effort is trying and failing until that failure is a success. Effort is when you take the time to point out your flaws and improve upon them. Before I leave this subject to move on to the second point, I have one final thing to say on this subject. If you happen to have a natural talent or affinity for a certain skill, don’t assume that you can skate in to that particular field without any training or practice. If you recognize that you have an aptitude for something, pursue it and develop that skill and the stronger you will become, much like exercising a muscle.

The second reason why we favor the talentless over the talented is because one is talented. That may seem like an odd conclusion, however this is becoming more prevalent in our society. Our desire as a society that everyone be happy and successful, hampers our judgement to the point where we think that no one needs to have any talent or hard work to be successful. We can’t allow ourselves to think that one might be better than we are; and so in the sake of “fairness” we proceed to tear these people down. We do this not through criticism however, but through propping up the talentless. Mozart was believed to have said of Beethoven that “The world will be forced to listen to him”. Imagine if a statement like that were made today? The outcry would be huge! How could Mozart single out just one individual?! How dare he say that one musician would be more talented than any others! One thing that bothers me about the TV show “American Idol” is when host Ryan Seacrest, encourages the audience to “Vote for your favorite”. The problem with that idea is that it kills objectivity. No one is ever encouraged to vote for the best singer. Now one could argue that “the best” may be subjective and not objective. Normally I would concede this point, however one is not selecting the best singer in the world; rather they are just picking the best out of twelve. When you narrow down the number, it makes finding exceptional individuals that much better. In the case of Mozart, he must have heard thousands of musicians and composers; the man would know talent when he heard it. Any kind of positive statement he would have made, in regards to certain individuals would not have been frivolous. We need to stop this practice for the sake of our own prosperity and even our own posterity.

We are doing ourselves a grave disservice by participating in the destruction of individual self-worth and self achievement. One hundred years ago men like Andrew Mellon, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and the Wright Brothers, were considered national heroes and great thinkers. The nation looked up to these men as symbols of pride and shining examples of the American dream. People didn’t vilify these men, they idolized them! If there were any dissenting voices, they were considered envious and soundly ignored. Today most people would think of these men as greedy, corrupt business men who have no right in trying to protect their businesses and patents. This is dangerous thinking. We can’t keep telling ourselves something is “unfair” because someone worked hard for their status, that is unfair. So to conclude this essay, I would just like to remind everyone, we’re not always going to succeed. We won’t all be multi-millionaires but we are talented in our own ways. This doesn’t mean that we’re the same, it means we our gloriously different. You may be better at management and leadership than myself or others. You could be better at teaching than performing. What ever your talent, be the best that you can be at it. Be an example in what you do, follow through on your goals and maybe, just maybe you will be that talent that came from anywhere.