Saturday, April 29, 2017

Talent is Not Overrated (When An Endearing Message Becomes A Salty Threat)

I sometimes think that people take what should be a positive message and use it to hurt others. Case in point: I have seen, a few times now, friends of mine insisting that it's okay to do things you aren't good at because you enjoy them. I agree with this sentiment. But recently, I've seen something popping up that says "talent is overrated."
As an artist and a writer, I'm going to give you my opinion of this particular twisting of an otherwise endearing thought.
Talent is not overrated. It's okay to do something you aren't good at because you enjoy it. Trust me, I enjoy doing plenty of things I'm not good at. Life, for instance. Just because I'm not good at it doesn't mean I'm going to stop. However, talent does matter if you are taking your activities to the public.
People are moved by ability. People are captivated by flawless performances. Do not insult people who do things professionally by saying that talent is overrated. That is the most callous, insensitive thing to say to someone who has spent years and years and years of their life perfecting their ability to do something they love to do. It's not about "making a living" off of it. Do you really think writing or art "make a living" these days? Do you really think that most new, talented bands are bringing in bags of cash from shows? If you personally are so threatened by society's emphasis on being able to do something well, the problem is with you.
It is human and natural to suck at things that you enjoy doing, but do not tell me talent is overrated. I've worked for over a decade to be no better than I am at writing, and I intend to put decades more work into it.
If anything, talent is underrated. Talent as seen as an unnecessary waste of time, because it has to be shaped into something. The worst part is that talent is subjective. It's entirely up to society's perception of what a good performance is. The last thing we need is someone going around saying "Talent is overrated because I can't paint or write or play an instrument but I like to do it anyway." No. You have two choices. You learn to do it the right way, or you can shut the hell up when someone else does and be content with the joy you get from being alive. Assuming, of course, anyone gets any joy out of being alive at all these days.
TLDR: Shut up. You are wrong.