What Is Talent?

Posted on October 25, 2013 by Matthew E May

If it’s true, as we often hear, that the artist is not a special kind of person, but rather that every person is a special kind of artist, then the journey to creative excellence must begin with finding the key to unlocking that special artistry. We may never understand it fully – and I don’t think we really need to – but we can certainly find it and follow it to see where it leads us.

Now, this approach breaks with the traditional wisdom that would have us first decide on some dramatic destination. But a destination has little relevance if we don’t have the means to reach it in the first place. Our natural gifts are the means to any significant end, so we must start there. Only then can a dramatic destination be reached.

The artist’s true colors are not found in paints and brushes, but in one’s palette of talent. The first order of business, then, is recognizing our talent, because it represents the greatest source of power and personal energy in performing any kind of work. That energy must then be released, developed and directed, because that’s how we achieve something significant. I can’t think of any original masterpiece that didn’t involve a well-developed talent.

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