The tea about "Talent" and "Skills"

This will be a quick rant because I have a bajillion work things to get to and blogging about it is one way I PROCRASTINATE.


So - I felt the urge to write about this because I went to a party the other day and most of the nice people I met there worked 9-5 jobs and thought my life was interesting because I dont do corporate 9-5.


The response I got was "I would love to do what you do instead of being a (insert professional qualification here) but I dont have talent"


OK LET ME GIVE YOU THE DOWN LOW ABOUT "TALENT"


The truth is, YES some people can be natural at something, but that doesn't mean they were experts since the beginning of time.

Some people, (like myself) have to HONE our "talent" and skills.

That means, putting in a LOT of hours to practice.

Sacrificing time I could be watching Netflix or going out with my friends to practice.

Spending money on classes or tools to improve my skills.

Spending a lot of energy experimenting and trying new things in my work to develop and explore new mediums.

Reading and researching a lot to funnel more knowledge into your area of focus.

Failing many many times and feeling like crap but getting back on it the next day.

Getting rejections and more rejections.

One must do all of the above (AND MORE) to get to a place thats not even GOOD - but to an "okay" place.....


Do you have a growth mentality or fixed mentality? I have a growth mentality. What that means is that I dont believe you have to be BORN good at something to be good at it. I've noticed at an early age, if I practice at something, I can be good at it. WHATEVER it may be.


But of course, I put in the hours to practice.

Like how I do with my paintings (which I believe I still suck at and no where close to where I want to be)

With my ukelele, my guitar, my singing (don't ask) my mandarin, my french, my german, my ceramic/clay making, my embroidery, my photoshop and illustrator skills......

The list goes on.....

These are some things that i really suck at but I want to get better at. I haven't had the time to do it because work is crazy, but once I do, I will go all the way.


How to go all the way?


Practice!!!!


I have spent years practicing my ukelele and guitar so im at a level where I can play any song if I spend a few hours practicing the specific song.


Embroidery and ceramic - well, long way to go, but im ok at it. Granted, i've only managed to spend a few weekends practicing.


Photoshop and illustrator i've been using for over a decade but I am still constantly learning new things. I taught myself using Youtube but I did take 1 class to jump start. No excuses, most things are on Youtube and free, you can learn whatever you wanna learn if you just google it.


My languages, i've practiced French and German a lot in the past few years but I wasn't consistent and now I have forgotten most words. I'm a little annoyed at myself for not keeping it up - but yeah - that's my fault, I didn't PRACTICE.


As for my Mandarin, i am taking weekly classes and by the end of the year, im taking a trip to China and i'll test myself.


Anyway, my point to all of this is - NOBODY IS GOOD AT ANYTHING in the beginning. You must take steps to schedule in practice time to get better at anything.


When I decided to "explore" my creative side a few years back, I was working as a Marketing Executive in a creative agency. I had a 9-5 (more like 10-7/8, and sometimes weekends) full time, demanding job. I'd come home and start drawing. On weekends i'd practice painting. I'd take up projects to challenge myself. A lot of my paintings and drawings sucked. I only show people about 5-10% of what I produce because i'm embarrassed at the rest.


I did this for YEARS. At least 3-4 years. Every day, every weekend.

I sacrificed so much of my free time for my art - just to get to an "okay" level. And even then, I know it's not enough.


Later on, I decided I enjoyed being a creative much more so I started planning my exit strategy. I put in another 2 years before I completely quit.

I juggled 2 jobs before I made the decision to get out of the 9-5.


The point to all of this is that - if you want it, whatever it is, you can have it. You just need to make some lifestyle changes, decide on what you wanna do, identify your goals, and execute. Don't think so much about how you suck at it, just do it and enjoy the ride. It seems like a lot of people don't try new things because they're afraid of being bad at something. Stop thinking so much and start doing. Yes you will suck, and you WILL fail. The faster you accept this, the easier it will be for you to suck and not feel so bad about yourself.


5 years ago, I wanted to change the course of my life. I wasn't happy and I envisioned a dream life where I could paint and get paid for it.

What I did to get to this point is actually pretty simple :

I got off the couch, I stopped moping around, started practicing and never stopped. I saved some money to invest in classes and tools to help me get better.


And now here I am, living that life I wanted-ish (I still don't have an awesome beautiful tiny house with a dog yet but i'm happy with what i have now anyways. I have stopped suffering from "destination happiness" - will explain more about this term in a later post)


If you really want to be good at something, you can be. If you really want to make a change, you can.


The real question here is : Are you up for the challenge and the sacrifice? Are you ready for the rejection and hours of practice? Are you ready to spend a lot of money, energy and time on experimentations that might or might not amount to nothing? Are you ready to feel down but push yourself anyway? Are you willing to really look at yourself and your habits and make actual changes to schedule in practice time?


If you are, then you're already on your way. Do what you want to do, even if you don't have the "talents" or "skills" at it. Stop waiting for life to happen to you, make it happen - as cliché as it sounds - you have the power to create the life that you wan't. You just need to get off Netflix and procrastination and JUST DO IT GUYS.

Jangan pikir banyak sangat. Buat je. My favorite motto when I doubt myself and my capabilities "FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT"


Good luck, my friends.



Love,

Miriam









Hi! I'm Miriam, I'm an Artist, Designer, Lecturer & Entrepreneur based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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