Find Your Talent

I would consider my self a dreamer, I can sit and imagine myself doing all sorts of different things with my life.  I honestly have many interests, everything from what I actually do as a photographer to doing more with music, going back to school and getting a degree in a completely different field or finishing my philosophy degree.  But I always gravitate back to photography.  Why is that?  Well, here is my little theory…..

Some of you may not agree with me but to me this is pretty much the truth.  I may be a dreamer, but I am also based in reality.  There are people who tell you that you can do anything you want to do in life and the truth is, most likely not.  I read a great book a few weeks ago about this and last year I went to a meeting based on these teachings.  I had no idea that this meeting was going to be on this topic, it was just part of a conference that I was kind of attending.  I say “kind of” attending because I spent a lot of time in the bar.

I’ll get to what the book was later, but there was a great story about how just because you apply yourself does not mean you will be better than everyone else.  There are some people who are just naturally better at things.  The book had this great scale to measure and compare talent vs. effort.  This is not the exact scale mostly because I’m too lazy at the moment to go in the other room and get the book off of the shelf!  So lets just say that this is a scale of 1-10 for both talent and effort.  The story they used as a metaphor or analogy for this scale was that of “Rudy” you know, the little guy who made it on to Notre Dame’s football team for the last game.  He worked hard and made the effort and he got to play in a game.  He now lectures at conferences about applying yourself etc….

But “Rudy” had a very low talent score, he was little, not very athletic but he did work hard.  Now basing the scale of talent in football they used Joe Montana as the top of the heap.  So Joe would be considered a 10, on this scale of talent Rudy would only be considered a 2.  Now in the effort department Rudy would be considered a 10 without a doubt.  So if you add talent of 2 and effort of 10 he is a 12.  But here is the thing.  If Joe Montana only put in a 50% effort, he would still be a talent of 10 and an effort of 5 making him a 15, which is still far better than Rudy with much less effort.  So do you see where this is going?

The book is called Strengths Finder.  Look it up.

So what is my point?  My point is that everyone does not have the same talent.  Some people have interests where they do not have talent.  Just go to one of those websites with funny and stupid videos of people trying to be athletic or sing out of key, or watch American Idol’s tryouts.  Some of these people are completely convinced if they work hard they can be an incredible singer.  The fact is some people are just born with a natural talent.  I have been playing guitar for most of my life, it is a natural talent for me.  I have been singing for 20+ years but no matter how hard I work at it I will never be Joe Cocker, I can sing the same notes but I don’t have his natural vocal talent.

Focus on what you are good at, I have said this many times before, but if you are good at something you will probably enjoy it much better anyway.  And just because you find it fun and you enjoy it does not mean you are good at it, go to karaoke one night, they are having fun and enjoying it, but are they good?  Be truthful to yourself, if you’re just doing it for fun and do not expect to become the best at it or make a living off of it, then this whole article is not for you.  Keep having fun and enjoying the hell out of life!  If you are one of those people who believe that you can accomplish anything if you work hard enough, well, this is not true for everyone.

I’m not trying to crush dreams, I am trying to enlighten people that nothing comes to anyone over night.  Someone who is an “over night” success usually has 10 or more years of effort involved with their success.  Except for certain photographers who give workshops, they just come up with catchy phrases and act like a success…. sorry that was petty, but I really don’t care.

If you have some talent and you work hard you can succeed in business, just be aware that there are those who do poses more talent and who work just as hard as you and success will come to them faster.  It sucks but it does not mean that you should give up.  It just means that you need to find out more about your talents and how to use them.  Living in a fantasy world will crush your dreams faster than living in a reality where you are allowed to explore your talents and have access to the tools that will allow you to succeed.

Look at it this way, a non-creative way…. if you suck at math, why would you want to be an accountant?

I have been fortunate in my life to have succeeded in different careers.  Photography and music have been my passions since I can remember.  I am also a pretty good carpenter.  But here is my key to success and why I have confidence in doing what I do.  Here is the secret, are you ready for it?  I only focus on what I am already good at.  It is easy to succeed if you put the effort towards the things that come easy to you!  I wanted to be a landscape photographer.  Honestly, I am not that good at it!  I work best with people, so that is what I photograph. I could still be a struggling landscape photographer or I could have gotten frustrated and completely left the photography world, instead I happened upon what I was naturally better at and ran with it.

The whole idea is for you to find out what you are good at and how to succeed doing what you love with the talents you already have.  Dreaming is great, but if there is a way to make your actual life a dream, would that be even better?