Is talent a myth?

If you've ever felt discouraged that other artists are more "talented" than you, I want to call this article to your attention right away:

This is the dark side of believing in innate talent. It can beget a tendency to assume that some people have a talent for something and others don't and that you can tell the difference early on. If you believe that, you encourage and support the 'talented' ones and discourage the rest, creating the self-fulfilling prophecy. ... The best way to avoid this is to recognize the potential in all of us — and work to find ways to develop it.

Seriously, go check it out!


Udom (unregistered visitor)

People can be talented in a variety of directions. I've known people who can effortlessly solve math problems while carrying on a conversation, while I like to joke that I've never been sure how many fingers and toes I have. We just aren't all alike, and that's OK. The author you quote approaches the question by devaluing genius. Better to just be the best you can be and stop fretting about how you compare to others.

Sabina (unregistered visitor)

Talent and genius, neither of these are myths. I see it as a process, and a progress in benefiting mankind. We are all different and some can do things better then others. Genius is someone who invented or discovers something that has benefitted mankind. Talent and genius is not a myth; both go hand in hand. If "genius" means someone who can do something the rest of us cannot do, figured out or has accomplished and/or created something to benefit all mankind, doesn't "talent" come first? By recognizing the talent, acknowledging the talent, then supporting the talent, from these aspects, the talent can be aspired to become a "genius".
If we can overcome our own selfishness and focus on the betterment of all people, I wonder how much further we would be at this time

Mike (unregistered visitor)

This is an interesting topic, I know for a fact that for some people it is easier to draw than others , that is a fact.
Whilst for others (like me !) it takes longer to learn & the process of learning requires more effort.
Even Michelangelo wrote - " People would not think me such a Genius if they knew how hard I have worked."
If you work at it & put in the hours you will get better at it in direct proportion with how much effort you direct at it.
I've known brilliant young artists who have not put in the hours , they just weren't motivated & they have been left far behind by people who were motivated to work at it .
Personally I'm quite offended by the many well intentioned comments I receive "Oh that's gorgeous , you are so talented ! - I think , I've trained as hard as any sportsman to be able to do that !
The thing that holds most folk back from even attempting to enter the world of art is after a couple of tries they conclude , "oh I just have not the talent " . NO ! you just have not learned & practiced enough .

samuel adelbai (unregistered visitor)

It all started from the womb. When my mom still had me in her womb, she often visited her cousin who was a baker in a school, where a German Christian lady used to play classical music very loud through out the school campus. My mom told me that I loved those music when I was a baby. Now when I listen to Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin and etc's, I get emotional. I am a painter artist. When I was 3rd. grade, the upper grades and the lower grades asked me to come to draw a Santa's picture in their class for Christmas decoration.


This is amusing. So, how has talent helped you now?

Sanne - Site moderator

Just a heads up, the commenter posted this more than 6 years ago and isn't able to see you responded cause they didn't post from a registered account, so it's exceptionally unlikely you'll get a response!

plop (unregistered visitor)

Talent is a 5%. 95% is a hard work. That is a fact. You can still be very successful artist having that 95% ;-).


Talent certainly plays a role, then too, it all depends upon what you call the ability to draw. Everyone, to some degree can draw so I believe the topic is a myth. One can learn a skill but art takes something just a little bit different. I think it is important to differentiate what is being discussed. I look at Jean-Michel Basquiat's work and personally I think "Hack" but his works have garnered up to $100,000 plus. Because someone is willing to give up this kind of money for one painting does that make it art?
As for me I could stand producing just a few works to equal one or two of his mid-range paintings. However, what I produce is really for myself and my lineage. I don't believe I can paint that bad no matter howmuch I would love tol


I have read the book drawing on the right side of the brain. In the book it does state that if you have decent handwriting by that I mean legible you have ample ability to draw. However I do think that there is talent and it does come with hard work of course. I also think that some people have a natural inclination to pick up on things faster than others. I have been told many a time that I am a natural and very talented. Although I can see the potential now that I am older I will say that I would be a lot further along if I practiced more. I do attest to being a natural as things have come easy for me. My talent however has diminished do to not having put in the time necessary to be where I would consider to be good.

Patszer (unregistered visitor)

With age I have found that "talent" will not get you as far as hard work will.


For me talent is the natural abilities you have to draw, for example humans have hands, and that makes drawing easier (to control the lines, to make shapes,etc), elephants dont have hands, so they have less talent to draw, but even elephants can learn to do art too with more effort and instruction.

(Maybe what i said doesn't make any sense lol)

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