Natural talent vs Practice

So all the time I hear people make comments about people like “oh he’s so musically talented, I could never get that good” etc. and it kind of irritates me.

So I’m just gonna talk a little about being naturally talented vs practice.

Now the assumption that most people seem to make is that to get really good at something (this applies to anything, but I’ll be specifically talking about music) you have to be gifted, and otherwise you’ll always be mediocre. And there is the tiniest element of truth in that, but it tends to stop people from even trying. I’m naturally quite musical, and playing music does come somewhat easier to me than it might for someone else, but it wouldn’t be fair for someone to say “oh he’s just musically gifted” cuz while that may be true, it completely overlooks the 1000s of hours I’ve put in behind an instrument. Sure natural talent makes a difference, but while you’re going to work, I’m practicing. While you’re playing video games, I’m practicing. While you’re going and getting a girlfriend and wasting money on her, I’m practicing. My name could be practicing with how much I said that. “Hi I’m practicing”…..

So natural talent is definitely a thing, but it’s not the be all and end all that people seem to think. If you’re naturally talented at something, great, go practice it and nauseam to get really good. Are you not naturally talented at something? Great, then go practice until you’re great at it. Everyone is on the same path towards excellence, just some people get a headstart.

And that’s another thing, talent isn’t always given in equal portions, there’s different levels of talent that each person has. The one thing that is consistent, is that if you go put in 1000 hours, you’ll be much improved over where you were before. Don’t resent those born with more talent than you, practice until your hard work trumps their talent.

Btw, when I say “talent” I mean natural ability or propensity, as opposed to “skill” which would be ability. Talent is free, skills have to be worked for. By that token I think America’s got talent should be called America’s got skills, cuz they don’t measure talent they measure skill.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go practice.

“Practice till your fingers bleed, then practice one more hour”


Published by gunnarsalyer

Teen MK in Mozambique. Second of eight kids. Multi instrumentalist

2 thoughts on “Natural talent vs Practice

  1. I wholeheartedly agree, Gunnar. There is a lot to be said for talent, but there is even more to be said for practice, and by that I mean deliberate practice. Are you familiar with K. Anders Ericsson? He is a Swedish psychologist who is internationally recognized as a leading researcher in the psychological nature of expertise and human performance. I wrote a blog post about him I think you will find interesting. Here is the link:

    Liked by 1 person

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