I have always felt that “Talent” is a very peculiar concept. People say, “X has talent, so no matter how hard I try, I can never achieve what they have done,” or , “I have talent and have always achieved quick praise, so why should I try harder to achieve anything more”. Either way it’s demotivating and holds you back from excellence. To misquote a very famous artist: “Talent is an excuse invented by people who don’t want to work hard.”
Two areas where talent really does matter are: “Precocious Talent”(Mozart) – Early ability that will allow a person to enter a field very young – AND – “Genius”(Picasso) – which allows a person to actually expand the field for everyone else. You either have or do not have those types of talent. There is really nothing you can do about it. But, hey, there’s lots of fun left for the rest of us! I have always felt that motivation, bloody-minded determination and dogged perseverance are as important as ‘talent’.
Jeff Haden writes on business, but his article has a lot to say about this of interest to artists and designers: