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Talent & Creativity vs Practice and Persistence

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

Artist Sheree Smith in action painting one of her abstract art pieces

I hear lots of people make comments to artists like "you are so creative" or "talented"- like you were born with a special gift and just became good at it with little to no effort.

I know people are generally paying a compliment when they say this. But, the first response that tends to pop into my head is that these people have worked really hard and PRACTICED to develop their skills and become really great at what they do.

Think of a musician for example. They aren't gifted with this talent. They have practised, for hours and hours, years and years to get to the point where you are watching their "talent" on display. Professional athletes don't become great runners, top golfers or football players without years of conditioning, nutrition and pure determination and grit.

So why is it any different for visual artists- they didn't pick up a paintbrush and instinctively know how to paint. They didn't pick up a pencil and draw beautifully. They studied. They practised. They made plenty of average art before they became good at their craft. They didn't give up and persisted - developing their skills over many years.

I equally hear people very quickly put themselves down as not being "creative," which I don't believe is the case either. I think as human beings, we need to evolve and survive, we are very naturally creative. Everyone has creativity inside them, but maybe some are a little more tuned into it than others.

Creativity comes in many forms - not just in the form of artistic pursuits. The dictionary definition of creativity is "the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness."

I'm in awe of my friends that can throw together a meal without a recipe and it turns out beautifully. This both amazes me and stresses me out! I need a recipe to know it's going to be okay - I'm not creative in the kitchen, I like rules and instructions!

I know local businesswomen who are exceptionally creative - developing their own new products and marketing strategies, pivoting by creating new business opportunities and improving processes and productivity.

Tradies are very creative! Constantly problem-solving, coming up with ideas to fix things or playing around with alternatives that might work better. People wouldn't see my Dad as a "creative" person, yet this man can fix just about anything and build just about anything he puts his mind to. His ability to problem-solve and come up with ideas or alternatives is incredible.

I believe most people are creative in some way or form. I also think anyone can be an artist if they are willing to put in the hard yards, to practice and improve their skills. And most of all, don't give up when it gets hard.

So next time you say "you're so talented" to someone, think about the years of blood, sweat and tears they have put into the "talent" that you see and maybe give them a compliment about their hard work and commitment too!

What do you think? Do you think you are born naturally talented or gifted in certain things or are they developed as you grow? Do you think there are people who are not creative at all and some who are? Or does everyone have some sort of creativity and it's more about the individual's ability to tap into it??

Would love to hear your thoughts!

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