I don’t think that most people really get the whole talent vs skill argument.

Talent you have naturally.

Skill is developed by relentlessly laboring at your art.

Naturally talented people who lack good work ethic fade quickly…think Allen Inverson.  Contrast Iverson with Talent vs SkillMichael Jordan, who though naturally talented, lacked the skill to make his high school basketball team on the first go round.  So he practiced to augment his natural talent with the required skills.  As they say the rest is history.

Talent vs Skill: Example from a different Michael

Last week I watched a documentary called Michael Jackson: The Real Michael Jackson.  In it Michael discusses the day in day out consistent practice required of him and his brothers to make their act absolutely perfect.  All of the brothers were naturally talented, but they all acknowledge that without being driven by Joe Jackson to practice until perfect they would not have attained the level of success they did.

Here is an absolutely amazing video of Michael Jackson practicing his craft.

It’s possible to develop talent through skillful practice

You most likely look to your gene pool for an explanation of your talent or perceived lack there of.  The idea that talent is passed down from parents or grandparents whether it is musical or artistic skill, ability with numbers or being great at juggling is dominant thinking.

Talent vs Skill: The nature vs nurture argument

Doubtless there are significant genetic factors involved, but there are almost certainly environmental factors in the mix too. I believe the two work together, one boosting the other. Remarkable genes only spawn remarkable talent if the skills are suitably nurtured.

What I’m saying here is that where a person has no ability at all they can learn and earn their way to becoming talented, through practice, practice, practice.

Something to make you go…hmm! Hard work outworks talent when talent won’t work.

talent vs skill

Talent vs Skill: Interesting Reads

Seth Godin’s opinion

Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers

Photo Credit: YellowGirl900508