“It’s not about talent, it’s about training.” Dr. Rob Gilbert
Talent is something we tend to talk about with reverence and awe: Some people have tons of it, for others seem to be in shorter supply. And, if we’re honest, most of us want more: Whatever our allotment happens to be, we can’t help wishing the universe had been more generous.
But here’s a key problem with playing the talent game – with feeling that if only we had more we’d be better writers, more successful – you name it: It’s the product of what Carol Zweck calls a “fixed” mindset in her great guide, Mindset. When it comes to talent, we’ve got a limited amount to work with and no more. So focusing on talent puts us at a deficit.
Training is another story altogether – here, our potential is open-ended: The sky’s the limit! Through training, we can grow and change, we can steadily improve our craft –- anything is possible. So why not avoid the talent trap and focus on training?
Consider all the training options we have open to us:
We can train ourselves to commit to regular writing sessions – and stick to them.
We can train ourselves to come to the page with positive energy and enthusiasm.
We can train ourselves to be physically and mentally stronger – to build stamina.
We can train ourselves to be improve our dialogue, plotting, pacing – you name it.
We can train ourselves to develop better work habits and reap their benefits.
Wow! Look at all the growth we can look forward to and work toward when we give up chasing talent and shift our attention to training! It’s like focusing on the donut instead of the hole: It’s so much more satisfying and doable, isn’t it?
Here’s the bottom line: Being trainable has a lot more going for it than angsting about talent! And what a relief that is, now liberating it is. Because talent isn’t really in our control, but training is: It’s something we can commit to and cultivate.
So let’s drop the talent game and focus on training growth as we all write on!