I don't know why I suddenly started thinking about this, but it's something that has bugged me for years, really. Have you ever heard how people talk about being "gifted" or "a natural" at something? Like they were born good at a certain activity or something? In the extreme, we see them all the time; the prodigies, the "child geniuses", all glorified like there's no tomorrow. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with those people, they have great skills, there's no denying that. What I have a problem with is how easily people use these words.
My mom told me recently that I had a "gift" for painting. That I probably got it from my grandma. Now... I love my mom to death, but those words just made me feel really frustrated. I don't feel that I have a "gift" or that I'm "a natural" at the things I do. Hearing that actually makes me feel a tiny bit... belittled. It just makes it sound like I was automatically born good at this, and it's so, so wrong. I was born just like any other baby with little to no coordination in my fingers whatsoever. I wasn't born "naturally" being able to wield a crayon. I probably spent my first years chewing
on crayons just like any other kid. So why did I get to where I am today when it comes to drawing and painting? Because of interest and practice.
If I didn't have the interest in drawing, I wouldn't have started drawing pictures. If I never started drawing pictures, I would still be struggling with simple stick-men and smiley faces. It's as simple as that. If I was born with anything at all, then I was born with a love of drawing and creating pictures with various tools. And even that would have been useless if I hadn't actually DONE something about it and started drawing and practicing and gradually improving. I don't want to hear that it's "natural" that I draw the way I do, or that it's "in my genes". I have almost 20 fucking years of practice behind me, don't make it sound like that doesn't matter.
I'm not saying that people can't be born with certain aspects of their characters that can be useful in certain areas of life. Some kids ARE born with great memory or a passion for numbers or words, others are born with a good ear for music. But that won't get you anywhere unless you actualy DO something. Having a good ear for music alone won't teach you to play a violin; practice (and perhaps lessons) will.
To me it just feels like this whole being born "gifted" is just another way of categorizing people and defining them. On one extreme note, if you tell a kid he's got tons of potential because he's smart, that kid's going to either strive to actually achieve something with his smarts, or he'll be destroyed by the pure pressure. On the other far end, if you tell a kid that he's not gifted at something, that's like saying "hey, there's no use even trying, you just wasn't born good enough". Well FUCK that.
We can't help the way we're born. What matters is how we choose to live, and that is what determines what areas in life we'll succeed at. No one is born a perfect god who excells at everything, just as no one are born as useless idiots who can't do anything. Potential is just a fancy word, it doesn't matter if we don't actually choose to do something with it.
I believe that people can do whatever they set their minds to doing. So what if you weren't born with long "piano fingers", with enough practice you'll find a way around that and might be a better pianist than anyone. So what if you weren't born with a good memory; that can for one be trained, and good "study tecniques" can still get you very far if you work hard at it. So what if you were born short, big-boned, with one leg or no arms, you can still be a fucking sport star if you want.
My point is, stop making excuses and just go for it. Sitting down and giving up won't get you anywhere. Set a goal and work for it, or just try your best and see how far you'll get if you want. I know it's not easy, I too make all sorts of excuses and keep getting lost in these negative thinking circles that tries to convince me it's no use no matter what I do. But I know for a fact that hard work matters; in my last year in high school I got a Math grade that I'm very happy with, and all because I worked hard for it. I have never had any interest in math, and I've always struggled with it because I just couldn't understand it. One day I sat down and decided that fuck this, I'm gonna go for a top grade in this fucking subject for once, because why not? I guess I wanted to prove a point to myself. To this day, I've never been more proud of a school grade, because I really did my best for that result and I proved to myself that I could do it. I got a better grade in that subject than I ever did in the subjects I loved and apparently was "a natural" at.
Whether you were born "gifted" or not, it's just a fancy title when all comes down to it. It doesn't matter if you have the best fucking clay in the world; it still won't be more than a lump of mud unless you start shaping it! So take whatever clay you've got and start sculpting!
... Man, it is waay too late for me to be ranting about stuff, this turned out a lot more sappy than I meant for it to be... Oh well
'g night, people