Why lacking talent isn’t a carrier to developing skill

Joseph Ferrer, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Almost everyone has had one activity or skill that they wish they could learn or get better at, and for myself it was art. I always had an appreciation for artistic design growing up and experimented with drawing in my early teenage years. However, I never grew to be confident in my ability or proud of my progress compared to my other hobbies and eventually stopped pursuing it entirely. I recognized that I didn’t have a natural talent for art like other people that I knew and thought that I wasn’t meant to continue it because of that. It wasn’t until recently when I picked up art again that I realized how flawed this mentality was.  

There’s no denying that talent does exist. Different people are naturally geared towards different things and our unique specialties make each of us distinct. However, the absence of talent does not make it impossible to develop and acquire new skills and it certainly doesn’t mean that you were never meant to be successful at those tasks. If there’s something that you want to get good at, you can become successful in it.  


The issue that I and many others have faced when wanting to learn a new skill is struggling to make noticeable improvements. As someone who had  self-taught music and other skills, I thought I would be able to do the same with art. When I realized that I couldn’t approach art in the same way and that I wasn’t seeing any progress, that eventually led me to stop trying. It also didn’t help that I would often compare myself to friends of mine who are more artistically talented. The misconception that I had was that my lack of talent was the reason why I wouldn’t be able to just try hard enough to learn a task on my own and make improvements. In thinking that way, I completely neglected the idea that I would need help from others in order to develop my skill.  

In order to properly develop skills, it’s important to be able to understand when you can’t do something by yourself and need help from others. Over the summer, I took an online class for digital art and also talked more with my artistic friends about their process and how they work on their craft. It was through taking the time to learn from others that I learned more about art techniques and practices than I ever would have known trying on my own. While I’m still not where I want to be in terms of my prowess, I’ve consistently noticed more improvement after taking the time to learn and study artistic techniques.  


Those with talent will naturally understand certain concepts and practices faster than others. While it may take others more time, practice and dedication,  those without it can still reach that level of performance of those with talent. They may have to go out of their way and practice harder than others, but it still can be done. If there’s a certain skill or practice that you want to learn but have trouble latching onto, don’t let your absence of talent dictate whether or not you can become successful at it.