Lately I have been thinking a lot about natural born talent and luck. For many, the best possible combination is to have both, to be born with talent and to be born with luck. And as I grow and mature, my thinking is changing on this subject. I used to be jealous of those who showed a natural inclination to a subject or task, but now I find myself more interested in expressing my feelings that they DO have talent. I find myself defining talent and luck in different terms and what that can mean for someone’s life and adventures.
It is my personal opinion that we all have talent and luck; it is just very different person to person. It is also my personal opinion that talent and passion don’t always match, in fact I feel they rarely do. And it is this niche of talent/passion mismatch I wish to discuss.
I have a very distinct talent and luck that is transferrable to many arenas of my life. It isn’t an easy talent to see, but now at 32, I know that this is what I was born with and has helped me get to where I am. It will also help me with where I want to go. My talent is discernment. Not the flashiest of talents, and definitely isn’t what I wanted when I was 7 years old trying to be an Olympic figure skater. Like many, I wanted a tangible talent. I wanted to be extra flexible or extra strong. I wanted to be extremely intelligent or any other talent that is highly recognizable by the public. But this wasn’t the case.
Everything I have been passionate about in my life hasn’t come easy. I have had to work for it. From sports, to jobs, to people, I’ve had to struggle. But, my talent allowed me to judge and see that more often than not the struggle is worth it. And through this I learned not to be scared of failure. To actually thrive from it, when I knew it was something I wanted. This talent comes through in every aspect of my life; it translates into good taste allowing me to see trends before they become trends. It also can be translated into sensitivity. Something I think I was in denial of being for a very long time. It is ironic that this sensitivity made me blind to my talent for such a long time.
Because I could judge easier than most, I was able to identify when I wasn’t talented at something. I would get discouraged easily as a child and jump from hobby to hobby. I was only using one part of my talent. I would be able to easily come to the conclusion that I was “bad” at something, but not able to figure out if I actually liked it or if I felt I could grow from that point. So, I would give up, many times before I really ever started. Then I would beat myself up for quitting so many things. It was an endless cycle of “I am bad at everything.”
As I have gotten older, and with the help of a little discipline, I have learned that discernment is not only about seeing if you are bad at or the right fit for something or someone. It is much more fluid than that. It is about figuring out what it is you want, saying it out loud, and then doing it with both eyes open. Failure is inevitable, and being bad is par for the course. But after I accepted that, it opened up the doors to soooo many adventures.
Being adventurous is easier when you aren’t scared to fail, when you aren’t scared of being bad at something. We grow up many times thinking, oh I would be so bad at this or that, and then we don’t ever try, even if it is something that sets our hearts a flutter. Or we get told by someone else that we are bad at something, and then we quit. So we end up doing things we are “good” at, and rarely find any real growth. For those who were granted those tangible talents I mentioned, it can cause a real crisis when they finally find a passion that doesn’t fit their talent, or when the talent has run its course.
This brings me to the second part, luck. I think most people would like to be lucky in money or lucky in love or health. The fact of the matter is that very few are. For many of us our luck lies in our family, friends, appearance, or personality. And from that, most of us have a combination of them as our luck.
My luck is a lovely triangle. It is my appearance, personality, and family. My luck has worked hand in hand to get me through every experience I have had so far. I was born into an extremely supportive family, even if our resources were scarce. What they had, they gave to me and what they didn’t have, taught me even more. I was told no, more times than I can even remember. But that just made me more creative. I never took no as a final answer because I was told it so often. After the initial no, I use my talent of discernment to reassess if it is something I need, want, love, etc. If the answer is yes, it is end of story. I will seek it out until the end, no matter whom or what it is; experiencing every bump on the way, enjoying the adventure.
My personality has given me the luck of be open to new people and experiences. It has opened doors for me that often are closed to others. This has gotten me plenty of freebies in my life, something I am extremely grateful for. I wouldn’t be where I am or be able to do any of the things I have done without the generosity of friends and oddly enough, strangers.
My appearance fills out my luck trio. In a time when it seems to be difficult to be a woman, I would have to say it has always worked in my favor. But, I think this is also because I have had the great fortune of looking ethnically ambiguous. My features are not strongly ethnic in ANY way. I am able to blend in almost anywhere, with a few obvious exceptions. This has made my life and my adventures much more manageable and safe. I don’t stand out in a crowd. You can’t pinpoint where I am from. It gives me the freedom I need to pursue my passions. As much as I would love to have green eyes, my brown eyes save me from any unwanted attention, along with my brown hair, and average body frame.
With my luck in hand, I am able to use my talent freely. I am able to discern what adventures I wish to pursue. I am able to accept that being “bad” at something or failing is not the end of the line. I stopped myself so many times before. How could someone who is scared of heights start rock climbing or sky diving? Or how could someone who is quite clumsy start mountain biking without anybody to learn from? The simple answer, just do it and do it often. This past weekend I hiked to the summit of an 8,301 ft snowy mountain. I had not seen snow until last year, so I could have easily backed out of the pursuit. But I didn’t. You have to start somewhere if you are going to go anywhere. I didn’t beat myself up for not being as quick on the descent as others. I took my time, and tried to stay present. I had great support from friends, and of course even strangers. The summit was a magical place and I was elated to have done something completely new to me. So my advice, don’t be afraid to fail, don’t be afraid of being bad. The truth is, in this adventurous life I think we were all born to be bad.