8 thoughts on “One More Reason Talent is Not Enough

  1. ahester1

    When I was in management that was my plan, I made networking a priority, which is a big challenge for an introvert. That was before I was called to a “career change”. Networking has also been the key to my husband’s career, even though he’s in the sciences. Whether in the arts or sciences, networking is the way of the world, whether we like it or not. I completely agree with the statement that people remember who helps them, so helping others is important. Seeing it as a community helping each other seems much more palatable to me than people trying to use each other to achieve success.

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    1. Thanks for your input. I agree that human relationships are an important component whatever the profession. I suppose each profession (and each small circle within that profession) has its own little culture which might be cutthroat, helpful, or a mix. Or claiming to be one way but actually being another.

      It’s amusing to watch from the outside when a bunch of Introverts try to network. No fun to be one of them, but entertaining to watch. That’s one reason I like shows where the main character has poor social skills but yet somehow always saves the day, like Monk or Doc Marten. Even though that is nothing like real life.

      Of course, this does raise the point that schmoozing and helping colleagues long-term aren’t quite the same thing. Some of us might be better at one than at the other. Unfortunately we all have to learn to do a little of each.

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  2. The truth is life is not fair

    Not shit, sherlock! Geez, I stopped reading right there. Anyone who can write something like that as if it is some sort of “new” idea is an idiot. Or of a certain generation.

    I notice you don’t comment on (as in, in your own post) most of the links you post. Any particular reason?

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    1. Ha! Well, you raise an interesting question.

      On one level, everyone “knows” that life is not fair.

      On the other hand, it does have to be discovered anew by each new generation of young people. It’s new to them.

      Particularly when we are first starting out in our chosen profession, we have certain expectations. Among them that there will be a strong correlation between our talent and/or work ethic, and how well do. Of course, it’s worse if at the age of 20 we’ve never yet lost a game, and have been told that we have crazy talent and will instantly go far. But I don’t think this is just a participation trophy generation problem.

      After all, “not fair” by definition means the world is falling short of some kind of ideal of justice. And young people have always had to discover this, to their shock and dismay. If they had no concept of justice, that would be a worse problem.

      Also, I’d have to say that the expectation that the world will at least sometimes be fair is important for our motivation. People do not put much effort into something that they believe will not last, or will be taken away. You don’t plant your field if you know that war will sweep through the land before harvest. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that for most people, they have to have slightly unrealistic expectations of fairness in order to motivate them to work as hard as they should. The moment people decide that their hard work will never produce any effect, or will actually be punished, is often the moment when they give up on doing anything productive at all.

      For myself, it can be comforting to be reminded that the success or failure of my writing depends on upon a host of factors in addition to its actual quality. I send my books out again and again, only to have them rejected again and again. Being told that maybe it’s because I don’t know the right person, or the market is just not there right now … well, let’s just say it can be helpful.

      About the links, I don’t have the time to write a whole essay 3 times a week. So I post a link that has some kind of relationship to one of the themes of this blog, and then I let readers like you do the work for me, by asking provocative questions in the comments.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree that each generation has to discover just how “unfair” life is, but if they aren’t cocooned, they’re going to see that in everyday life by the time they reach their teens. Even little kids will say, on a regular basis, “that’s not fair!” when different kids in a group get treated differently. I concur that we all believe life should be fair. Personally, I think that is built in by God.

        But my point is, the idea of life being unfair should NOT be a new idea to a 20 year old. I used the word cocoon and that is the only way you get to your 20’s and think that unfairness doesn’t exist. Now, I don’t mean that all young people are pessimistic and think life is unfair all the time. There is a difference between knowing/seeing that unfairness exists and partaking of that unfairness. I’m talking about simply knowing/seeing that unfairness exists. The author here seems to assume that their readers don’t even have this knowledge.

        That is what concerns me. If you are not prepared for life to be unfair, or think that life IS fair all the time, then reality might just break you. (I’m obviously using “you” in the generic, not meaning Mrs Mugrage). You will be as fragile as an egg.

        I do concur that we all expect life to be fair some of the time. And I concur with your assessment of what happens when we act like it isn’t. But that wasn’t the vibe I was getting from the article. That life was an unrelenting assault of unfairness 😀 It was the assumption that people reading the article had never thought about life being unfair before.

        Being reminded of something is good. That’s why I go to church each week. Not necessarily to find “new” ideas but to be reminded. In that regards I’m glad you (not generic, but Mrs Mugrage) found the article helpful. We all have different strengths and weaknesses.

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      2. Yeah, I don’t disagree with anything you say here.

        I wonder if what set you off is that the phenom described in the article is not actually unfair.

        It would be unfair if books were published solely based on who the aspiring author knew, but that’s not really what the article is saying. It’s saying that even writers who have a reputation for being rugged individualists, such as Hemingway, actually were members of a writing community. And that this helped them not only with meeting people in the world of lit, but with developing their craft. That’s a complex reality and there’s not really anything unfair about it. But, I could see it could strike a young artiste as unfair if they think of talent as something inborn and immutable, and of publishing as something that purely measures talent rather than being a combination of a billion different factors. I’m sure the same could be said for other creative industries such as film.

        To be honest, I just blew past all that boilerplate stuff about unfairness in order to get to the actual meat of the article. I figured the title and the disclaimers were there to make the message more palatable to the article’s target audience. I found this article via LinkedIn, so it was written by a person with a focus on business, but directed at people who are going into the creative professions. Perhaps, then, the target audience is more idealistic and sensitive to criticism than the average reader. Not sure why, but as a creative person it’s easy to be raw egg rather than a boiled egg. Maybe because your product is so thoroughly your soul. Or maybe because you have to be kind of grandiose to decide that a bunch of other people would want to read or look at your stuff.

        About real unfairness. I do agree that kids and teens are constantly finding out that life is unfair. As I think about it, it does seem to me that we tend to be bad at generalizing this lesson. We have to learn it anew in many different situations. And we have to calibrate our sense of what is fair. I think it was Doug Wilson who wrote, “Children have a keen, though often inaccurate, sense of justice.”

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