By Karin Gillespie
I’ve always wanted to play the mandolin… but I have a tin ear.
I’ve wanted to tango… but I have two left feet.
I’ve always wanted to write poetry… but my eighth-grade English teacher said my poems stink.
Have you ever denied yourself an activity because you didn’t think you had the talent?
That’s a mistake; it turns out that if you have the desire, talent isn’t necessary.
That’s right. If there’s an activity you really, really want to do, go ahead and give it a whirl.
Follow that up with a heap of practice, and one day you might be a world-class performer.
Talent, it turns out, is the least important thing. Some people wonder if it’s even necessary at all to a person’s success.
What about Mozart?
Geoff Colvin, author of “Talented Is Overrated” makes a great case that Mozart’s genius was due to effort.
Did you know his father was a famous composer? That he started training Mozart at the age of three? That his early compositions weren’t written in Mozart’s own hand? That dad always “corrected” his son’s work, and quit composing around the same time Mozart started?
In fact, Mozart didn’t write his first masterpiece until he was twenty-one.
Precocious yes, but you might be a kick-butt composer too if you had eighteen years of heavy-duty dad training.
Tiger Woods had a similar background and a very similar dad.
According to Colvin, it’s practice, not talent, that makes perfect. However it takes a specific type of practice to be perfect, which he talks about at length in his book.
Definitely worth a read.
So what’s stopping you?
Not a lack of talent for sure.
Go forth and be… a competitive hotdog eater, a belly dancer, a competitive bowler or the next Joyce Carol Oates.
Desire and practice is all you need.
On another note, I have a novel to give away: The House at the End of Hope Street.
Here's the description:
A magical debut about an enchanted house that offers refuge to women in their time of need
Distraught that her academic career has stalled, Alba is walking through her hometown of Cambridge, England, when she finds herself in front of a house she’s never seen before, 11 Hope Street. A beautiful older woman named Peggy greets her and invites her to stay, on the house’s usual conditions: she has ninety-nine nights to turn her life around. With nothing left to lose, Alba takes a chance and moves in.
She soon discovers that this is no ordinary house. Past residents have included Virginia Woolf and Dorothy Parker, who, after receiving the assistance they needed, hung around to help newcomers—literally, in talking portraits on the wall. As she escapes into this new world, Alba begins a journey that will heal her wounds—and maybe even save her life.
Filled with a colorful and unforgettable cast of literary figures, The House at the End of Hope Street is a charming, whimsical novel of hope and feminine wisdom that is sure to appeal to fans of Jasper Fforde and especially Sarah Addison Allen.
If you're interested in wining the novel, leave a comment with an email address. I'll email the winner after midnight Saturday.