It hurts when you hear it. Hurts a lot. It hurts more when you hear it from your folks or someone important for you. You think you're good at something, and additionally you enjoy it. You work hard, you achieve something and for a moment you feel like you're just awesome. You have a talent! You're an amazing storyteller, you can express so much in a painting, you can put your soul out there when you dance, you're a natural actor who can drive people through all the range of possible emotions. You are good at something and it makes you feel really special.
But if chances are that your talent won't make you rich, then it isn't worth much. How is this measured? Actors; most live in poverty. Only a few succeed. Writers; most earn peanuts -if ever published. Only a few succeed. Artists, well, just look at Van Gogh, Michael Angelo, they are great now, but they died in poverty. You must ensure a way of living. You must do something that proves to be profitable. Be an accountant, be a doctor, be an administrator, a lawyer, whatever, but better be sure it's something many have made, are making and will make a living doing it.
I am certain all those who told me my talents were not worth much were thinking on what's best for me. I know some, or many of you have been there. You've heard it. You've felt it. Maybe you've even said it to your kids. Those words don't feel good, though. They feel like killers, stabbing our dream to death. They rob whatever special you thought you had because it becomes meaningless. Even when it may not be the parent's intent, it does feel like this.
I don't have kids but if I did, I would never say this or any version of it to them. I would rather teach them to learn the difference between a passion and an interest. If your talent is your passion, you'll find your way among the successful. If your talent is only an interest, then you'll find plenty of excuses to never getting there, despite the talent.
I know I have many talents and I know I would have been brilliant at one of them, at least; if allowed, if encouraged, if nurtured. I believe that one brilliant artist can make more money than one frustrated average (insert here whatever profitable career you like). Why? Because the first loves what he does and is good at doing it, while the latter sees his job as a bloodsucking, slave driving, dream killer task. The first works to make his dream come true; the latter is paid to help others make their dream come true. There is a HUGE difference, and that difference matters and will impact a great deal of your adult life.
I am a 802 years old dragon and I am past blaming anyone for my decisions or mistakes. Maybe a bit more support and understanding could have helped me to find my place at an early age. Maybe not. I'll never know. I self-teach myself now all those things I wanted to learn centuries ago. I've given my passion CPR and I've kept the secret that I've revived my dream. If it wasn't understood when I was young, it won't be understood six centuries later. I really don't want to waste my breath convincing people of its importance. I know why I have to do this. It might not be important at all for the rest of the world but it's important to me. That should be enough. But that doesn't spare me the message about the worth of my talents from time to time. Unfortunately, the dragon scale armor is not enough to spare my spirits the fall from this
I've been watching the TEDx Talks lately. There's a bit from Why You'll Fail to Have a Great Career by Larry Smith (video below) that has been circling my mind for many days.
<<Passion is your greatest love. Passion is what will help you create the greatest expression of your talent. Interest is not the same thing. Are you really gonna go to your sweetie and say, "Marry me! I find you interesting.">>
Like in a marriage, you will not succeed if your talent is not also your greatest love. When negativity storms arrive, when people tell you it is all a waste of time because you're never gonna make it, because "most don't make it", because you're not J.K. Rowling, or Steve Jobs, or whatever genius they think you need to be to succeed. When that happens, you better be madly in love with your talent, so you commit to it like to a marriage. You need to believe in it and trust it like you do your greatest love so you keep fighting for it. Only then you'll be immune to negativity. It won't matter anymore what others think because as with your greatest love, you DO know and fully understand the true worth, the beauty and value of that love.
Basically my message today is: Don't be a dream killer, even if your intention is good. Better help those behind you to know the difference between an interest and a passion, and encourage them and yourself to go after a true passion. Don't wait six hundred years to do it. You're not a dragon. You won't live that long. And even if you would, it's still a waste of time, opportunities and talent. Take my word for it.
This post is part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. We post first Monday of every month. If you need support, click on the link and join. If you're good to give support, then click on the link and join.
Blog Blitz a shout out and I've been delaying it enough. Some of you might be familiar with it, but for those of you who are not, the Blog Blitz is the brainchild of D.L. Hammons at Cruising Altitude 2.0 This is another amazing group of folks who team up to brighten the day of a person in need of cheering or randomly chosen.
Let me tell you briefly about my experience with this group. I had the luck to be blitzed during the second day of the A to Z Challenge 2013. I was terrified because it was my first challenge. I was pretty new to blogging too so I was clueless and unsure. The Blog Blitz made me feel so good that day. I was overwhelmed to see so many at the cave, but it was worth.
However the one I consider the most amazing thing the Blog Blitz did for me (and I'm eternally grateful for it) didn't actually happen here at the dragon cave. Last year one of my best on-line friends, Jeffrey Hargett, lost his wife. Alex J. Cavanaugh and I asked DL to call a Blitz for Jeff, in spite he wasn't in the list at the time. It was just providential timing that the Blitz happened the day Jeff picked up his wife's death certificate. To be blog blitzed that day meant a lot to him. It was like a huge massive hug.
That wasn't the only time the Blog Blitz has done that. It's great to be blitzed, but it is even greater to be there for someone when it really matters. It's amazing to have the chance to brighten someone's day. It's like giving away a smile. It doesn't take much, it costs you nothing, but it can work miracles for someone. Join in and blitz a smile!
Thank you for visiting the Dragon Cave. Thank you for reading to the end. Thank you for not being Dream Killers. Thank you for not feeding the dwarves and for not making a fuss if your clothes catch fire. I leave you all Dragon Hugs. (Yes, I'm hugging people again.)