Do you need natural talent in order to achieve success?
Success in anything?
The arts, business, health, relationships?
Are some people lucky that they were born with natural talent and that is the reason they have achieved the level of success they have?
Natural talent that you don’t have? Is it possible you have been using this lack of natural talent as the reason you have not moved ahead in the direction of your ideal life?
Over more than twelve years in the pursuit of mastery as an artist, and having taught tens of thousands of new artists to paint over a decade I have come to some definite conclusions about the importance of natural talent.
Yes, natural talent does exist. If you have it then it gives you a definite advantage.
But … it’s no guarantee of success!
And it is so rare that it is not even worth considering as a factor.
The best approach to achieving success in your chosen field of endeavor is to act as if you don’t have natural talent.
The trick though is to not let the lack of natural talent stop you from making positive steps forward. Do not use the lack of natural talent as a reason, or excuse, to not try. To not put in the effort.
When I first purchased paints, brushes, and canvases from a two dollar shop in 2006 I was excited to give painting a try. I assumed that because I was attracted to the idea that I must have a natural disposition for painting. That was until I tried my first painting that weekend.
Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face!”
Well, that first attempt at painting was the proverbial punch in the face for me. At the conclusion of that first painting, I came to the natural and obvious conclusion that I must not have any natural talent for painting. Somewhat devastated I packed all of my fresh new art supplies into a box and the box promptly went under the bed. It didn’t see the light of day for months.
Once you arrive at that conclusion about yourself the drive and motivation to move forward and try again quickly disappears.
I have watched this play out hundreds of times with new students in the Learn To Paint Academy.
They join with excitement eager to paint their first masterpiece. Then they quit shortly after doing a few paintings. They come to the same conclusion. A lack of natural talent so there is no point trying.
If you have had a similar experience and became frustrated and upset about not having any apparent talent then do not despair.
As I said earlier, you are actually better off assuming you have no natural talent from the start.
Well, then what?
How is it possible to make any progress with the assumption that you have no talent?
What you need to do is follow a structured learning program over a long enough period to acquire the necessary skills. Once you have these skills you can perform at a high level. The ironic thing is when you do reach such a level you will start getting emails, and comments on social media, telling you how lucky you are to have natural talent.
Over the last decade, I have been studying the process of going from zero to success as an artist. This has included observation of thousands of artists who have come through the Learn To Paint Academy.
The same principles will apply to any creative, business, health, relationship, and life endeavor.
Here are the key factors that have enabled artists I have mentored to make progress in their art journey:
1/ Desire – You have to want to BE an artist
2/ Decision – Deciding you will commit to the process and stick with it when nothing is working
3/ Simplification – Don’t overcomplicate it. Get rid of anything not essential to the results.
4/ Study The Basics – Continual study of the Fundamentals. There are usually about a half dozen things that matter.
5/ Consistent Practice – Painting with Intent Frequently
6/ Lessons – Let each painting provide the lessons for the next. This is the feedback loop.
7/ Focus – On a subject, medium, and style. Mastery is rarely achieved by being all over the place.
If you can sustain these principles over a long enough period of time then you can achieve success regardless of the existence of natural talent or not.
You can accelerate your progress by surrounding yourself with a supportive community, and working with the right mentor.
In recent years, as we have refined our approach to helping artists focus on the above, we have seen artists go from total beginners to successfully selling their art, getting in galleries, winning awards, teaching workshops, and more within 2 to 3 years.
Not everyone will do it in that time frame of course (it’s not a race) but it shows what is possible when you have the right environment and framework to support you.
To sum up these ideas success requires one thing … Consistent Effort.
Consistent effort in acquiring the knowledge, practicing what you learn, receiving feedback, adjusting your approach, seeking guidance from those who have gone before you, fine tuning your focus, and sticking with it for the long term.
That is the real key to success regardless of the existence of natural talent or not.
Even with natural talent, you are still advised to follow the above principles over a long enough period of time. Natural talent will only take you so far.
If you have been putting off the creation of your better future because you doubted yourself and your talent level then the good news is you can decide to change it all today.
Consistent Effort trumps Natural Talent!
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