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Prove it. Even Jimi disagreed. Prove that he had “talent”.

Gosh, and this was so collegial.

One could never “prove” such a thing, but as I pointed out in my original comment, there are plenty of musicians who’ve worked more on their craft in their longer lives than Hendrix could possibly have in the almost twelve years he was playing guitar obsessively, and yet they have little to show for it.

(Hendrix was also near-pathologically modest, and thus very likely to be underestimating the role talent played in his success.)

Lack of talent exists too.

When I studied mathematics in university, there was an older student who’d had a couple of successful careers but had always wanted to study mathematics, so when he had a windfall from a project he went back to school.

He was a bright guy — he did fine in first year, but in second year, when we needed to write our own proofs, he struggled and struggled. I spent a great deal of time with him, and he seemed to understand the ideas, and yet he was unable to generate proofs despite easily hundreds of hours of hard work — he had a serious breakdown and we never saw him again: I spoked to his brother who thanked me but asked me to make sure that no one tried to contact him…

He had no talent for this one thing he desperately wanted to do, and it broke him.

Conversely, I personally have always had a “natural talent” for music — talent mostly wasted, even though I do keep performing. (Here’s something I wrote, produced and played all the parts for.)

I’ve never had the drive to excel in that field like I do in software engineering, and I found practicing rather a chore, so when I took music in high school, I slacked off badly — but still got better marks than people who put in a lot more work. I’ve kept it up where almost no one else I knew in school did, but I really think that’s at least part because I got better results for less effort.

Yes, I’d like to chalk some of this up to things like better practice techniques and a more thoughtful attitude, but I’ve been able to do things like, “Sing anything you sing back to you,” since before I can remember.

Yes, a lot of people could excel in many fields with a lot of work, but talent exists — and so does lack of talent.

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