“There’s no talent here, this is hard work. This is an obsession. Talent does not exist, we are all equals as human beings. You could be anyone if you put in the time. You will reach the top, and that’s that. I am not talented, I am obsessed.”
- Conor McGregor
You either have creativity or you don’t. Talent is something that you are born with.
I don’t believe that for a moment. Creativity and talent are developed, in the trenches, with hours of labor and thoughts continuously entertained and challenged along a similar trajectory.
As you continue entertaining specific thoughts, they become clearer, more well-developed and much easier to share, articulate and/or deliver.
I recently read an old blog post I wrote over 5 years ago. I read it and it sucked. It’s a good blog, but compared to my writing today, I consider it absolute garbage. (Brutal, right?!)
The reality is, I could print that blog out and tear it to pieces with a red pen today.
The thoughts in that blog were good. They enabled me to develop stronger opinions, making deeper connections to other content I have created. There’s also no doubt that I could use that blog as a starting point for re-purposing a new blog or video and I probably will.
But, what’s really my point here?
My point is that I’ve only become a better writer over the last 5 years because I’ve continuously worked on my craft and continued to challenge my thoughts and messages along the same tributaries as I was years ago. It’s an obsession.
It’s MUCH easier to pump out a valuable piece of content today than it was 5 years ago. And, it’s not because I’m more creative. It’s not because I’m creative at all!
It’s only easier now because I’ve put in TONS of hours reading, writing and developing thoughts along these channels that I’m obsessed with. I’ve had millions of moments where I was pulling my hair out because I couldn’t get a sentence, paragraph or a blog “just right”.
My dad has been preaching this to me for years. And I mean YEARS.
The “creative gene” doesn’t exist. The “work jean” does.
There is no better example of this than some of the great rappers of the world. They aren’t creative geniuses, they are workaholics. Or, as they call it “Hustlers”.
They don’t rely on talent. They rely on WORK. They are writers, content creators and they are obsessed with lyrical delivery.
Take Eminem for example. He has boxes on top of boxes full to the brim of legal pads that are covered with lyrics, rhymes and phrases that will become songs at some point. This is his process. He writes, writes some more, then writes again.
He’s not talented, he’s obsessed.
In fact, nobody is blessed with this type creativity, or talent.
It’s something that comes from the continuous testing of a million iterations.
It’s a process, it’s not a blessing.
It’s something that develops in direct proportion with the amount of time you dedicate to it.
Another example of this is “The Game”. He’s a platinum recorded rap artist who has had a half dozen really popular albums. He spent time working with Dr. Dre, Eminem and 50-cent and finally branched out on his own. Either way, he had 4 albums that I knew of. Then, I take a look on Spotify because I haven’t heard from him in awhile.
In the last 5 years he has launched 29 new albums!
He is working. He is grinding. He is constantly improving his craft.
Sure, he has talent as an artist, but it’s something he developed. It’s something he has created!
This principle can be found everywhere: with writers, rappers, athletes, business people, comedians, etc. I just read a blog that talks about Chris Rock and how he hasn’t done a tour in 7 years, yet people see him at no-name clubs performing for a couple dozen people all the time. This is a guy that has sold out stadiums and been the star in Hollywood movies, yet he’s still in the trenches developing and testing his newest material.
He’s just doing what great people do; he’s pushing his creativity and his talent to another level by putting in the work.
I guess it just gets to me when I see people discount others as “creatively blessed”.
I don’t think a lot of people recognize the work it truly takes to become excellent at something.
Writing is that for me. I read so many stories of writers that I admire and it’s always humbling when I recognize how many hours it took them to become the renown writer they are today.
We think it was easy for them, but they were just simply able to endure more of the early difficulties of mastering a creative outlet.
They were able to push through the boredom and the months where no progress seemed to occur.
This is the constant challenge with developing creativity and talent. There are so many moments where progress seems to have stalled, but it is precisely in this moments where you must buckle-down and work even harder to push through the plateaus. You must reconnect with your innate desires and passions and forget about the results.
All of the greats operate on this frequency. They have a commitment to their creative process, whatever it may be, but they realize that they will endure tons of difficult days, releasing a bunch of mediocre blogs, horrible song tracks, or questionable YouTube videos that get absolutely no traction.
Recognizing that creativity and talent are simply a function of persistence and work-ethic is the key to unlocking your potential. You can be whoever you want if you put in the work.
If you enjoyed this post, I think you’ll love this one too, entitled “Conquering Fear (Once, and for all)”
I also publish work on my Relentless Forward Momentum website. And you didn’t hear this from me, but if you go here you can get all 3 of my books for free (say whaaattt?!?!), plus you’ll get regular inspiration, motivation and strategy sent directly to your inbox. Check it out. :)