Tuesday, November 04, 2008
A student asked me recently, "Do you think I have what it takes to make it?" Wow, what a loaded question. Of course, if I respond in the positive, I'm responsible for every failure she encounters from now until she dies. "YOU TOLD ME I HAVE WHAT IT TAKES! WHY DID YOU LIE TO ME? WHHYYY??? KHHAAANNN!! KHAAANNN!!" If I respond in the negative, I'm planting seeds of insecurities that will hinder her normal growth and progression. "you're right. i guess i do kinda suck." :-(
How do you teach a person to appreciate their strengths and their weaknesses objectively, when we are surrounded in culture by successful untalented people and unsuccessful talented people? Just what is "IT" that's necessary to make it? I'm glad you asked.
IT, ladies and gentlemen, is magic. Yes . . . Potter . . . MAGIC.
No, not wizardry or sorcery or slight of hand or illusion. Go look up "magic" in the dictionary. It's described as "a quality that makes something seem removed from everyday life, especially in a way that gives delight."
When you fall in love for the first time - magic.
When you love someone unconditionally that loves you back - magic.
When you worship God in truth and in spirit - magic.
When you help someone in need - magic.
When you receive a gift or an appreciation - magic.
But Funkyman, you ask, how does that apply to your students' question? Well, no one is successful who didn't try to be that. How does an untalented person become successful? They try. Why do they try? Because they really want it. Why do they really want it? Well, any number of reasons, but you can bet one of them may be the indescribable drive, almost supernatural drive, to do something. We call it passion. What is the source of passion? Since it makes us feel removed from everyday life, especially in a way that gives delight, it must be magic.
Passion is not explainable. However, it is real. If an untalented person has enough passion for something, they may very well succeed at it, because those watching and judging will evaluate that person not solely on talent, but on passion as well. We love to see someone passionate about what they do, even if it's not the greatest thing we've ever seen. In the end, talent is secondary to passion. Unfortunately, my student's question was about the music industry, and it's filled with talentless "successes." However, all successes have passion in common. So my response to the question "Do I have what it takes?" was not "yes" or "no." It was a question.
Are you passionate about what you do? If you are, then champion your strengths, humble yourself and listen to those more experienced than you about your weaknesses, keep working, and love what you do. Whether you end up famous or rich, you will have made it.
And that's the truth for . . .