Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A talent for laziness

I admire people who have one particular talent, and I’m a bit envious of them too. It’s a really nasty sort of envy, because, quite frankly, these people have worked hard in order to excel and I haven’t.

I may envy them their achievements. I don’t envy the hard work that goes into it, but does that stop me from saying ‘I wish I could write / paint / play the guitar as well as you!’ for example? No it doesn’t and I do wish it.

The fact is that I wish that talent was just bestowed on me together with whatever technical proficiency its possessor has acquired and that I won’t have to actually work for it. Don’t you think that’s a trifle insulting? Its like saying you think that what they do is and has always been effortless, and nothing is, is it?

Over the years, I have discovered that though there are things I could become particularly good at, I’m far too lazy to do anything about it. In today’s competitive world full of people clamouring for attention and recognition, you have to work really hard just to be comparatively good at something. It’s a bit depressing, really.

I make excuses for myself: I’m a generalist, I can do a little of everything, I haven’t poured myself into one facet of my learning or development, everything’s interesting, so I haven’t focused on anything in particular, and so I’m well-rounded – but I’m just making excuses.

Anyway, this is for those of you who really are talented at something: philosophy, writing, music, art, or just being a wonderful human being: I respect you. I’ll never be as ‘good’ as you are. I’m lazy. That’s all.

Today's pic: a flower for you.


  1. I completely relate to your words and sentiment- I could have written this post. And I completely disagree. You have a rare talent for writing- one that you've nurtured and cared for- it's obvious to me. This comparison game we all play helps us to figure out where we are and maybe even where we want to go- but it is just a game after all.
    A lazy person wouldn't even bother trying. No offense to those of you who dedicate your life to doing one thing and one thing really well- but you're boring. I said it- it's true. We need those people- but I can't imagine being one.
    MM- BFF (grin) you have talent. Any effort you put into your writing only makes it better- and the effort is apparent here on a very consistent basis. I'm glad you are exactly who you are.
    You're one hell of a photographer too. I'm just saying.

  2. I wish I had a talent too. It makes it especially bad reading about all the super high achieving people in the bloggerhood. But, I guess if I applied myself at something I would develop a talent. Oh well.

    You do have a talent when it comes to writing though. You're very good at it.

  3. I found my way here through Pamo's blog. I have to say, I agree with her--you're talented at writing! I also relate to this post very much.

    I got frustrated with my art years ago, and gave it up. During that time, I felt I was decent at many things-I dabbled a lot- but not exceptional at any one thing. I called myself 'well-rounded'. I've picked up my art again, and while I still wouldn't describe myself as 'exceptional', I am happy to be where I am. I don't feel like I'm wandering anymore. And I'm more able to accept that I have a tiny bit of 'talent' in this area...which is hard for me to say for some reason!

  4. I think you are a talented writer & photographer. I'm a horrible guitar player, writer, artist...etc, but I still do it. To me art is fun time, I don't want to work for it, that's what work is for. I'm very lazy when it comes to art.

  5. I've always had talent in multiple areas (writing, art, music) just enough to be good, not enough to be great. I would get tired of one area and move to the other, so I would never really develop in any one. Now, finally, in my fourth decade, I've decided to concentrate on art by doing it as often as I can - and now it's been more than a year and no time for stopping. And I've seen improvement. (Of course, writing creeped into my blog, but what do you do?). TTR. The truth is, I think, that talent is overrated. It only gets you to the gate. But with effort, by doing it over and over again, the sky's the limit.

  6. PS - I have no idea why I wrote "no time for stopping". I meant, "no sign of stopping". Go figure.

  7. Wow! What a lot of intersting comment, I suspect I have PAMO to thank for all the new traffic.

    I was thinking that when we do something good or beautiful, its never perfect, and we know where the imperfections are. When people see the goodness and beauty, all we're thinking about are the things that aren't as we would have liked them.

    Perfection is boring, so why are we trying to be perfect? Art is individual, its self-expression, so what are we actually trying to live up to? What's the 'standard'?

    So: PAMO, Reana, Karl, Dan: each of you is unique and your creative expression is unique, and therefore your work is perfect in its own way. Perfectly yours. Me too! Oh wow! Epiphany!

    As for you Jay, if you think you haven't got talent, then ask yourself why so many people enjoy your blog. Perhaps you've hit the nail on the head when you talk about 'high achievers'. We want to be like them, and if we aren't we think its a quality problem.

    Perhaps a thing done for a small audience or no audience can be as good as one that is highly acclaimed? All that's lacking is recognition and money. Sigh. Did I say 'all'?