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The Fallacy of Talent


1. a special natural ability or aptitude: a talent for drawing.
2. a capacity for achievement or success; ability: young men of talent.

Talent is one of those most misleading words in the World today, and typifies Western society’s obsession with doing everything quickly. Talent, as per the definition above, implies that a person is somehow gifted in a certain field, which thus leads to great success. We can see this all through our popular culture – Harry Potter finds out he has a talent for magic despite being raised as a muggle, in the Matrix Morpheus tells Neo “don’t think you can, know you can” and that is basically all he needs to turn into a demigod. We are basically told repeatedly by movies and television that we simply have to discover our talent and we are going to be awesome at it.
This flies completely in the face of reality where hard work and dedication are what make you good at anything, not this mysterious thing called “talent”. If The Karate Kid was actually realistic, Daniel (and most likely Mr Miyagi too) would have gotten his ass kicked by the Cobra Kai at the tournament rather than winning with that ridiculous crane kick. To be honest I think the term talent is actually somewhat insulting, because it implies that the person was somehow gifted that trait by god or whatever deity you follow, rather than having earned them. I want to give three examples as to why talent is an inappropriate term. Continue reading


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