Talent, Skill, and Time

The longer I live, the more people I talk to, the more relationships I have, the more I realize that talent or skill is much less about being naturally good at something and much more about time.

People who can take a computer or cell phone and reprogram it have spent hours and years thinking about and executing reprogramming. People with amazing social skills who seem to always say the right thing have spent hours and years practicing it. Amazing dancers have put countless hours of work into their craft.

On the same note, people who can slam me into place in an argument and leave me completely without rebuttal have spent hours and hour and years and years thinking and practicing arguing. People who can manipulate others and make them feel small have spent hours and years practicing that exact skill. People who are good liars have put a lot of time, energy, and effort to get to the point where they can do it convincingly.

So the question isn’t so much “what am I good at?” Or even “why are they able to do xyz so easily and why can’t I keep up?” The real question is: “How the hell do I want to spend my precious time?”

Computer skills, social skills, and artistic pursuits are incredibly valuable to me. God knows, I’m more than happy to let the arguers, manipulators, and liars feel victorious while I spend my time doing things that mean something to me with the people who truly care about me.

Credit to my dad for reminding me of this at a particularly difficult time last year.

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