Anyone who has read my work and known me for a while know, for a fact, that the title above is probably total bs – and congratulations, it is!
This topic is one that I’ve mulled over here and there for a number of years now, even in my early twenties, but it was a rather foggy thought that came and went as time went by and experiences were had. I think that it has finally come full circle though as I see it much more clearly now.
To start: I’m a very talented person. Always have been, and it is supported by the years of interesting ventures I’ve had in my life, whether it be in art, music, writing, discussion, fitness, etc.
This sounds like a brag post, but it isn’t – it’s just an acknowledgement of a fact about myself that I struggled with when I was much younger – I have a lot of talent and I’m a very fast learner. I’m not good at absolutely everything, but if I set my mind to what I want, I get it done and I do it at a super fast pace and at high quality. Why am I like this? I have no idea.
This is a consistent trend in my life. It’s just how I function as a human b–frog, as a frog. There are weaknesses and strengths, and I capitalize on all my strengths very hard while minimizing my weaknesses. One weakness is that I can be quite neurotic at times and, in my younger years at least, I had debilitating anxiety, since I started becoming a teenager – to the point of being unable to eat a pizza because I thought I would choke on it, thus making myself choke and having a panic attack. Yup, that actually happened!
I don’t have that problem anymore and pizza is great, but my point is that I worked very, very hard to manage my weakest areas while focusing on my greatest strengths. My talents. This has essentially led me to live quite a nice life that I worked hard to maintain.
There are a lot of people I can look at and thank for supporting me in the directions I took, and they deserve all the credit for that support – but here is the question of the day:
How much of my success is my success, and how much of it is because of others?
The answer is 99% of my success was because I took action. The other 1% was support from others.
My point behind this topic is to talk about the kind of people you meet in life who try to attribute your achievements to their mentor-ship or guidance, etc. This can be compounded up into the entrepreneurship game, too – front line box packers attributing the success of the company to their box packing, and resenting, on some level, the entrepreneur.
I don’t think that is correct. When it comes to raw talent and capability, that is purely on an individual level, and when it begins to involve other people, it still ends up being talent on an individual level, that bounces off one another.
X’s achievement in Y is not because of A’s support of X. X still did all the work, A was just cheering it on and providing some input. A’s achievement in B is because A did the work. X is irrelevant barring their support.
This is getting a little technical, so let’s scale it back with concrete examples:
A young, talented artist is being taught by an experienced artist in the field. The young artist goes under the mentor-ship of the experienced artist, honing his talents to a fine degree. Once he is on his own, the experienced artist makes the claim that the achievements of the young artist is because of him, not because of the young artists talent.
Not true. The experienced artists support and mentor-ship was extremely important in honing the talent of the young artist, but it is the talent that propelled him to success, not the teaching. The teaching acted as a boost of support. Take pride in the teaching, but not in the ability of the talented, as he had to choose to hone and act with it.
A highly intelligent, creative thinker studies very hard at a prestigious school, then goes off afterwards to become a successful intellectual within the sphere – and the schools professors resent the fact of his success, claiming it was their teachings that propelled him to success.
Again, that’s not true. The intelligence and drive of the thinker was what propelled him to success. The education supported the intelligence, but it was not the reason for the success.
This comes down to talent and ability vs support and encouragement.
Talented people exist all over the place and they have skill sets in spheres that are beyond the understanding of others. The question of how someone becomes talented is a question I can’t answer. I don’t know. I’ve been asked why I do all the things I do in my life by dozens of people – I can’t give a straight answer. I see shit, I do shit, I do it well. That’s how I work and it’s just how I’ve always been.
But that’s aside from the point of today’s post – my achievements are always mine because I chose to act. If someone supports the action, then that is a good thing, but the results are not because of others, they are because you made a choice to take action and produce them.
Support is good. Encouragement is good. Advice (when asked for) is good – but those only help push the talented person in the direction of their goals, and ultimately they still have to make the fundamental choice of taking action.
People have to want to change and act. It doesn’t matter how much information you give them and if they’re the most prodigal pianist on Earth, if they do nothing, no amount of talent will produce a result – therefore it is an individual’s sole responsibility to take action and utilize that talent. I’ve met a lot of people who make decisions that don’t capitalize on their abilities – cool, that’s their choice and I can respect it. Do I think it’s a waste? Frankly, I don’t really care. It’s their choice as a human being and unless extreme circumstances/issues have prevented them from doing something, I can’t impose how I value my life on them. They have to choose to act in the end, regardless of my input.
But I digress – it is on an individual to make choices and capitalize on their ability. Your success is your success. Your talent is your talent. It’s always on you, and you ought to always take pride in the success you find.
As for the people who believe it’s because of their input that others are successful – I’ll be blunt but get real. Vicariously living through other people’s talents is about as second-handed as it gets, and it’s a pretty big red flag of some significant insecurities and dare I say envy. I’ve had this experience before where people have attempted to proudly proclaim my own achievements are because they did some magical genius thing which got me there, and it always made me feel very uncomfortable. I appreciate support and kindness, but I get very angry indeed when people try to celebrate my success as their own making, as if they have shaped you in some way.
Conversely, I’ve been told by many that I’ve helped them out a whole bunch – this is usually in private messaging online. I’m happy to hear that, but I always try to remind people that it’s not me that helps them, it’s themselves.
You’re helping yourself because you’re the one taking action. Maybe I helped you notice that you’re capable, and that’s great, but I’m not going to take pride in your achievements or in your ability to survive. It’s on you, I just support you and your ability to do it. I take pride in the fact that I can help people, but not in the fact that people change themselves.
That is entirely, 100% you, and you deserve all the damn credit in the world.
So to summarize, your achievements are yours, as mine are. Never let anyone take them away from you. Have pride and self-respect.
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