Seeing where Martin is now, it’s interesting, and almost shocking to hear how he describes a younger, eighteen-year-old version of himself…
“…I had absolutely no gifts. I could not sing or dance, and the only acting I did was really just shouting. Luckily, persistence is a great substitute for talent.”
In other words, talent, or natural ability, is a great tool. But just because you have top-of-the-line Craftsman equipment doesn’t mean the shed is going to build itself. Chances are, you feel more like you only have a hammer and a few rusty nails in your tool box. That’s fine, because where many people would see limitations; artists like Steve Martin see an opportunity to create.
There are hundreds of top players in hundred of industries who lacked the natural ability to succeed in their craft. No one wanted to see Bob Fosse dance classical ballet. His body proportions we completely wrong. So, much like Steve Martin, Fosse created his own style. Now he tells ballerinas how bad their alignment is.
The choice is yours. You can either see your lack of talent as a roadblock, or you can see it as an opportunity to create a new road that’s all your own.
Be warned, this won’t just happen. Remember, persistence is your substitute for talent, and persistence is hard. It’s a daily choice to show up, try, fail, learn, and try again. It is a life made up of many little steps and few large leaps. If you’re willing to do the work though, you just might do something great. More importantly, you might create something new.
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