Painting Isn’t My Talent

I sometimes joke about having a plethora of unmarketable talents. The kinds of talents that REALLY don’t look good on a  resume- things like tying bow ties, shopping online, driving a stick shift, singing off key, and wrapping presents.

What are talents anyway? We’re told to ‘let our light shine’ (Matthew 5) and ‘not bury our talents’ (D&C 60:13), but I don’t see anyway to magnify something we can’t define.

Throughout elementary school and Jr. high I tried about a thousand different activities trying to decide what I actually wanted to put energy into. I’m sure many can relate when I say I tried just about everything under the blue sky- soccer, dance, piano, singing, cooking, musical theatre, running, etc. etc.

“So what do you do now?”


This begs the question, why didn’t the other activities stick? It definitely wasn’t because I was Mozart after three lessons. Let me illustrate what it was like with a  different example…

About a year ago, on a whim, I got out my kindergarten watercolor paints and painted…a blob. My masterpiece took hours and turned out to be anything but beautiful. Since then my sister has asked me to design her wedding invitations, and it’s not because she wants a blob, it’s because I’ve genuinely improved, and I take pride in my little watercolor paintings. So why didn’t I give up when my first attempt was a colorfully fantastic failure?

Because I genuinely enjoyed painting that blob.


And now I genuinely enjoy painting more coherent paintings. I’m far from a professional artist, but I’m grateful I didn’t dismiss painting that first time by saying “it’s not my talent.” Instead, I recognized the joy it brought me and through that, granted myself potential to improve.

So, my advice is to try whatever you’d like. Try painting, or sewing, or parkour! Try something. Then, if you find joy in doing whatever activity, pursue it, magnify it, share it, but please please never dismiss it by saying “it’s not my talent.” A talent is the potential you grant yourself by (as cheesy as it sounds) believing in yourself!

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  • Tasha Moon
    June 17, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    I’ve actually been thinking about this same topic lately. There are so many movies with the message of “believe in yourself and follow your dreams”, but also the underlying message that being wildly successful at those dreams is what makes them worthwhile. In reality, most of us are of average, not extraordinary, talent.

    MY mantra these days is to create joy instead of a product. Isn’t that the whole point of creative activity anyway? I’m trying to not let the outcome effect my enjoyment.