Why Talents Mean Nothing

Last week I had this exciting conversation with a friend of mine. We talked about my app business and exchanged ideas and how to follow through on them. We both know A LOT of talented and very experienced people. You talk to these people and you can feel they have a very clear plan and nice idea of how they could turn their life around, how they could help other people, how they can be of service to others.

But somehow, quite a lot of them seem to have a hard time ACTUALLY following through on these killer ideas. They do not know the steps necessary to let their talents help them living the lifestyle they dream of.

Just like I had no clue when I started out writing this blog, or outsourcing my first app to an international app development team, they do not know how to proceed on their own plans and ideas. They lack the crucial skills to execute, getting these ideas and products out there, and making them come to life. Their talents literally fail them because they are not skilled.

How your talents will fail you, and here is why:

1. Your talents will falsely make you believe you can take time off. You think you are better than other people because you are “talented”. You think you can take time off and relax. You do no longer feel the urge to train and exercise because you make yourself believe that you are better than anybody else anyways. This is how talents will fail you. I would even go so far and say that being talented is even a hindrance to achieving something great, because you do not cultivate the skills necessary the hard way.

2. Being talented “spares” you from learning the basics, which is very bad. Oftentimes we become talented because we begin to do stuff regularly very early in our life. We get some positive feedback for doing so, which reinforces us to keep on doing it. All this happens in a very young age and we often do not consciously recognise the whole process behind it. We just do something we like, we get positive feedback and we keep practicing it. That is my explanation on why some young people get VERY talented. But when you are learning something later on in your life, you may not get this positive feedback anymore and working on your skills gets very hard. Oftentimes you not only get no positive feedback at all, also, your friends, society or the people around you might even add some additional resistance. So the whole process of learning something new gets extremely unpleasant!:) You have to plow through a lot of bullshit and keep going, mostly without some nice external encouragement or positive feedback on you being on the right path. So in order to learn something new you have to cultivate a SKILL that allows you to use a lot of beneficial abilities.

You learn how to: 

  • Focus on the overall progress instead of instant gratification.
  • Your progress becomes way more important than some external feedback.
  • You learn to “read” the feedback you get from your trial and error attempts, which is crucial because you tend to fall a lot in the beginning (a lot of talented people do not consciously know why something works that way, but if you had to learn it the “hard” way, you learned the lesson!).
  • You autocorrect yourself to stay on this very small path that leads to mastery.
  • Also, you become self-sustained and self-motivated, because you keep going without external reinforcement and approval.


How to become “skilled” and break out of this trap!

So in order to become “talented” without being talented is to work on your skills. You have to work a lot. You have to keep going. Also when times get tough and weird and unpleasant stuff happens around you.

The only difference that I would think made me following through on my ideas was the one thing that I didn’t stop because of some uncertainty. You just baby step yourself towards a very vague goal and vision and you autocorrect your direction along the way. I clearly had no idea where I was going, I didn’t know if not all of what I was doing was a big and huge mistake. But somehow I kept going and in the end it finally paid off.

I now often look back to when I was starting out with my app business and I think what really made me push through all the nonsense that comes with creating your first start-up was an advice I got from Chad Mureta’s App Empire: Make Money, Have a Life, and Let Technology Work for You. He dedicated the first chapters in the book mainly to having the right mindset and knowing WHY you want to do apps (or any other startup business). He asked you to dig very deep to find your main reason behind you doing it and what you are trying to achieve with it. Now looking back, sitting down and putting my true purpose and motivation down to paper was possibly the most important thing I did when starting out.

Here are just some of the questions I answered back then. (I still keep the paper I wrote the answers on and I love to look at them and think back on how this very moment changed my future life drastically!:))

  • What’s my why, and how will my life change when I get it?
  • What can I see myself doing in the app business to make money?
  • What is my passion?
  • What do I want to do with the freedom I will have?
  • How committed am I to making this work, how important is it that I succeed? (a big one!)
  • When and how am I going to check in daily on my winning mindset?
  • Who else is going to benefit from this new way of life and money, and what will that mean to them and to me?

Why should this exercise be so important?

Your talents mean nothing. That is a very vague and maybe stupid thing to say, I know. But what do I mean by that?

You can be the most talented artist or painter and still be fucking broke. You could experience the most joyful time ever while painting and yet it’s just a hobby. You love to paint, but yet you just do it in a very small fraction of the day, because you work a “normal job” and you have to pay the bills too.

But if you REALLY enjoy painting so much, how does it come that you are not doing it full-time? Why don’t you make a living out of it? Why wouldn’t you?

That is what I mean by skill. You could be the most talented artist in the world, yet you have to work at McDonald’s and live a very poor lifestyle. You might be happy while drawing, yet you might hate the other 20 hours a day! I don’t know about you, but I would not like this kind of life and I would be looking for alternatives, ASAP!

Now doing this exercise helps you to align yourself with your purpose. You find your motivation and your main reason behind your actions. Only when you know WHY you do all of it, it is possible to plow through all the bullshit and nonsense life might throw at you. Only when you can see the bigger picture and have a clear vision on what your life should look like you can work to achieve it.


Somehow it gets super easy to go into flow and find your momentum when you see the bigger picture for yourself. When you can clearly see yourself becoming THAT person and you believe it, you tend to forget all the troubles that might occur in this very moment. You get extremely focused and all the obstacles and roadblocks seem to disappear with no efforts.

(Photo: Flickr)


Stay connected:
  • Michaela

    Humble yourself at all times and always remember that in life you should always give some space for adjustment and improvement. To the point of pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone to enhance your skills aligned with the talent you already have.

  • Thomas Mondel

    That’s right. Thanks for sharing, Michaela!