How to be Talented

Talent is overrated.

I’ve been around musicians all my life. I’ve been around guys who can tear it up vocally, on guitar, on piano. I’ve been around an equal number of guys who literally get by on personality and/or looks. In either case the most successful musicians I’ve known were the ones who were very intentional with their careers.

The older I get the more I realize I did not get to where I am because of luck. I’ve heard so many people around me say, “If I’d gotten the breaks you did, I’d be a successful musician/artist as well.” The truth is that I was ready whenever opportunities came my way. Because of my lack of musical education in comparison to those around me I was forced to work harder and prove myself up to the task. I was never, ever given a free pass.

George Washington Carver once said, “People who do the common things in this life uncommonly well will command the attention of the world!”

Talent is born of a seed of desire. Do you see someone who is good at something? They most certainly were drawn to that thing at an early age. They picked up a guitar, or a golf club, or a paintbrush and noticed that something deep within them connected to it. Go reread the parable of the talents and remember what happens when that talent goes unattended. The same goes for our “talent seed”. Left unattended it never amounts to anything and will surely be taken away. But work with that “talent” uncommonly well and you will have success.

These truths I have found to be unbreakable when it comes to talent:

If you’re not good at something, it’s your own fault

Quit saying “I’m just not gifted to....(fill in the blank).” You’ll be good at whatever you put the time into. You’re putting more time into playing video games than playing guitar? Guess what...

If you are good at something, you need to get better

The best got there because they kept pursuing excellence. They never let their foot off the gas pedal. Those who are “flashes in the pan” got to a certain point and then got comfortable. Don’t let up. Proverbs 16:26 says, “The laborer’s appetite works for him; his hunger drives him on.” You must continue to have that pit in your gut that says “what’s next, where do I go from here?”

You’re not as good as you think you are

Always critique and analyze your musical efforts. In fact it’s a good idea to have a few people in your life that will be brutally honest with you, not allowing you to become complacent. When people applaud we tend to think more of ourselves than we ought.

Don’t be a loner

Remember - iron sharpens iron, so one musician sharpens another (Prov. 27:17 inspired). Seek out like minded people - those who want to get better, who will encourage you to get better. Hang out with people who are better than you are. Create an environment that causes you to move forward and work harder.

Let me say that I know people who have no ability to hear or understand pitch or rhythm. But these people also have no desire to grab an instrument or microphone and hit the stage. I’m not directing this blog towards them. If you want to reach the next level you must work harder. And if you want to call the fruit of your hard work “talent”, that’s your call...

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Andy Chrisman
Worship Pastor
Andy came to Church on the Move in 2005, having been in the music industry for over 25 years. He's dedicated to raising up the next generation of worship leaders, and even though he spent many years with the group 4him, he says he's "having more fun now than I ever did on the road."