This blog is part of the elective ‘Become the Owner of Your Learning’ at ArtEZ University of the Arts, Arnhem
If you say: ‘I’m too big to fit in here’ one could say that this is a very narcissistic way of looking at yourself. But in fact you could also defend it as a general statement which goes for everybody. It is not about over-esteeming yourself, but about taking responsibility for your talent. The pity is that most of us do not recognise this.
Living and working from your talent is about taking that specific place and role that you’re naturally good at. Doing the thing that you are the absolute specialist at. Nobody can do this like you. When doing this, you do not take an empty space or fulfil a desired role, doing what is being expected of you as good as you can. No, your role simply doesn’t yet exist: you are to find it out by yourself.
Working from your talent is about standing out for who you are and what you (and only you) can do. It is about adding your quality, which is by definition something new, to the world. Now this is not always easy, since the appeal to fit in is largely made. You are (and want to be) a ‘good guy’ or ‘good girl’ and probably you get a lot of recognition for that. We are raised that way and we get encouragement for adapting at school, in clubs, with friends etc. Don’t underestimate the pressure of behaving ‘the proper way’.
But, doing this you would not give the best you have to offer. In fact, a lot of energy gets lost in adapting, in fitting in well with what others want. In comparing and pleasing. Being genuine requires a stubborner attitude. The Dutch word for stubborn is ‘eigenwijs’, which is a combination of the words ‘eigen’ (own) and ‘wijs’ (wise). It perfectly describes that for being of greater worth you need to determine and follow your own direction.
I like to call it ‘live from the inside out’. The knowledge of the greatest value you can offer to the world is within you and only within you. Nobody can see it as long as you do not express it. So don’t blame others for not recognising your talent. You have to do this yourself first.
Look at it this way: everything you see that is made by humans once was ‘just an idea’. All the human ideas together form the outer world. It is as simple as that. So if you you have a genuine idea, realising it adds something to the world, so it actually makes the world bigger. Not expressing it would be withdrawing your creative energy from the world. Genuine creativity that only you can offer. This is why I call it ‘taking responsibility’ for your talent.
Whether your talent is about realising something small close by or something big worldwide is not important. What matters for your own luck and for the benefit of the ones around you is to stand up for it. And that is an exiting thing to do and it never finishes to be. Probably people start to grumble first. Not because they do not wish you any good, but because they do not know the potential of what is new and what so far exists only inside your brain. You are molesting the way things are. “Does all this hassle really have to be?” is what probably encounters you at first. “Yes, I am afraid so”, is what you should answer. Because, only after being done the others can see the value that you already felt from the start.
Having said all this it is obvious that there is no need shout out loud. Having a unique talent is a normal thing, remember? But there ís the need to know your talent and to find out everything there is to know about it, and I truly hope you do.