Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Talent: Inborn or Developed?


I think talent is inborn, though I would love to believe otherwise. I can't even lie because I have gone through some experiences which led to the fortification of this belief.

I have always had issues with dancing. In past and even today, I am scared of going to parties. I am always worried that there might be a dance floor and that I might be forced by colleagues to perform shakes and moves. I can promise that with my size and weight, I am only capable of pushing people besides me or, worse, break the dance floor. I loved and detested people who could dance. I loved women for the beauty and detested men with jealousy.

I would shy away either by hovering around the bar counter with a glass brimming with liquid or find people, who like me, had two left feet. Or better no feet, at all. I remember situations when I was forced to the dance floor and wouldn't know what to do. I would smile like a fool and wriggle myself out of the embarrassment under the dim and flashing lights.

Similar things can be said about my singing but I think I make a positive attempt and am not as nervous when forced.

So last year, I joined Mani's dance class. Mani has studied dance in UK and teaches various Latin American dance forms - Samba, Rumba, Cha Cha Cha and Jive. No, that is not the entire list. I learnt these. During that period, he also did Ballroom and Salsa workshops. He is a great dancer and a fantastic teacher. He breaks down the steps to such fragments that a person like me starts believing that (s)he can dance. He displays an amazing amount of patience.

I tried dancing for about a year and under Mani's tutelage did manage to go through two levels of exams, improving every time. But then whenever I took exams, I would be close to nervous breakdown. If I got the steps it would not be coordinated with the beats. If I concentrated on the beats, I would miss my steps.

Then it had to happen. Other priorities overtook and I had to leave the dance class.

Then, I tried my luck with playing instruments. I joined guitar classes at The Unwind Centre. I must say the experience was no different. On side note, Unwind Centre sucks! The classes would never be on time and teachers were atrocious. I am not saying that they didn't know how to play guitar just that they were very bad teachers. Of course I too missed a class or two. My exam nervousness returned when it came to tests.

I analyzed my failure in my tryst with art. If I wasn't moving that well under Mani, I seemed strumming air rather than the strings in Unwind Centre. There seemed to be one common thread in both cases. During exams, I was sweating from every orifice in my body.

Did I have learning disability?

I seemed to learn languages better. Whether French or German, I seemed to love learning them. I didn't get nervous when I took exams. I took to tennis only a couple of years back. Despite my weight and shape, today, I play competitive tennis, even if it is at amateur level. I seem to learn serving and playing shots better with every game. Even when I play league matches, which is akin to the exams in Dancing and Guitar classes, I seem to look forward to playing them.

Only after this did I start thinking about talent. I believe that if you don't have it, you don't get it. While it may not be about the DNAs you inherit from your parents but the seeds are sown when you are young, I think. You must have a liking for the activity. I am very sure that even if I put more years in practicing, I would never be able to match Mani's grace and elegance.

Savitha, I am so sorry that I mocked at you every time you got into the pool and just watched. As you used to say, now I realize that everyone has his or her own strengths and WEAKNESSES.

Focus on strength, try but don't break your head and heart over the weaknesses. You tried!

Disclaimer:
1. The person dancing is Mani, not me.
2. Tennis personality is Roger Federer, just in case you thought it was me.
3. I am also not the person whose image first appears in this post. You can find my picture in my profile. It was taken in a restaurant and I love to eat a lot.

7 comments:

Someday's dreamer said...

Isn't human life more about trial and error than most other species? And you're lucky you had the opportunity to try out so many things, and then figure out what fits and what doesn't. You're also very brave for facing your fears :)
Talking about fears, Languages were fine - you weren't on display. Tennis and dancing, you were. But the difference is, While playing tennis, it's against someone, so that takes away all your focus, hence less anxiety. WHile dancing, you probably kept thinking that everyone was judging you, hence the nervousness.
Purely my hypothesis :)
You could try dancing thinking about something else, and tell me how right or wrong I am :)
AU revoire :)

Someday's dreamer said...

Isn't human life more about trial and error than most other species? And you're lucky you had the opportunity to try out so many things, and then figure out what fits and what doesn't. You're also very brave for facing your fears :)
Talking about fears, Languages were fine - you weren't on display. Tennis and dancing, you were. But the difference is, While playing tennis, it's against someone, so that takes away all your focus, hence less anxiety. WHile dancing, you probably kept thinking that everyone was judging you, hence the nervousness.
Purely my hypothesis :)
You could try dancing thinking about something else, and tell me how right or wrong I am :)
AU revoire :)

Sriganesh R said...

Bunnys,
That was a good analysis. That could be the reasons.
I will have to think hard about it.
Love
G

Hridya said...

well well... it is true that unless you have something for doing anything, be it making upma or playin tennis or cricket, you can never get it right. Suttu potta kooda mandai la aeraadhu... just concentrate on what you are good at, there are other people to do other things. It is also OK not to get things right.
But i do agree with the person who made the first comment, you might be nervous because the spotlight is on you. anyways good luck with whatever you are learning.

Savitha said...

Thanks Ganesh for understanding. I also think the first comment here is true that facing your fears is more important than succeeding. I think the experience teaches you something even if you do not succeed. Like you now understand this whole thing about strengths and weaknesses:)

Btw, talent as against skill is different I think. And I think we can all develop skills but only if they complement our natural ability (talent) then it becomes fun and we succeed and feel satisfaction. Sorry! complicated it a bit.

aparna said...

I agree with Hridya! I never thought you were a bad dancer, you were very good actually. But you just wouldn't let yourself loosen up and enjoy it :) thats what dancing is about, and if someone laughs thats coz they're j they cant dance as well as you! Join the classes again ganesh :) and dont worry about stepping on feet! I've done that a gr8 deal too, and none of my partners has as yet murdered me ;)

anisha said...

I don't think talent is inborn,it is rather the interest(talent), developed. For example, Kids who excel in studies in their early stages, are not the same as adults, both in terms of understanding and application.
I always believe, talent is the final outcome, of a serious urge or interest that happens to be pulling the person for a period of time. Another example is Actor Hrithick Roshan, who had tales of not being a good dancer in early stages.
I believe, certain things i can try and certain others i cannot. May be i can make an attempt to dance, but i will not make it for tennis, as i have(always)set my mind, that i do not the stamina to play. Now the real problem i think with me is not the stamina i have, but my mindset.

Hope i am making little sense to a very large ocean of what everybody had discussed.