Your gift isn’t special. Newsflash: No one else is better than you.
Everyone is exactly equal. No one has any special gift or talent that you can’t get too.
So stop lying to yourself, thinking you can’t be successful.
Because you can. And I’ll show you how.
Your Gift – Books
Growing up, I looked at writers like having a super power. I read science fiction books by Robert A. Heinlein and was blown away.
I couldn’t understand how he did it – I figured he was a magician.
I had no idea how a person could write in such a way that would transport the reader to another world. I figured he was like the smartest man ever and had doctorate degrees, with years of higher education – a bunch of unattainable stuff – like a special gift.
And I had read a bunch of books from different authors and multiple genres. Nothing caught my interest. Reading was boring and it sucked. I just thought I wasn’t a good reader.
That was, until, I feel in love with science fiction. And my world changed.
Your Gift – Sci-Fi
I read science fiction all the time. I’d sit in bed and read a chapter before falling asleep. I couldn’t stop reading.
And my teachers wanted me to quit.
They said, “It’s great that he’s reading, but he really needs to read something besides science fiction.” (Because it’ll rot his brain, or something…)
My mom nearly had a heart attack.
She had just gotten me to become an avid reader, after spending endless summers at the library and countless trips to the Barnes and Noble.
Reading was boring. I hated it. It felt like torture.
She knew I wasn’t stupid, but she couldn’t get me to sit still long enough to read.
And it wasn’t my mom’s fault or my teachers fault.
It was the books fault. It was the writer’s fault.
Because every book sucked.
Your Gift – Reading
Even now, as an adult, this mantra is still true: Reading can be excruciatingly boring.
I pick up lots of books, hoping they’ll catch my interest and pull me in.
Most of them don’t.
I have a rule, that after 50 pages, if the book isn’t interesting, I quit. I toss it. Because I’ve read plenty of books all the way through and they never get better.
So if the author doesn’t know how to pull you in by page 50, do you think it’ll get better by page 400? Nope.
So chuck it. And move on with your life. Find something else that interests you.
Your Gift – Kids
I have no idea how to raise kids, but I’m very thankful for my mom’s wisdom. She exposed me to a lot of different things – like sports and music, science and math.
There are plenty of kids who know they “want to be” a doctor, or a baseball player, or a missionary, or a photographer. And good for them.
It’s probably a relief to know what you want to be at such a young age. It takes the mystery and guesswork out of things.
But what if you don’t know? What are you supposed to do?
It can be confusing, to be sure.
Your Gift – Master
Malcolm Gladwell talks about the 10,000 hours it takes to become a master. He evaluated many professionals in their field and discovered the one common dominator was the time commitment these people invested into their craft.
No matter the job, all these people had invest thousands of hours, perfecting their skills.
At Golf: Tiger Woods – 10,000 hours.
At Football: Tom Brady – 10,000 hours.
At Writing: Stephen King – 10,000 hours.
These are all masters in their profession and are very good at what they do.
However, please understand this: You don’t have to spend thousands of hours to get a job – to be a true master you do – but not to be “in the game.”
Your Gift – Learning
I’ve spent a lot of time learning new things – it feels like the more you learn, you realize the less you know.
As an 18-year old kid, I felt like I knew everything (what teenager doesn’t?).
But after 4 years of college, learning about business and computers, I realized I had no practical skills, was unemployable, and at the bottom of a huge career ladder. There were more brilliant employees ahead of me, all with more knowledge and experience. I had a lot to learn.
Then after 7 years in the financial world, studying hard for major exams, and deep diving into specific roles, I learned I was merely adequate at my job. There were still others beyond me with long corporate careers and a lifetime of experience.
Now, after 7 years of fiction writing, I’m still a rookie. I’m getting my foot in the door, establishing myself, but I still have an entire career ahead of me. I’ve committed roughly 1,800 hours to fiction writing, which doesn’t include extracurricular skills like fulltime writing jobs, reading, or nonsensical years of journaling or joke writing.
Your Gift – Choose
Honestly, it was difficult for me to find the writing path, and I’m just barely getting my footing.
But what clicked for me was the 10,000 hour concept.
I figured if I ever wanted to master anything, I would need to invest those hours. But I couldn’t bear to spend the time on something I hated.
If I wanted to be a master, I needed to find something I enjoyed.
I finally found writing. It’s something I love and gives me peace every day.
I think you can find something too. Just understand there’s nothing intrinsically special about Tiger Woods or Tom Brady. They’re gifted at what they do, but only because they put in the time.
So try something new, chase things you’re passionate about and that make you happy.
Because if you’re ever going to be good at something, you’re going to have to spend your life doing it.