Photo courtesy: Center For American Vision and Values

Most people believe that talent, creativity and genius is something you are born with.   That you either have it or you don’t.  Perhaps that stems from two things: first, people not wanting to be responsible for their own success or failure so talent is something outside of their control, and/or two, it’s what the territorial successful artists/geniuses have led us to believe (to ensure their foothold as gods in a given field). Well, current research and creative literature state this is total BS.  I also believe it is total BS.  I read in Twlya Tharp’s “The Creative Habit” that Mozart, when he was a child, practiced music every day ALL DAY for years.  He wasn’t touched by God – he had a relentless curiosity.  Mozart was rigorous and tireless in his studies.  The point is that you have to work very hard to become an expert in anything, the notion of blind luck or being gifted factor very little.  If you have a mission in mind and you set your energy 100% towards it, things begin to happen!

There’s a great article called “Grit Is More Important Than Talent” that I think you should read.  Here’s an excerpt:

“Way back in 1926, a psychologist named Catherine Morris Cox published a study of 300 recognized geniuses, from Leonardo Da Vinci to Gottfried Leibniz to Mozart to Charles Darwin to Albert Einstein. Cox, who had worked with Lewis M. Terman to develop the Stanford-Binet IQ test, was curious what factors lead to “realized genius,” those people who would really make their mark on the world. After reading about the lives of hundreds historic geniuses, Cox identified a host of qualities, beyond raw intelligence, that predicted “greatness.”

Studying Cox’s findings, Harvard researcher Angela Duckworth isolated two qualities that she thought might be a better predictor of outstanding achievement:

 1. The tendency not to abandon tasks from mere changeability. Not seeking something because of novelty. Not “looking for a change.”

2. The tendency not to abandon tasks in the face of obstacles. Perseverance, tenacity, doggedness.”

That’s right people – GRIT.

So the question for DJs, where is your grit?  How can you continue to challenge, learn, fail, get back up and achieve?  There’s a few things that make DJs extraordinary but one thing that is very clear – you need tenacity and perseverance.  You have a multitude of things to keep you busy – ideas, new technology and technique, working on your style and musicality, collaborations, producing music, working on YOU.  Hopefully you will realize now when you use the word talented as in “That DJ is so talented” you are mindful of the meaning behind that word and use it wisely.  Talent in this day and age means deep understanding, AND GRIT, ultimately expressed.


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